Cake Decorating


Cake Decorating
The right tools are essential for successful cake decorating. Brian Leatart/Getty Images

Try It!
Here are some cake recipes from our collection:
A beautifully frosted cake is almost irresistible. But, if you want to go to the next level, more intricate cake decorating techniques can make a cake grand enough for even the most special of occasions.

You'll find plenty of cake decorating tips in this article, from make simple flowers out of frosting
to more advanced decorating techniques such as lattice patterns or a basketweave design. Let's start with how to use a cake decorator bag on the next page.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cake Recipes: Find basic cake recipes as well as ideas for types of cakes you may have never even heard of, all on our Cake Recipes page.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about selecting the proper baking pan, cooling and frosting a finished cake, and more.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Use a Cake Decorator Bag

Nothing sets the mood for a party better than a beautiful cake. With the techniques and tricks in this section, you can create a spectacular cake no matter what your artistic skill or decorating experience.

Decorating bags are essential for piping on many cake decorations. For each of the techniques shown here, you'll need a decorating bag fitted with the appropriate tip. Use the frosting or icing that is specified in the recipe to fill the bag for decorating.

The Coupler

A coupler, inserted into the decorating bag before filling, can save time and mess. It is used to attach tips to the decorating bag and allows you to change tips without removing the frosting from the bag.
  1. Unscrew the ring. Insert the cone-shaped piece into the narrow end of an empty decorating bag until the narrow end extends slightly beyond the end of the bag (snip off the end of the decorating bag if necessary).

  2. Place the coupler ring over the decorating tip. Screw the ring on to hold the tip in place.

    Screw the coupler ring on to hold the tip in place.
    Screw the coupler ring on
    to hold the tip in place.

  3. To change tips, unscrew the ring, remove the tip, replace with the new tip and screw the ring back in place.
Filling the Bag

Once you have the desired tip in place, you need to fill your bag with icing.
  1. Insert the decorating tip or attach the tip with a coupler.

  2. Fold the top of the bag down. Use a spatula to place the frosting in the bag. In general, fill the bag half to two-thirds full, then unfold the top of the bag. Do not fill the bag too full. (If you only need a small amount of frosting, use at least 1/4 cup to get enough frosting for piping.)

    Use a spatula to place the frosting in the bag.
    Use a spatula to place
    the frosting in the bag.

  3. To prevent the frosting from squeezing out the top of the bag, twist or roll down the top of the bag tightly against the frosting.
Piping Frosting

When piping, hold the bag so the tip is at the angle indicated for the technique. Then, gently squeeze to force the frosting out, using even pressure while guiding the tip. Do not loosen your grip on the twisted end or the frosting will begin to push up and out of the top of the bag.

Do not loosen your grip on the end of the bag
Do not loosen your grip on the end
of the bag or the frosting will begin to
push up and out of the top
.

TIP: Push mainly with the palm of your hand, rather than squeezing with your fingers. To get the feel of how hard to squeeze for each technique, practice piping on a sheet of waxed paper. You'll quickly find that the size of dots, stars, drop flowers, shells, etc., depends on how hard you squeeze, as well as on the size of the opening in the tip. The more you practice, the easier the techniques will be while decorating cakes.

The Techniques

The following techniques give directions for right-handed users. If you are left-handed, you should follow the directions using opposite hands. For example, if the instructions say to hold the bag to the right, you should hold the bag to the left. A left-handed person should decorate from left to right instead of right to left, except for writing messages.

Line (use writing or small open star tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle to the right.

  2. While gently squeezing bag, guide tip opening just above cake in a straight, curved, zigzag, or squiggly line.

    Guide the tip just about the cake in the desired pattern.
    Guide the tip just about the
    cake in the desired pattern.

  3. To end line, stop squeezing, then lift tip.
Writing (use writing tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle to the right for horizontal lines and toward you for vertical lines.

  2. While gently squeezing bag, guide tip opening just above cake to form print or script letters.

    Writing letter is really just a slight variation on the line.
    Writing letters is really just a
    slight variation on the line.

  3. Stop squeezing, then lift tip at the end of each letter for print letters and at the end of each word for script writing.
Dot (use round tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 90-degree angle. Position opening just above the cake and gently squeeze.

  2. Lift slightly while still squeezing. When dot is desired shape, stop.

TIP: If you feel that you have too much of a point in center of dots or stars, gently press down to flatten with a toothpick.

