20 easy cake decorating ideas
If you've been inspired to start decorating your own cakes, our guide will help you make a start, whether it’s icing a cake, layering sponge or theming bakes for different events.
Whether you want to surprise a friend with a birthday cake, expand your decorating knowledge or tackle a bigger challenge, such as a wedding cake, this guide will be all the inspiration you need. Learn new cake decorating skills, from stacking a cake to making a drip cake, and all your bakes will look professional.
Our 20 best ever cake designs
Spoon chocolate ganache (it should be pourable, not runny) over your cake and gently encourage it to drizzle down the side using the spoon. Start at the back of the cake to get the hang of the technique before decorating the front.
This showstopper is sure to impress friends and family. Gelatine leaves are soaked in cold water, then mixed with sugar, condensed milk and water, boiled, then combined with white chocolate. The mixture is then divided between three bowls and to be coloured with any food colouring gels you like – we used pink, blue and purple for our glaze.
Perfect for a birthday party, this quadruple-layered cake is simple to achieve: just scatter sprinkles throughout the cake batter before dividing it between four tins and baking
Continuing the sprinkle theme, this school-days sponge is an even easier alternative. Spread the icing over the cooled cake, then scatter over plenty of sprinkles before slicing.
This is definitely one for those who like a challenge. Serving up to 65 people, the most difficult and time-consuming element of this cake is baking the various tiers. Once that's sorted, you simply need to stack them using lemon mascarpone icing, mixed berries, edible flowers and mint leaves. Discover more wedding cake recipes.
Celebrations call for some magic, and this cake certainly ticks that box. Spread chocolate fudge icing all over the cake, then use a skewer and straw to create the illusion of gravity-defying sugar-coated sweets, complete with a paper bag on top.
For a bit of cheer, it’s hard to go wrong with a rainbow cake. With six sponges (the seventh is optional), timing is key: we recommend baking them in batches of two. Use food colouring gel for more intense colour.
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With a simple sponge base, this stress-free wedding cake leaves the decoration up to you – you could add food colouring to the buttercream, add flowers, or cover it with fondant and decorate with white chocolate buttons for a polka-dot effect. Find more wedding cake inspiration.
Shades of chocolate, caramel and vanilla come together in this recipe, ideal for a more sophisticated celebration. Stack the sponges up with caramel in between, then top with chocolate icing – it's the ultimate bake for any chocolate lover.
Inspired by the classic bakewell tart, this cake is decorated in vivid shades of pink and red to highlight the raspberry flavour inside. To achieve the icing effect, you'll need to pipe six dots vertically on the side of the cake, starting with two of the darkest at the base and ending with one or two of the lightest, and alternating this around the cake. Then, use a spoon to smear the frosting to the right. Repeat all the way around.
Fluffy vanilla buttercream and sparkles will wow guests. The sprinkles are pressed onto a band of icing around the middle of the cake, then the rest of the buttercream is spread above and below the belt of sprinkles using an offset palette knife – it's built out to create the impression of a fault line, with sprinkles beneath.
The power of this simple cake lies in the lemon and elderflower syrup that's spooned over the sponges. Stack the sponges with plenty of icing, then spread it all over the cake before topping with fresh flowers.
This plant-based chocolate cake is no less special than the traditional version. Melt vegan chocolate and combine with vegan spread, vanilla and icing sugar to make the buttercream, then use it to stack the sponges together, cover the cake and pipe rosettes around the top. For an extra-special touch, press sprinkles around the base and scatter over the top.
This showstopper features a ganache drip, peanut butter icing and pretzel bark – perfect for lovers of sweet-and-salty treats.
This seasonal bake is packed with autumnal flavours, and features stunning sugar-coated apples for a natural decoration. Dip dried apple balls into caramel, twist to coat, then pull out vertically to create a long drip of caramel that will set hard.
With four layers and a topping of mini meringues, strawberries, white chocolate, shortbread and cream, this cake is great for summer gatherings. The meringue can be shop-bought, or make your own meringue kisses.
Apart from the decadent pairing of chocolate and caramel, what sets this cake apart is the chocolate buttercream piping and crumbled cookies between both layers. Drizzle caramel on top to finish.
18. Unicorn cake
This pretty cake is easy to achieve if you're comfortable piping rosettes. Use white fondant to create the horn and ears, then paint with gold lustre dust for a shimmery effect. Use different coloured icings to pipe rosettes and dots over the top and down one side of the cake for the unicorn's magical mane.
Like a slice of summer, this strawberry lemonade cake is packed with sunny flavours. Lemon syrup is spooned over the cooled sponges for a zesty note, and the cake is finished with strawberry icing and hulled strawberries.
With pineapple, banana and tangy soft cheese frosting, this showstopping cake is ideal for summertime. Finish the cake with orange zest, edible flowers and dried pineapple rings, if you like.
Learn how to stack a cake, decorate cupcakes or decorate a cake with piping and simple decorations. Follow along with our how-to video to discover expert buttercream tips and tricks. Finally, find more ideas for showstopping cake recipes.
What's your favourite cake decorating idea? Leave a comment below.