A Novice Guide to Decorating Cakes

choc cake

The thought of decorating cakes or creating a show stopping centre piece cake for a child’s birthday or family celebration can be quite daunting so I’d like to share some of my ideas in this post ‘A novice guide to decorating cakes’.

The most important thing to remember is, if you’ve put the effort into making a cake the recipient will love it no matter how it looks, to them it will always be more than just a cake, it shows you care. I remember as a child every year my mum made us birthday cakes, which often consisted of a sponge cake decorated with chocolate buttons but it was better than any shop bought cake because she made it, and those cakes I remember more than the birthdays themselves.


So where do you begin in re-creating a master piece? the answer is keep it simple, no one wants a cake which looks like a load of stuff has been thrown at it. Firstly decide your flavour, think about what the recipient likes, are they a chocoholic or a traditionalist who loves a good old Victoria Sponge? Once you have your baked cake put it on a nice cake board, I’m sorry my pet hate is beautiful cakes presented on a tupperware lid covered in tin foil, they are readily available from hobby shops, cake shops, amazon or Ebay for less than a £1. Always buy a cake board larger than your cake as your decoration will make the cake larger.

Ok now we have a cake and a board lets get started with a few ideas.

Victoria Sandwich

Perfect for someone who loves afternoon tea or who doesn’t like icing, this is a great idea to get your confidence up.  Place your cake on your board or cake plate and surround with fresh raspberries, using a sieve give the cake a dusting of icing sugar. On this cake I’ve used a cake topper from a company called Bearcubandco,

victoria sponge

Marshmallow Tower Cake

A show stopper of a cake that is easy to create. It’s as simple as covering a cake with chocolate butter cream or ganache then dripping melted white chocolate down the sides. To create the tower of marshmallows dip the bottom of each marshmallow in white chocolate and place on the cake, start with a circle of marshmallows to form the bottom layer then do an additional 2 layers getting smaller each time. Add fruits and berries if you want to.

chocolate & marshmallow tower

Chocolate Button Flower Cake

Chocolate flower cake

This is one of my favourite cakes to create for family members, it reminds me of my childhood cakes decorated with chocolate buttons. If you feel daunted about getting neat sides on your cake, I would always decorate the sides using Kit Kat bars or Chocolate fingers, a layer of buttercream around the sides will enable them to stick to the cake and it doesn’t matter how messy it is, it’s all hidden. secure them in place with a ribbon. The flowers are very simple, place a single button for the centre of the flower then in a contrasting colour place buttons on their side all the way around the centre button, it really is as simple as that. For a more colourful option try using Smarties and Freddo Frog bars.

Flowers & Freddo Frog Cake

Chocolate Bar Cake

choc cake

Using the same technique as above, cover the sides of your cake with kitkats or similar. Then pile high with sweets and chocolate bars, try to place them at different heights and use different sized bars to add contrast.  There is no right and wrong it’s a ‘messy’ design so just use your imagination. Again we’ve topped it with one of the gorgeous toppers made by bearcubandco.

Individual Cupcake Jars

I love to give these as gifts or make them for school fairs and charity events. Simply fill a clean jam jar with slices of cake. I tend to cook a round 8″ sponge and cut circles out using a pastry cutter. alternate slices of cake with buttercream and jam or your chosen filling, add other treats inbetween the layers such as fresh berries or chocolate chips and I like to finish with a little bamboo teaspoon tied with rafia.

Cupcake Jars

I hope this has inspired you to have a go at creating a cake. You’ll find my sponge and cupcake recipes in previous posts.

Most of all get creative, have fun and remember it’s made with love so it will be perfect.

Love Sadie