Dot Border (use round tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at an angle (about a 75-degree angle for bottom border and a 90-degree angle for top border).

  2. Pipe dot as directed above.

    Position your bag at an angle and gently squeeze.
    Position your bag at an
    angle and gently squeeze.

  3. Position tip so it is almost touching first dot and pipe another dot. Repeat to complete border.
Bead (use writing tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle to the right.

  2. Position opening just above cake and gently squeeze until a tiny mound is formed.

  3. Continue squeezing while pulling tip slightly down to the right to form teardrop shape. Stop squeezing, then lift tip.

    Squeeze while pulling the tip slightly down and to the right to form a teardrop shape.
    Squeeze while pulling the tip slightly
    down and to the right to form a
    teardrop shape.
Puff Border (use round tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at an angle (about a 75-degree angle for bottom border and a 90-degree angle for top border). Position opening just above cake and gently squeeze.

  2. Lift about 1/4 inch while still squeezing.

  3. When puff is desired size, stop squeezing and then lift tip.

  4. Position tip so that it is almost touch first puff and pipe another puff. Repeat to complete border.

    Position tip so that it is almost touch first puff and pipe another puff
    Position tip so that it is almost touching
    first puff and then pipe another puff.

Star (use open or closed star tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 90-degree angle. Position opening just above cake and gently squeeze.

  2. Lift slightly while still squeezing. When star is desired size, stop squeezing, then lift tip.

    When star is desired size, stop squeezing, then lift tip.
    When star is desired size,
    stop squeezing, then lift tip.

Star Border (use open or closed star tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at an angle (about a 75-degree angle for bottom border and a 90-degree angle for top border).

  2. Pipe star as directed above.

  3. Position tip so that it is almost touching first star and pipe another star. Repeat to complete border.

    Position tip so that it is almost touching first star and pipe another star.
    Position tip so that it is almost touching
    first star and pipe another star.

Puffy Star Border (use open or closed star tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at an angle (about a 75-degree angle for bottom border and a 90-degree angle for top border). Position opening just above cake and gently squeeze.

  2. Lift about 1/4 inch while still squeezing. When star is desired size, stop squeezing, then lift tip.

  3. Position tip so that it is almost touching first star and pipe another star. Repeat to complete border.

    Position tip so that it is almost touching first star and pipe another star.
    Position tip so that it is almost touching
    first star and pipe another star.

Swag (use rose tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle to the right. Position wide end of hole in tip so it is just touching cake and narrow end is angling away from cake.

  2. Gently squeeze while moving tip down slightly and to the right, draping to form swag.

    Gently squeeze while moving tip down slightly and to the right.
    Gently squeeze while moving tip
    down slightly and to the right.

  3. When swag is desired length, stop squeezing, then lift tip.
TIP: It's helpful to mark guidelines with a toothpick to assure even spacing of swags and ruffled swags when piping.

Ruffle (use rose tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle to the right. Position wide end of hole in tip so it is just touching cake and narrow end is angling away from cake.

    Position wide end of the hole in the tip so it is ju
    Position wide end of the hole in the tip
    so it is just touching cake and the narrow
    end is angling away.

  2. Gently squeeze while moving tip in slight up-and-down motion to ruffle icing.
TIP: To use a ruffle as a side decoration, move tip downward to form swag while piping ruffle. When ruffle is desired length, stop squeezing, then lift tip.

To make a ruffle a side decoration, use the swag technique.
To make a ruffle a side decoration,
use the swag technique.

Now we will move on to making flowers with icing in the next section.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cake Recipes: Find basic cake recipes as well as ideas for types of cakes you may have never even heard of, all on our Cake Recipes page.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about selecting the proper baking pan, cooling and frosting a finished cake, and more.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

How to Add Flowers to a Cake

Try It!
Here is a cake recipe from our collection:

Flowers are a classic cake decoration. Though they look intricate, they are actually quite
simple. Following are some tips for different
types of icing flowers.

Drop Flower (use drop flower and writing tips):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 90-degree angle. Position opening of drop flower tip just above cake or other flat surface and gently squeeze.

  2. Lift slightly while still squeezing. When drop flower is desired size, stop squeezing, then lift tip.

  3. Pipe dot in center of each drop flower, using writing tip.

    Pipe a dot in the center of each flower.
    Pipe a dot in the center of each flower.
TIPS:

  • When piping drop flowers for drying, glue waxed paper to flat surface with shortening so waxed paper doesn't lift during piping.

