10 Cake Decorating Tips Your Local Baker Doesn’t Want You to Know

three girls wearing colorful aprons show off their cake decorating skills

The thought of creating a beautifully decorated cake can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Anyone can make something beautiful with a bit of knowledge, patience, and practice. If you want to make a delicious cake that is also pretty, you came to the right place.

Here we will discuss things that will be handy to keep on hand while baking along with substitutes that can also get the job done.

We will also talk about shortcuts to save time and provide cake decorating tips to help make your cakes look more professional.

Your Toolkit

While you don’t need specific baking tools, the tools below will help a lot; especially if you intend on making cakes regularly. Many tools can be substituted for things you have at home in case you’re not ready to commit to buying specific baking tools.

Cake Leveler

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A cake leveler is exactly what it sounds like; it levels your cake or gives you a flat surface to work on. While this took makes leveling a cake quick and easy, this can also be done with a knife.

Cake Turntable

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This is helpful in all aspects of cake decorating. It is a platter that rotates in a circle and allows you to work and turn at the same time. This works wonders for frosting, smoothing, and decorating. All cake decorating can be done on a flat surface, though you may have some odd angles to overcome.


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These are not your average grill spatulas! These special spatulas help you get a smooth cake without bending and twisting in odd ways. They are like a butter knife without a serrated edge, and some are flat while others are angled. The right butter knife could do the job with more precision.

Piping Bags

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Piping bags are for piping all different kinds of decorations. Some are disposable and some are reusable. Plastic ziplock baggies can easily serve the same purpose.

Piping Tips

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Piping tips make it a lot easier to pipe specific designs, and they come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. You can take your ziplock baggies and make different cuts in the corners to achieve some similar designs.

10 Cake Decorating Tips for Next-Level Cakes

Here we will give you ten cake decorating tips your baker doesn’t want you to have!

1: Going Untraditional

chocolate tart decorated cake

If you have a fear of using frosting techniques to produce a good looking cake, there are some other ways to go that can be easier and still give you a delicious and beautiful cake! You could use a chocolate or caramel sauce and pour it right over your cake, letting it drizzle all down the sides.

It will not look uniform or perfect, however, it will keep your cake moist, give it a boost of flavor, and it will create a cool, unique look. This is the perfect way to finish your cake quickly and impress your guests.

2: The Naked Cake

The Naked Cake with cherry topping

Why not skip the outer coating all together? Layered cake with a filling placed in between those layers and smoothed on the top can turn into a beautiful presentation without hassle.

This tip works especially well with fun-colored cakes and fillings such as red velvet with a cream cheese filling. The contrast in colors will make your cake pop.

3: Plastic Ziplock Baggies

You don’t need professional piping bags to make a professional-looking cake! Plastic ziplock baggies will do the job just fine.

If you have piping tips, you can snip the corner of your plastic ziplock bag small enough to keep the tip from falling through, but large enough for about three-quarters of your tip to stick out.

If you don’t have tips that‘s okay too! You can achieve beautiful results by cutting the corner of the plastic ziplock bag off and piping freestyle.

You can also make different cuts for different designs. If you snip off a tiny corner, you can pipe small, thin accents. The more you cut, the thicker your lines will get. You can even go as far as cutting a triangle off the corner for some added texture.

For a mess-free (or less messy) experience, place your plastic ziplock bag in a cup and fold the part that zips around the outside of the mouth of the cup. This will allow you to get the frosting into the bottom of the bag without getting it all over the sides and zipper part.

Practice these cake decorating tips ahead of time to get the best results.

4: Smooth Cake

 cake with perfectly smooth frosting, and crumb nut decoration for smooth frosting cake decorating tips

There are tools available to help you achieve a smooth finish with frosting if you don’t want to even think about trying fondant. You can get specially designed cake decorating spatulas and cake smoothers.

Not only can you get the cake smoothers to smooth your cake, but you can purchase the same tools with teeth or ridges to get many designs and textures. You can even combine different ones to give your cake a different touch.

5: Crumbs Be Gone

Have you ever tried to frost a cake that crumbles and then mixes crumbs into your frosting? It’s not so pretty, but there’s a way to prevent it with these cake decorating tips. The most important thing is to make sure your cake is completely cooled. Start with a very thin layer of frosting; this is referred to as a crumb coat and will banish any sneaky crumbs!

Next, place the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes. This will freeze those crumbs in place and make your frosting stiffer, allowing your final layer of frosting to go on nice, smooth and crumb-less.

6: Writing

round baked yin yang cake showing clear lettering

Have you ever wondered how people get the perfect writing on their cakes? Some people have naturally great handwriting, and some practice until they get it right.

