Simple But Effective Cake Decorating Techniques

Cake decorating doesn’t need to be difficult.

Here are some simple hints:

Buy ready-made, quality cakes or make them from a mix
Invest in several pastry bags, a flower nail and 6 tips--large open star #824, small open star #23, large rose #125, small rose #104, and drop flowers #129 and #190.

A turntable is a nice option for decorating--a lazy susan makes an acceptable one.
Use ready-made decorations: silk flowers, fresh flowers, ribbons, fruit.
When working with fresh fruit, always brush the fruit with a glaze to seal in moisture.
Present the cake on a decorative platter.

Cake with Ganache Icing


1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped1 cup heavy cream OR evaporated milk1/4 cup sugar4 tsp. unsalted butterPlace the chocolate in a bowl.Bring the cream, sugar and butter to a boil.Pour over the chocolate, stirring gently to melt.Thinly ice a cake and freeze for about 15 minutesuntil the icing is firm.Place the cake on a cooling rack and the rack on a cookie sheet.Quickly pour the ganache over the top of the cake and down the sides, using a spatula to smooth the surface. The hot ganache will melt the icing, so only smooth as necessary. Tap the rack to remove excess ganache, which can be refrigerated for later use.Chill the cake until completely set, then remove to a serving platter and decorate.

Fruit Flan

For this recipe, you can bake or purchase a pre-made flan or cake. Slice assorted fruit and lay fruit on the cake surface in concentric circles.Coat with apricot glaze.Serve on decorative platter

Apricot Glaze

12 oz. jar apricot jam
2-3 tbsp. water
Combine jam and water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil.Strain, refrigerate.
Heat to use, brushing onto fruit.

The following are several different icing techniques that are quite easy:

Angel Food Cake with Fruit Filling

An angel food cake works best for this recipe,but others will work as well.Ice the entire cake with non-dairy whipped cream or whipped topping. Tint with food color, if desired. Spoon pie filling over the top of the cake, leaving a 1/2" border on the inner and outer edge. With pastry bag and tip #824 or #32, apply piping around fruit ring. Serve on decorative platter

Edible Flowers

You can use any cake, this example uses a layer cake.Apply a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake.Apply piping if desired.Decoratively distribute edible flowers.Edible flowers are available in the produce section of your grocery (found at Copp’s, Magic Mill, Whole Foods in the Madison area).


Using a pastry bag and any tip, you can create a number of different decorations on a cake ranging from flowers to simple border piping. Basic icing recipes can be found in any Betty Crocker or Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks. Practice makes perfect, work with your icing before applying to the cake.

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