  • When piping large drop flowers, try using a two-handed grip to give you more squeezing power.

  • Frosting consistency for drop flowers should be slightly stiffer.

Leaf (use leaf tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle to the right. If using a #352 tip, position notch perpendicular to cake.

    Hold your bag at a 45-degree angle from the cake.
    Hold your bag at a 45-degree
    angle from the cake.
  2. If using a #67 tip, position flat part of tip parallel to cake.

     If using a #67 tip, position flat part of tip parallel to cake.
    If using a #67 tip, position flat
    part of tip parallel to cake.
  3. Position opening just above cake and gently squeeze until base of leaf builds up slightly.

  4. Continue squeezing while pulling tip out away from base. When leaf is desired length, stop squeezing, then lift tip. (For most flower designs, leaves should point up.)
Rosette Border (use open or closed star tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at an angle (about a 75-degree angle for bottom border and a 90-degree angle for top border). Position opening just above cake and gently squeeze.

  2. Guide tip in circular motion counterclockwise while still squeezing.

  3. When you've piped a full circle, guide tip to center of frosting circle. Stop squeezing, then lift tip.

  4. Position tip so that it is almost touching first rosette and pipe another rosette. Repeat to complete border.

    Position tip so that it is almost touching first rosette and pipe another rosette.
    Position tip so that it is almost touching
    first rosette and pipe another rosette.

Shell (use round tip, or open or closed star tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle to the right just above cake.

  2. Squeeze until a small mound is formed for base of shell, lifting slightly.

  3. Continue squeezing with lighter pressure while pulling tip away from base to the right until tail is desired length. Stop squeezing, then lift tip.
Shell Border (use round tip, or open or closed star tip):
  1. Position tip so that it is almost touching tail of first shell.

  2. Pipe another shell. Repeat to complete border.

    Pipe a series of shells to form a boarder.
    Pipe a series of shells to form a border.
Double Shell Border (use round tip, or open or closed star tip):
  1. Pipe shell border as directed above.

  2. Pipe a second row of shells offset of first row so the bases of these shells fill in the tails of shells in first row.
Reverse Shell Border (use round tip, or open or closed star tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle just above cake.

  2. Squeeze until a small mound is formed for base of shell, lifting slightly, as if making a shell, but swing tip around slightly to the left in a semicircular motion.

    Begin by making a mound and then move the tip in semi-circular motion.
    Begin by making a mound and then
    move the tip in semicircular motion.

  3. Continue squeezing with lighter pressure while pulling tip away from base to the right until tail is desired length. Stop squeezing, then lift tip.

  4. Position tip so that it is slightly above and almost touching tail of first shell.

  5. Repeat procedure, only swing tip around slightly to the right as you form tail.

    Repeat procedure, only swing tip around slightly to the right as you form tail.
    Repeat procedure, only swing tip around
    slightly to the right as you form tail.

  6. Stop squeezing, then lift tip. Repeat to complete border alternating directions.
Interlocking Shell Border (use round tip, or open or closed star tip):
  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle to the right just above cake.

  2. Squeeze until a small mound is formed for base of shell, lifting slightly.

  3. Continue squeezing with lighter pressure while pulling tip away from base and slightly up to the right until tail is desired length. Stop squeezing, then lift tip.

  4. Position tip tucked under tail of first shell. Squeeze until a small mound is formed for base of shell, lifting slightly.

  5. Continue squeezing with lighter pressure while pulling tip away from base and up over tail of first shell and slightly to right.

    Continue squeezing with lighter pressure while pulling tip away from base and up over tail
    Continue squeezing with lighter
    pressure while pulling tip away
    from base and up over tail of
    first shell and slightly to right.

  6. When tail is desired length, stop squeezing, then lift tip. Repeat to complete border, always tucking base of new shell under tail of previous shell.
Ruffle Accent to Shell Border (use rose tip):
  1. Hold the bag so wide end of hole in tip is between two shells and narrow end of tip is angling up at a 45-degree angle.

  2. Gently squeeze while moving tip slightly upward to form tiny ruffle. Stop squeezing, then lift tip.

Gently squeeze while moving tip slightly upward to form tiny ruffle.
Gently squeeze while moving tip
slightly upward to form tiny ruffle.

