Dessert | Food

Cake Decorating Hacks: 9 Easy Design Ideas You Need To Try

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Cake decorating isn't just for the pros anymore! With a few simple tricks you can take your next birthday cake from drab to fab.

If you don't have time to bake a cake, don't worry! The bakery section in your local grocery store will sell you finished cakes covered in a basic vanilla or chocolate frosting so that you can customize with your own designs.

Sprinkle Number Cake

How cute is this? The sprinkles add a fun pop of color to an otherwise boring vanilla cake. Here's how to make it:

Ingredients

  • Vanilla cake from the grocery store (or make your own!)
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Number stencils or stickers

Directions

  1. Place your baked and frosted cake in the freezer to harden up. This step is very important! Since you'll be touching the cake you want the icing to stay put and not come off onto your hands.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with sprinkles. Once the cake is hardened, roll the sides of the cake in the sprinkles.
  3. Place the cake on a cake stand and place your number stencil on top of the cake.
  4. Pour sprinkles on top of the cake and use your fingers to brush them off the number.
  5. Remove the number from the top and the cake is done!

Chocolate Drip Sprinkle Cake

This cake is amazing! Not only is it super cute with the sprinkles, but the chocolate ganache is beyond delicious.

Ingredients

  • Vanilla cake (store-bought or homemade)
  • Sprinkles
  • 3 oz dark chocolate
  • 3 oz heavy cream

Directions

  1. Place your cake in the freezer to harden up.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with sprinkles.
  3. Roll your frozen cake in the sprinkles. Place on a cake stand and cover the top completely in sprinkles.
  4. In a measuring cup add your chocolate and heavy cream. Microwave in 30 second intervals, making sure to stir in between. You want to be careful not to burn the chocolate!
  5. Once the chocolate has melted pour it around the edges of the cake letting it drip down the sides.
  6. Now, pour the chocolate into the middle of the top of the cake and smooth with a spatula.
  7. Your cake is now ready to be enjoyed!

Purple Drip Cake

Once you have the hang of making a drip cake, it's all you're going to want to make. It's super eye catching and impressive, but easy enough that anyone can do it. We made ours a vibrant purple, but you can choose any color(s) you like!

Ingredients

  • Vanilla Cake (store-bought or homemade)
  • 6 oz white chocolate
  • 6 oz heavy cream
  • Buttercream icing
  • Purple gel food coloring
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  1. Place your cake in the freezer to harden up.
  2. In a large measuring cup add the white chocolate and heavy cream. Microwave in 30 second intervals, making sure to stir the mixture.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted add the food coloring and stir.
  4. Take your cake out of the freezer and place on a cake stand. Pour the melted chocolate along the edges of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
  5. Pipe your buttercream icing (also dyed with the same purple food coloring) on top of the cake using a 1M star tip.
  6. Top the cake with sprinkles and you're done! So easy.

Rainbow Cake

Rainbow desserts are ALWAYS a good idea! This stunning rainbow cake is perfect for a kid's birthday party and won't take you any time to make.

Ingredients

  • Vanilla cake (cut in half)
  • Rainbow candies
  • Mini marshmallows

Directions

  1. Cut your cake in half and place it on a rectangular platter.
  2. Place the rainbow candies in rows up the side of the cake one color at a time.
  3. Once the cake edge is covered pour some mini marshmallows on either side to look like clouds and you're done!

Forest Cake

Topped with tiny edible trees, this winter wonderland cake is delicious any time of the year. Grab a plain vanilla cake and let's get decorating!

Ingredients

  • Vanilla cake
  • Shredded coconut
  • Green candy melts
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Green gumballs

Directions

  1. Place 4-6 pretzel sticks on a wax paper lined baking sheet.
  2. Melt your candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, being careful not to burn them.
  3. Once melted, pour into a zip top bag and cut a small hole in the corner.
  4. Squeeze the candy melts in a tree shape onto the pretzel sticks. Let set for about 10 minutes.
  5. Cover the cake with shredded coconut and stick your hardened candy melt trees into the top.
  6. Place green gumballs around the bottom edge of the cake (this is great for hiding some icing mistakes!), and you're done!

Fish Bowl Cake

Now this is how you take a basic vanilla box cake to the next level! How could anyone resist this adorable fish bowl cake?

Ingredients

  • Round vanilla cake
  • Vanilla buttercream, divided
  • Blue gel food coloring
  • Rainbow Goldfish Crackers
  • Mini multicolored chocolate candies
  • Green Airhead candy
  • Pearl sprinkles

Directions

  1. Cut off the top part of your cake and then cover the entire cake in white buttercream.
  2. Pipe the blue buttercream onto the cake, starting at about 1/4 of the way down from the top.
  3. Press your mini chocolate candies into the bottom of the cake.
  4. Cut your Airheads into strips and place them on the cake to look like underwater vegetation.
  5. Add your Goldfish crackers and put some white pear sprinkles above each fish. Your cake is now ready to be served!

Brushstroke Cake

If you're looking for a unique design, then you've found the right cake. Don't be intimidated by the candy melt brushstrokes, it's actually super easy to make.

Ingredients

  • Vanilla cake
  • Blue candy melts
  • Purple candy melts

Directions

  1. Melt your candy melts in 30 second increments, making sure to stir regularly.
  2. Dip a brush into the melted candy and flick onto the cake. Do this for each color of candy melt until you're happy with the look.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put tablespoon sized dollops of candy melt on the paper.
  4. Take a clean brush and brush through the dollops. Let set for 10-20 minutes until hardened.
  5. Once hardened, place a small amount of icing on the back of each brushstroke and press into the side of the cake. Once it's completely covered to your liking it's ready to be served!

Lego Cake

What kid wouldn't want to eat a giant piece of LEGO? This cake is not only impressive, but it's a breeze to whip up. The LEGO lovers in your life and going to go crazy for this giant sized LEGO cake.

Ingredients

  • Square vanilla cake
  • Large tub of frosting
  • Red food coloring
  • Mini cupcakes

Directions

  1. Place your square cake on a wire rack. Make sure there's a baking sheet under the wire rack to catch the icing drips.
  2. Remove the icing from 4 of your mini cupcakes and place them upside down on top of the cake.
  3. Microwave your icing for 30 seconds - 1 min. Add in the food coloring and stir well.
  4. Pour the frosting over top of the entire cake, making sure to get the sides.
  5. Let the icing harden for about an hour and then it's ready to be enjoyed!

Fruit Loop Cake

Give a boring cake a makeover using your favorite cereal. Fruit loops are an easy way to add some excitement to a basic cake (or cover up some icing mistakes).

Ingredients

  • Vanilla cake
  • Fruit Loops

Directions

Place your Fruit Loops all around the edge of your iced cake - and that's it! Your cake is ready to be served.

Which cake will you make first?

Ashley has been with Shared for more than three years. She's a food, puppy and travel lover. You can contact her at ashley@shared.com.