Getting Started with Cake Decorating

cake decorating tools picture

Before you can start any decorating, there are basic fundamentals that you need to think about. Icing of perfect texture and colour with excellent technique, along with decorating tools that are essential to the success of your decorating. Here you will find information and pictures of what you will need to get you started. Once you learn the basics, you'll be on your way to explore more decorating techniques with confidence! Happy Baking!

Tips for Getting Started

There are several different factors that contribute to a well decorated cake

  • Pick the right Cake Recipe

    Using the right Cake Recipe will go along way. When choosing a flavour consider the cake design, who will be eating the cake and the ingredients required.

    For example, if you are planning on creating a multi tier cake, a recipe such as buttery cinnamon cake is not appropriate, this type of cake is better served with a little glaze drizzled over it. A better choice would be a chocolate, red velvet, marble cake recipe etc. All of these flavours will provide structural support for the cake as well as are excellent paired with buttercream icing and fondant.

  • Freeze the cake

    Freeze you cake prior to attempting any carving, this will ensure the cake will not fall apart when you are carving them into shapes or simply carving over the edges.

    To Freeze the cake, wrap layers individual in tin foil and place in freezer. Ensure the cake is evenly supported. Cakes can be frozen up to a week.

  • The Crumb Coat

    This is an essential step weather you are doing a buttercream cake, a fondant cake, a covered cake, you need a good crumb coat. A crumb coat will seal in the crumbs so the final layer of buttercream is smooth and spotless. A crumb coat should be as evenly spread and smooth as possible to ensure there are no imperfections applying the final coat.

    A crumb coat is even more important when applying fondant to a cake. A smooth and even surface underneath the fondant the better the outer layer. The crumb coat also acts of a 'glue' for the fondant.

How to Cumb Coat a Cake Video



Cake Decorating 101


  • piping tips

    Piping Tips:
    Learn the families of piping tips and what you can create with them here before you start


  • working with icing

    Working with Icing:
    Learn how to work with icing, mainly buttercream and royal, so that your decorations are perfect everytime!


  • gel paste food colouring

    Colour:
    Learn how to colour buttercream icing, royal icing and fondant. Also, how to use gel-paste food colouring to paint!

Basic Tools For Cake Decorating

To start any cake decorating adventure, it is essential to have these basic tools to get you started. Make sure you have the following items:

    decorating tools
  • A spatula for coating and smoothing your icing over the cake. A metal offset spatula like this one will work the best for all different shapes and sizes of cake.
  • Waxed paper or paper towel without designs are a good thing to have for help smoothing your icing on the cake.
  • Parchment bags which you can buy reusable or disposable or you can make your own. Having multiples on hand makes it easier when you will be using different colours on your cake. Reusable bags are more environmentally friendly if you will be decorating often. Use bags between 10 and 14 inches long for easy handling.
  • decorating tools
  • Piping tips should be chosen depending on the design you're looking for. To have a variety of tips on hand, we recommend purchasing a set like these if you're just getting started or if you're looking to be more advanced. See more related to Piping Tips
  • Plastic couplers which allow you to easily remove and replace your piping tips from the parchment bags. This is helpful if you plan on piping different designs with the same colour icing or frosting.
  • For different coloured icing or frosting it is best to get gel-paste food colours opposed to liquid food colours so the consistency of your icing does not change. See more on Working with Color
  • decorating tools
  • A Lazy susan is a great tool to have allowing you to rotate your cakes easily when decorating. We recommend a lazy susan over a decorating turn table because it does the same thing for a lot less money!!


  • **Any additional tools will be noted when it is specifically needed for a design.

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