Cake Decorating for (Lazy) Dummies


Maybe the title is a little harsh. You are probably neither lazy nor dumb, yet you just can’t ever get that cake to look quite as impressive as you had hoped. Well look, I’m really no expert at cake decorating, but I’ve managed to identify and hone a few skills necessary to create a high impact look while maintaining my lazy dumb work ethic (in cake decorating, strictly speaking).

Here are some tips for making great cakes without getting a degree in icing and fondant. But please, don’t show this to anyone with an actual degree in icing and fondant – these are not tips for the cake decorating purists.

1. Invest in these essential tools:

Tip assortment image
These handy doohickeys so you can change tips on the same bag of icing image
Piping bags

Spreader like this image

2. Skip the crumb coat.

I know, sacrilege. I’m too impatient and this works just as well in my opinion: after the layers have cooled, wrap them in cellophane and freeze them until you are ready to ice the cake. Make your layer of icing thick enough so that any stray crumbs don’t come through. Freezing will significantly reduce the amount of crumbs.

3. Keep a cup of water nearby.

Dip your spreader in water before spreading the icing. It keeps it from sticking to the spreader and makes it super smooth.

4. Keep the design simple.

Don’t get too fancy. Simple graphics and clean designs are easier to pull off. Take risks in life people, but not with your cakes!

5. Try a messy icing.

If you aren’t a perfectionist (and really how many of us actually are?) don’t try to be perfect in icing a cake. A messy icing can look pleasantly homemade or wildly whimsical.

6. Use premade fondant or sugar paper.

Don’t try to dye or roll your own-what tedium! Use your 40% off coupon at Michaels to get a roll of fondant in the perfect shade. Or, try the sugar paper that can be cut with scissors to get the perfect design. The cars and road on this cake were cut from sugar paper.

7. Decorate the inside instead.

A great example of high impact, low skill level. Dye your cake batter to create an extreme slice.

8. Surprise by size.

Switch up the standard size by doubling the layers. Or try a low unassuming profile for smaller occasions, or even individual cakes. Tip for tall cakes: fortify with a sturdy piece of cardboard wrapped in foil in the center.

9. Rely on alternatives to steady-handed icing details.

Use candies, cool color combinations, or repetitive one-tip patterns.

And last but not least, remember that if it tastes delicious, no one will remember what it looked like!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here