Transform Your Cake Decorating Skills with These 5 Simple Techniques, No Tools Required

Are you lacking cake decorating tools but still want to create beautifully decorated cakes? Fear not, as I have conjured up five easy cake decorating tips that require only the supplies you already have.

Although I must admit, I am a bit of a caking tool fanatic. I understand not everyone keeps a stockpile of cake decorating supplies in their kitchen like I do. Plus, even if you do, sometimes you might simply prefer to work with what you have readily available.

Easy Bakery Style Cake

To help you out, I have devised some effortless cake decorating ideas that don't require any additional tools.

smooth your buttercream

Before we dive in, a quick disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can view my policies linked in the website footer.

What you'll need:

    -A baked layer cake (You can find a super delicious vanilla cake here and a really good chocolate cake here.)

    -Frosting (I used my favorite vanilla bean buttercream. You can find the recipe here.)

    -Large knife (If you don't have an icing spatula, the straight, back side of a large knife works perfectly to smooth the icing.)

    -Gallon size freezer bags (Quart size bags can be used, but you'll need to refill them with icing more frequently. Make sure to use freezer bags as the regular bags are not durable enough and may result in an icing blowout.)

    piping guideIcing bag from a ziplock

    -Sprinkles (If you don't have sprinkles, panic not. Cookie crumbs are a great alternative!)

    -Food Coloring (If you don't have food coloring, don't worry. The cakes will still look aesthetically pleasing without it.)

    bottom border

    -A teaspoon

    -A cookie cutter

    -Vacuum cleaner (for those unruly sprinkles)

    The first, and perhaps the easiest, of our decorating tips involves food coloring. Begin by icing your cake with your frosting. If you don't possess an icing spatula, you can fashion the back, straight edge of a large knife as a substitute to smooth your buttercream, and then use a paper towel to clean up any excess.

    Easy Bakery Style Caketop border of easy cake

    Next, fill a freezer bag with your icing and push it all into one corner, twisting the bag until it's taut. Cut off the corner, squeezing out a bit of icing to ensure you've cut off enough of the bag.

    Easy Pleated Cake

    Once you have proven your expertise in bag-cutting, squeeze out small dots around the bottom edge of the cake. Don't forget to utilize your choice of sprinkles or cookie crumbs to complement the aesthetic!

    iced cake for ruffle cakeZigzag pleats

    And voila, you now have your beautifully iced, home-made cake!

    To create an elegant border, start by squeezing out swirls along the top edge of your cake. Once you’ve done that, sprinkle some decorations on top and you’re good to go!

    top border pleated cake

    Begin with a frosted cake and take a ruler or long knife to score vertical lines around it. This will serve as a guide for piping. Fill a ziplock freezer bag with icing and snip off a corner. Before you start piping, make sure to position the bag seams with the top up and the bottom down. While piping, move from left to right following each scored line and filling the spaces between them with zigzags until you reach the top of the cake. Then, pipe some small dots around the edge of the cake as a border. You can add sprinkles on top or candles if desired.

    Easy Ruffle CakeEasy Pleated Cake

    For a different look, cover the cake with ruffles that will create a charming texture. Begin with a frosted cake and fill a ziplock freezer bag with icing. Snip off a corner and, making sure the seams are positioned with the top up and the bottom down, start piping little closed ‘U’ shapes. Start at the base of the cake and do a row all around. For the next row, pipe over the first row so that the bottom of the ‘U’ shape is covering the pointed part of the ruffle below it. Continue until the cake is covered in ruffles. Once the ruffles have been created, pipe some dots around the top and sprinkle some decorations if desired.

    Step 2 of watercolor cakeBase icing the textured cakeEasy Ruffle CakePiping the Ruffles

    An Easy Way to Decorate Your Cake with Textured Buttercream

    Coloring the Icing

    One of the best things about this method is that it’s virtually fool-proof. You can use any colors you like, and the texture we create on the cake means nobody will notice if your buttercream isn’t completely smooth. Plus, there’s no piping required!

    To get started, prepare at least four different colors of icing. Choose one to be your base coat, and make sure you have enough to cover the entire cake. This will be the color that dominates the final design.

    Base Layer and Texturing

    Next, use the base color to cover the entire cake. Don’t worry about making it pretty at this point; just make sure you use plenty of icing to ensure good coverage.

    Smoothing the watercolor cake

    Avoid letting the base layer dry out or putting it in the fridge. You want it to be smooth and workable for the next step.

    Glob the other colors randomly on the cake, including the top. Don’t worry if it looks a little messy!

    Use a spatula or large knife to smooth down the sides and top of the cake. The aim is not to get it perfectly smooth; we’ll add texture in the next step.

    Watercolor Cake Sides

    To create the textured effect, take a teaspoon (preferably one with a pointed tip) and drag it around the cake. Starting at the bottom, gradually work your way around the cake until you meet back where you started. Keep wiping the spoon clean as you go to avoid clumps.

    Watercolor Ccake Top

    Finally, swirl the end of the spoon on the top of the cake to add more texture. If you see any areas that need further texturing, go back and work on those until you’re happy with the overall finish.

    Sprinkle Covered Cake

    Alternatively, if you’re looking for something even easier, why not try applying sprinkles to the buttercream?

    Base icing the sprinkle cake

    After applying the base layer of buttercream, pour sprinkles into a bowl, and grab handfuls of them to push lightly onto the cake. Don’t worry about making a specific pattern; just random is fine. Be warned, though: it may get a little messy!

    Sprinkles around the base

    I used chocolate buttercream for my textured design, but you can use whatever color you like. To make it even more personal, try adding a shape cut out of cake using a cookie cutter; initials would look especially cute.

    Shaped sprinkles

    That’s it – two easy ways to add a creative touch to your cake decorating!

    Decorating Cakes without Specialist Supplies: The Ultimate Guide

    Mastering Sprinkles

    I took a stand over the sink, balancing my cake in one hand whilst the other scoured for sprinkles to drop. Once you've finished adding sprinkles, a pastry brush or paper towel can be used to clean off the board that holds your cake.

    top border on sprinkle cake

    For a fancy design on your cake, use a cookie cutter. Place the cutter precisely where you'd like the design to manifest and then sprinkle in some of your chosen décor using a teaspoon. Pat it down with the back of the spoon and then lift off the cookie cutter by pulling it straight up to extract the decorative design. Get rid of any rogue sprinkles by using a pastry brush or a spoon that's dabbed with a bit of buttercream to clear away sticky sprinkles.

    The sprinkle cakeTop of the sprinkle cake

    Buttercream Piping

    Now for the fun part! Place some buttercream into a freezer bag and snip off the tip to create a narrow opening. Carefully pipe dollops of buttercream on top of your cake, manoeuvring left to right until your masterpiece is complete. For a pearl border, press gently on the piping bag until little pearls of cream emerge. Alternatively, leave the top of the cake plain by just strategically placing big dollops of buttercream in several places evenly. And why not go ahead and add extra icing, no harm in that, right?

    Decorate Cakes Using No Cake Decorating Supplies New Pin 3decorated cakes pin graphic

    There you have it, five fantastic ways to create amazing cakes without sophisticated equipment. With a little bit of innovation, you can come up with even more exciting techniques to make your cake decorating stand out. Don't forget to pin this guide for future reference.

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