In the next section, we'll discuss decorating cakes with chocolate and nuts.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cake Recipes: Find basic cake recipes as well as ideas for types of cakes you may have never even heard of, all on our Cake Recipes page.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about selecting the proper baking pan, cooling and frosting a finished cake, and more.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Decorating a Cake with Chocolate and Nuts

For a more distinguished looking cake, try decorating with chocolate or nuts. The following tips will help.

Try It!
Here are some cake recipes from our collection:

Melting and Piping Chocolate

Here's the equipment you will need to melt and then pipe chocolate:

  • cutting board
  • paring knife
  • glass measuring cup
  • small saucepan
  • rubber spatula
  • small zipper-style plastic food
  • storage bag
  • kitchen scissors
  • Unsweetened, semisweet or milk chocolate (squares or bars)
  1. Place chocolate on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife.

     Be sure to use a sharp knife that won't catch or slip.
    Be sure to use a sharp knife
    that won't catch or slip.

  2. Place shavings in measuring cup. Fill a saucepan one-quarter full (about 1 inch deep) with warm (not hot) water. Place measuring cup in water to melt chocolate, stirring frequently with rubber spatula until smooth. (Be careful not to get any water into chocolate.) Remove measuring cup from saucepan. Let chocolate cool slightly.

  3. Fill plastic bag about half full with melted chocolate. Seal bag securely.

    Use care when pouring melted chocolate into plastic bag.
    Use care when pouring melted
    chocolate into plastic bag.

  4. Cut off very tiny corner of bag with scissors.

    Start with the tiniest cut off the corner. You can always enlarge the hole if it isn't big enough.
    Start with the tiniest cut off the corner.
    You can always enlarge the
    hole if it isn't big enough.

  5. Gently squeeze bag, piping chocolate onto cake using an even, steady flow.

Chocolate Shapes

  1. Complete steps 1-4 above.

  2. Gently squeeze bag and pipe chocolate in a steady flow onto sheet of waxed paper, making a variety of small shapes. Stop squeezing and then lift bag at end of each shape. Create flowers, hearts, Christmas trees, lattice shapes, or any lacy pattern.

    Make chocolate shapes as fanciful as you want.
    Make chocolate shapes as
    fanciful as you want.
  3. Let stand in cool, dry place until chocolate is firm. (Do not chill in refrigerator.) When chocolate is firm, gently peel shapes off waxed paper. Store shapes in cool, dry place until ready to use.

    It might be helpful to use a small knife to peel the shapes off the waxed paper.
    It might be helpful to use a small knife to
    peel the shapes off the waxed paper.

Melting and Piping White Chocolate

Here's what you will need to melt and pipe white chocolate:

  • small resealable plastic freezer bag
  • microwave oven
  • kitchen scissors
  • white chocolate baking bars
  1. Place white chocolate baking bar in small resealable plastic freezer bag.

  2. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 minutes. Turn bag over; microwave at MEDIUM 2 to 3 minutes or until white chocolate is melted.

  3. Knead bag until white chocolate is smooth.

    Kneading the melted white chocolate helps smooth out any lumps.
    Kneading the melted white chocolate
    helps smooth out any lumps.

  4. Cut off very tiny corner of bag with scissors.

  5. Gently squeeze bag, piping white chocolate onto cake, using an even, steady flow.

    Use a zigzag motion to get a pretty drizzle effect.
    Use a zigzag motion to get a
    pretty drizzle effect.

Adding Nuts or Crumbs to the Side of the Cake

  1. Tuck small strips of waxed paper under a two- or three-layer cake to keep plate clean. Completely frost the cake with frosting of your choice.

  2. Place cookie crumbs, chopped nuts, chopped candy bits, or coconut in small bowl.

  3. Using palm of hand, pat crumbs onto side of cake. Work on one small area at a time and rotate cake plate as you go.

  4. When finished, remove waxed paper strips.

     An edge of crumbs or chopped nuts makes a cake look elegant.
    An edge of crumbs or chopped nuts
    makes a cake look elegant.

Sifted Cocoa and Sugar Patterns

Here's what you will need to form sifted cocoa and sugar patterns:

  • waxed paper
  • doily with large pattern
  • large spoon
  • fine-mesh sieve
  • skewer or toothpick
  • unsweetened cocoa powder or powdered sugar
  1. Cut waxed paper into strips, each 2 to 3 inches wide. Tuck strips under cake to keep plate clean.

  2. Position doily on top of cake.

    # Carefully position the doily in the center of the cake.
    Carefully position the doily in
    the center of the cake.