You can practice with buttercream on parchment paper and then scrape it off and put it right back into your piping bag and reuse it. If you wing it, piping on a chilled cake makes for the best situation if you need to scrape it off or correct any mistakes.

But we have some ultimate cake decorating tips to get them perfect!

You can print out the words with the size and font you want. Next, melt chocolate melting wafers to where they are warm—not hot—and put it into a ziplock bag. Continue by sniping a tiny piece off one corner to pipe with, just as you would if you were frosting.

Get a baking sheet, lay down your printed words, then lay parchment paper over your words and trace it using the melted chocolate. Put this into the freezer for about 10 minutes, and you can carefully take the letters off and place them on your cake. They will be delicate, so it’s best to repeat the process in case you break anything, but it’s a foolproof way to make it look exactly as you intended.

7: Border Patrol

So you’ve made a cake using some of these cake decorating tips! You’re mostly happy, but there are some flaws at the bottom or base of the cake. When in doubt, use sprinkles! Sprinkles will provide a great distraction for any flaws or shaky piping.

You can use any kind of sprinkles, but larger sprinkles like jimmies or confetti sprinkles work best at covering. Sprinkles like sanding sugar aren’t usually as effective because of the small size and grainy texture.

8: Slightly Under-Baked Cakes

sliced cake top with star raisins on cake stand

Don’t panic; there is a solution! Often when you bake a cake, you would level your cake for a flat surface to work on. While the trimmings are the most fun to eat, set them aside for later instead. Then proceed by scooping out any gooey parts and stuffing those trimmings into its place.

You’ll then likely be covering it with some topping, and no one will know the difference.

9: Slightly Over-Baked Cakes

Again, don’t panic because there is a solution for this too; it’s called simple syrup. You can use high fructose corn syrup if you have it on hand, or easily make it by boiling equal parts of granulated white sugar and water. After it comes to a boil, take it off the burner, and as it cools, it will thicken.

Poke small holes in your cake with a toothpick and brush the syrup over the top. The cake will then absorb the syrup and be moist and delicious.

10: Cake Top

round red and white cake with cookies toppings

If you have used any of these cake decorating tips but don’t like the top of your cake, fruit is an excellent way to make your cake stand out.

It will work if you don’t have enough frosting, or it can cover up any unsightly lumps or bumps.

Fruit is great because it’s natural, sweet and most fruits contain beautiful, vibrant colors that can complement many types of cakes.

Tips for Decorating with Fresh Fruit

That’s right! We’re giving you bonus tips on decorating with fresh fruits.


Because fruits have such bright and cheery colors, incorporate this into the flavor of the cake when possible. For example, if you are making a cake that has blueberry flavor in it, compliment it with fresh blueberries as part of the design.

Fruit Cost

Everyone loves a good bargain; however, sometimes it comes at a price. If you want to decorate a cake primarily with fruit, it’s often a good idea to splurge and get the more expensive or healthier-looking fruit.

Cheaper fruit is often smaller, requiring twice as much.

Sometimes they get a shriveled-up look, which can bring down the overall look of the cake. Make sure your fruit is plump, appealing and tasty.

Pairing Fruits and Designs

tips on cake decorating with fruit, lit candles on white cake with fruit candy shapes

If you have a specific idea or theme in mind, use your fruit sparingly. For example, if your theme is flowers, it’s okay to add fruit, but don’t add so much that people won’t stop and smell the flowers. Let your theme stand out and make your fruit sparse.

Fruit and Flavor

cake with slice strawberry fruits

It’s important to make sure the fruit you use to decorate correlates with your flavors. A lime green color may pair well with a chocolate brown color.

However, if you were to make a chocolate cake and add limes on top, it may turn people off, even if it is a visually stunning cake.

Chocolate isn’t typically a flavor that pairs well with lime. Consider matching up fruit decorations with cake flavors before you start so you won’t turn away potential cake eaters.

Spruce Up Fruits

While plain fruit is beautiful, fruit dipped in chocolate is also a beautiful thing! You can also stuff strawberries, blackberries or raspberries with a delicious cream cheese filling for some extra fun. Adding a gold leaf to your fruit can give it a very elegant look, and you can even try using dried candies for a special touch.

The Finishing Touch

perfectly decorated simple birthday cake

You don’t have to go to culinary school to create beautiful masterpieces. You don’t even have to leave your kitchen to use many of these cake decorating tips!

If you take advantage of all these tips, not only will you be able to make beautiful and appetizing cakes, you won’t need to spend all day on your feet working in the kitchen.

With a little patience and practice, you will easily impress a crowd when it’s your turn to bring the dessert!


  1. Elizabeth says

    Great tips!

    Thank you

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