Welcome to Cake Decorating 101, where we will guide you through the wonderful world of cake decorating! Whether you are a beginner looking to learn the basics or an experienced baker wanting to improve your cake skills, this page is for you. Cake decorating is an art that allows you to express your creativity, and it’s a skill that can be learned and practiced over time. From choosing the right tools and ingredients to mastering various techniques, here are some of my Cake Decorating 101 tutorials that are suitable for all levels.
A Great Cake Recipe
First things first, you’re going to need a great cake recipe. I grew up in the UK where Victoria Sponge cake is always the go-to layer cake, traditionally filled with lashings of jam and buttercream. In 2021, I recreated a gluten free, dairy free version based on one of the showstopper challenges from the Great British Bake Off.
Looking for printable cake recipes?
Check out my wonderfully light vegan vanilla layer cake or my favourite, a coffee maple layer cake (I make this for our eldest son every birthday!). And if you want cute minis, why not try my mini Victoria Sponge recipe.
Baking Pan Prep
And if you’re going to bake a cake, you’ll want to know how to avoid it getting stuck in the cake pan.
My preference is to grease and then line my cake pans with parchment paper. This takes no time at all and enables the cake to release easily once it has baked.
Let’s Talk Fillings
My top three fillings for layer cakes are a classic vanilla buttercream, the most decadent chocolate and some scrumptious chocolate ganache.
My 4 ingredient vanilla buttercream is about as good as it gets. All you need is butter (I use plant based), icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and water. You can read more about this recipe in my small batch buttercream post. I use it to fill and coat my layer cakes and also for frosting cupcakes as it pipes beautifully.
If you’re more of a chocolate filling fan, check out my chocolate ganache. I shared the recipe in my chocolate ganache tart post but it can also be used to fill and frost cakes. And it tastes Oh So Good!
For a more traditional chocolate buttercream, check out this bake along video. I love using this on my chocolate yule log every Christmas and also on rich chocolately cupcakes.
Putting Everything Together
Once your cake or cake layers are baked, you’ll want to fill and crumb coat them to create a great base for your overall design. My top tip for this is to ensure that your cake is completely cooled before attempting this stage. I like to use a cake leveller to ensure my layers are flat. Learn more of my handy tips in this video.
An Easy Decorating Technique
There are endless ways that you can decorate cakes and I’ll admit that the options can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to cake decorating. Using buttercream to cover a cake and then smoothing patches of coloured buttercream over it is a great way to experiment with smoothing buttercream. This is a beginners take on a terrazzo cake.
If you are a visual learner, check out this detailed tutorial showing how I created this cake.
Did you know that there are multiple ways that you can cut a round cake? Most people cut pie shaped pieces, which for an 8 inch cake will give you around 8-10 slices. But if you cut your cake differently, you can maximise the slices and cut thinner slivers of cake. Ideal for little eaters if you’re baking for a kids birthday party or other celebration.
Interesting in learning more?
If you can’t wait to get started, check out my Youtube channel where I have many more decorating videos. I will also be adding more specific cake decorating pages to my blog over the next few months.
You can also check out my tutorials page for even more decorating tips.