  3. Spoon cocoa powder or powdered sugar into sieve.

    #  Hold the sieve over a sheet of waxed paper for easier clean up.
    Hold the sieve over a sheet of
    waxed paper for easier cleanup.

  4. Holding sieve over cake, gently tap sieve with hand to sift cocoa powder or sugar in an even layer over entire surface.

    #  Move sieve over cake slowly and smoothly for an even effect.
    Move sieve over cake slowly and
    smoothly for an even effect.
  5. Carefully remove waxed paper strips. Remove doily with skewer or toothpick.

    Work carefully so you don't disturb the pattern.
    Work carefully so you
    don't disturb the pattern.

TIP: Cocoa powder works well for light-colored desserts; powdered sugar is best for dark-colored desserts.

Gingham Variation

Omit doily. Cut clean sheets of paper into 8 to 10 strips, each strip 1/2
- to 3/4-inch wide and long enough to fit across top of cake you wish to cover. Arrange paper strips in crisscross pattern on top of cake. Continue as directed in steps 3-5 above.

This simple paper strip technique produces a very impressive look.
This simple paper strip technique
produces a very impressive look.

Tinting and Toasting Coconut

  1. To tint coconut, place coconut in resealable plastic food storage bag.

  2. Combine small amount of food coloring with water in small bowl; add to bag. Seal bag; shake until evenly coated.

  3. To toast coconut, spread coconut evenly on baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toast about 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring coconut occasionally to ensure even browning.

Chocolate Curls

Here's the equipment you will need to make chocolate curls:

  • cutting board
  • paring knife
  • glass measuring cup
  • small saucepan
  • rubber spatula
  • baking pan
  • metal spatula
  • small skewer or toothpick
  • waxed paper
  • semisweet chocolate (squares or bars)
  • shortening
  1. Place chocolate on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife.

    #  The finer the shavings, the faster the chocolate will melt.
    The finer the shavings, the faster
    the chocolate will melt.

  2. Place shavings in measuring cup. Add shortening. (Use 1 teaspoon of shortening for every 2 ounces of chocolate.) Fill a saucepan one-quarter full (about 1 inch deep) with warm (not hot) water.

  3. Place measuring cup in water to melt chocolate, stirring frequently with rubber spatula until smooth. (Be careful not to get any water into chocolate.)

     Be careful not to get even a drop of water into the chocolate. It will seize up.
    Be careful not to get even a drop of water
    into the chocolate. It will seize up.

  4. Remove measuring from saucepan. Let chocolate cool slightly.

  5. Pour melted chocolate onto back of baking pan. Quickly spread chocolate into a thin layer (about 1/4 inch thick) with metal spatula.

     A long, flat metal spatula makes it easier to spread the chocolate in an even layer.
    A long, flat metal spatula makes it easier
    to spread the chocolate in an even layer.

  6. Let stand in cool, dry place until chocolate is firm. (Do not chill in refrigerator.) When chocolate is just firm, use small straight-edge metal spatula to form curls. Holding spatula at a 45-degree angle, push spatula firmly along baking pan, under chocolate, so chocolate curls as it is pushed. (If chocolate is too firm to curl, let stand a few minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate again if it becomes too soft.)

    #  Scrape slowly and deliberately so curls don't break.
    Scrape slowly and deliberately
    so curls don't break
  7. Using small skewer or toothpick, transfer curls to waxed paper. Store curls in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

     Just slip the curl onto a skewer and lift it off the baking pan.
    Just slip the curl onto a skewer
    and lift it off the baking pan.

Chocolate Cutouts

  1. Complete steps 1-3 above.

  2. Line inside of baking sheet with waxed paper. Pour melted chocolate into prepared baking sheet; quickly spread chocolate into a thin layer (1/8- to 1/4-inch thick) with metal spatula.

    Work quickly when spreading the melted chocolate, but try to keep an even stroke with the spatula.
    Work quickly when spreading the melted
    chocolate, but try to keep an even stroke
    with the spatula.

  3. Let stand in cool, dry place until chocolate is just firm. (Do not chill in refrigerator.)

  4. Cut chocolate into shapes with hors d'oeuvre or cookie cutters, placing cutters as close together as possible.

    Use cutters in simple shapes for best results.
    Use cutters in simple shapes
    for best results.

