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Cake decorating tips for beginners

final cake decor

We’ve all got that friend. You know the one: When you show up to a get-together with store-bought cookies you scored on clearance because they’d reached their sell-by date, this friend shows up with a homemade cake that looks (and tastes) like something out of a dream.

Staring at their decorative sugar balls — which they call dragées — you casually contemplate calling your parents to apologize for never having reached your full potential in life. We feel you. Not everyone possesses a natural finesse for decorating cakes. Some of us have never even held a piping bag before. And the only cakes we’ve ever successfully created have come from a box labeled “Betty Crocker.”

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But, listen, it turns out you can teach an old cake-decorating-lackey new tricks. Learning to transform a “naked cake” into a beautiful buttercream masterpiece is actually a lot easier than you’re probably making it out to be.

fruit on cake final

So, hit your local grocer for ingredients and get ready to become that friend with the fabulous cake decorating skills.

Here are the cake decorating tools you’ll need:

  • Cake leveler or a serrated knife
  • Decorating turntable
  • Cardboard rounds
  • Offset spatula (we like to have a smaller and a larger one)
  • Flat spatula
  • Bench scraper
  • Piping bag and piping tips

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The key for beginners trying to level up their cake decorating prowess is to take the pressure off. This isn’t a bake-off. No one is going to be standing by to critique you if your buttercream ribbons look a little droopy.

slice of cake with fruit

It might take practice but, with a little creativity and patience, you’ll be creating works of cake art in no time. Just remember, it doesn’t have to be super complicated. Sometimes, the simplest approach makes for the most elegant cake.

Decorating Cakes: Tips for Beginners | GRATEFUL

Show off your cakes. Tag us on Instagram @makeitgrateful and #makeitgrateful!

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