  5. Carefully remove cutouts with metal spatula. Store the cutouts in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

     You might need to use the tip of a small paring knife to start lifting the cut-outs.
    You might need to use the tip of a
    small paring knife to start lifting the
    cutouts. Finish with the metal spatula.

TIP: For ease in cutting chocolate, slightly warm cutters with hands before cutting out shapes.

White Chocolate Curls

Here's what you will need to make white chocolate curls:

  • cutting board
  • paring knife
  • 2-cup glass measuring cup
  • waxed paper
  • cookie sheet or baking pan
  • sharp knife
  • metal spatula
  • white chocolate baking bars
  • shortening
  1. Place white chocolate on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife.

  2. Place white chocolate shavings and shortening in measuring cup. (Use 1 teaspoon of shortening for every 2 ounces of chocolate.)

  3. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) for about 11/2 minutes or until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds of cooking

  4. Pour melted white chocolate onto back of baking pan. Quickly spread chocolate into a very thin layer (about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick) with metal spatula. Refrigerate white chocolate about 10 minutes or until firm, but still pliable.

    # Spread the melted chocolate quickly and evenly.
    Spread the melted chocolate
    quickly and evenly.

  5. Use small straight-edge metal spatula to form curls. Holding spatula at a 45-degree angle, push spatula firmly along baking pan, under chocolate, so chocolate curls as it is pushed. (If chocolate is too firm to curl. Let stand a few minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate again if it becomes too soft.

    # Try to maintain a 45-degree angle for the best curls.
    Try to maintain a 45-degree
    angle for the best curls.
  6. Using small skewer or toothpick, transfer curl to waxed paper. Store curls in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
White Chocolate Cutouts
  1. Melt white chocolate baking bars (do not add shortening) in small bowl set inside larger bowl half filled with very hot water, stirring occasionally.

    Melting the white chocolate will take about 10 minutes.
    Melting the white chocolate
    will take about 10 minutes.

  2. Line cookie sheet or baking pan with waxed paper. Pour melted white chocolate onto waxed paper; quickly spread chocolate into a thin layer (1/8- to 1/4-inch thick) with rubber spatula.

    #  If you use a cookie sheet, keep melted white chocolate a couple of inches from the edge.
    If you use a cookie sheet, keep melted
    white chocolate a couple of inches
    from the edge.

  3. Refrigerate until white chocolate is just firm, about 15 minutes.

  4. Cut chocolate into shapes with sharp knife (or use hors d'oeuvre or cookie cutters).

    Large geometric shapes can make dramatic decorations.
    Large geometric shapes can
    make dramatic decorations.

  5. Immediately lift cutouts carefully from waxed paper with metal spatula or knife. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Chocolate-dipped Fruits and Nuts

Here's what you will need to make chocolate-dipped fruits and nuts:

  • cutting board
  • paring knife
  • glass measuring cup
  • small saucepan
  • rubber spatula
  • waxed paper
  • semisweet or unsweetened chocolate (squares or bars)
  • fresh or dried fruits
  • whole or halved nuts
  1. Place chocolate on cutting board; shave it into small pieces with paring knife.

    Be sure to use a sharp knife that won't catch or slip.
    Be sure to use a sharp knife
    that won't catch or slip.

  2. Place shavings in measuring cup. Fill a saucepan one-quarter full (about 1 inch deep) with warm (not hot) water. Place measuring cup in water to melt chocolate, stirring frequently with rubber spatula until smooth. (Be careful not to get any water into chocolate.) Remove measuring cup from saucepan.

  3. If using fresh fruit, wash and dry well. Dip fruits and nuts, one at a time, into melted chocolate, until chocolate coating comes about two-thirds of the way up the side. Allow excess chocolate to drip off.

    Aim for a light coating of chocolate.
    Aim for a light coating of chocolate.
  4. Transfer dipped fruits and nuts to waxed paper. Let stand in a cool, dry place until chocolate is firm. (Do not chill in refrigerator.)

In the next section, we'll move onto some more advanced icing techniques like feathered frosting.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cake Recipes: Find basic cake recipes as well as ideas for types of cakes you may have never even heard of, all on our Cake Recipes page.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about selecting the proper baking pan, cooling and frosting a finished cake, and more.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Advanced Cake Decorating Techniques

As your confidence continues to grow, you can try more and more advanced cake decorating techniques.

Try It!
Here is a cake recipe from our collection:

Feathered Frosting

Here's what you'll need to do feathered frosting:

  • Two contrasting colors of
    cake decorating gel

  • Paring knife
  1. Pipe line of first color of decorating gel in straight line across frosted cake, starting about 1 inch from top edge of cake top.

  2. Pipe line of contrasting color gel straight across cake about 1 inch below first line.

    Maintain a steady pressure when squeezing gel tube.
    Maintain a steady pressure
    when squeezing gel tube.
  3. Continue to pipe lines of gel until about 1 inch from bottom edge of cake top, spacing lines about 1 inch apart and alternating colors.

  4. Carefully draw tip of paring knife straight down cake to form feathering, starting at left end of top line. Clean off tip of knife with paper towel.

    Use a light touch to draw the lines.
    Use a light touch to draw the lines.
  5. Carefully draw tip of knife straight up cake to feather in opposite direction, starting at bottom edge of cake top and about 1 inch to the right of the first knife line. Repeat drawing knife through gels, alternating directions to form feathered design across entire cake top.

    Be sure to wipe off tip of knife after every line.
    Be sure to wipe off the tip of
    the knife after every line.

Lattice (use basketweave tip):

  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle just above cake about 1/4 inch from top left of desired area to be covered with lattice and serrated side of tip facing out.

  2. While gently squeezing, guide tip in straight line diagonally across area. Stop squeezing when line reaches 1/4 inch from opposite edge of area, then lift tip.

  3. Repeat to make diagonal lines in same direction spaced about 1/4 inch apart.

    Repeat to make diagonal lines in same direction spaced about 1/4 inch apart.
    Repeat to make diagonal lines in same
    direction spaced about 1/4 inch apart.

  4. Start about 1/4 inch from top of one diagonal line of frosting. Hold bag at a 45-degree angle with tip positioned just to the right of this line and serrated side of tip facing out.

  5. While gently squeezing, guide tip straight down to pipe a line of frosting that crisscrosses diagonal lines. At the edge of desired area, stop squeezing, then lift tip. Repeat to make lines spaced about 1/4 inch apart across area.

    While gently squeezing, guide tip straight down to pipe a line of frosting that crisscrosses diagonal lines.
    While gently squeezing, guide tip straight
    down to pipe a line of frosting that
    crisscrosses diagonal lines.

  6. Finish edges of desired area by piping a long line of frosting close to each edge.

Basketweave (use basketweave tip):

  1. Hold bag so tip is at a 45-degree angle with serrated side of tip facing out and just above cake.

  2. Position tip so it is about 1/2 inch from top left of desired area to be covered with basketweave.

  3. While gently squeezing, guide tip in straight line vertically down desired area. Stop squeezing when line reaches 1/4 inch from bottom left of desired area and then lift tip.

  4. Continue to hold bag at a 45-degree angle with tip positioned 1/2 inch to the left of the vertical line at the top and serrated side of tip facing out.

  5. Gently squeeze, guiding tip horizontally up and over vertical line of frosting to about 1/2 inch to right of vertical line. Stop squeezing, then lift tip.

  6. Pipe additional horizontal lines to cover vertical line, each a tip's width apart.

    Pipe additional horizontal lines to cover vertical line, each a tip's width apart.
    Pipe additional horizontal lines to cover
    vertical line, each a tip's width apart.

  7. Pipe another vertical line, slightly overlapping edges of horizontal lines.

  8. Position tip slightly under first vertical line and pipe horizontal lines over second vertical line, filling in skipped spaces between first set of horizontal lines.

  9. Repeat vertical and horizontal lines, always slightly overlapping edges of horizontal lines with the vertical lines and tucking tip under vertical lines when piping horizontal line. Continue until desired area is covered with basketweave.

    Slightly overlap the edges of horizontal lines with the vertical lines and tuck the tip under the vertical lines
    Slightly overlap the edges of horizontal
    lines with the vertical lines and tuck
    the tip under the vertical lines when
    piping a horizontal line.

  10. Finish edges of desired area by piping a long line of frosting close to each edge.
After reading the tips in this article, you'll be inspired to try all kinds of designs on your next cake. Have fun!

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Cake Recipes: Find basic cake recipes as well as ideas for types of cakes you may have never even heard of, all on our Cake Recipes page.
  • How to Bake a Cake: Find basic instructions and definitions that will help you bake a cake in this article. You'll learn about selecting the proper baking pan, cooling and frosting a finished cake, and more.
  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.