Cake Decorating For Beginners

There has been a big huge demand for information on how to start decorating a cake and baking. People are now turning their hobby of baking to a business or seeking to improve their decorating skills. 

Many beginners coming into the industry are faced with so many questions like, how to start decorating a cake, what are the right tools or equipment to get, what are the best recipes for different cakes and how to improve on their skills. 

Here are some key point to know and learn:

  • Baking – No matter how elegant a cake looks on the outside,it needs to taste delicious and moist on the inside. It is very important to have the right recipe and proper measurement of all the ingredients. Ensure all your  ingredients like eggs, butter and milk at room temperature and all dry ingredients are sieved properly before you start baking your cake. 

  • Equipment and Tools – There are so many equipment and tools in the market to buy however as a beginner l recommend to start small and work your way up. You can start with a hand held electric mixer. Once you start making cakes regularly, I will advise you to invest in a stand mixer. To be cost effective, ensure they are not too expensive and simple to use. For decorating your cake, you can start with simple tools but very effective like plunger cutters and modelling tools.

  • Buttercream or Ganache – These are the most commonly used filling for a cake and also for coating use when covering a cake with sugarpaste/fondant. For a beginner, I will strongly recommend buttercream. Buttercream is a mixture of Unsalted butter, icing  or powdered sugar with your choice of flavouring like the vanilla essence. Ensure your unsalted butter is at room temperature. Buttercream is softer, easier and cheaper to make than Ganache. Buttercream can be stored in an airtight container with lid firmly secure and put in the fridge for up to a week when not used. Buttercream must be at room temperature before using it again.

  • Preparing your cake for covering – This is the most important aspect of cake decorating because it is  preparing a foundation for covering your cake with sugarpaste/fondant. Preparing your cake for covering includes levelling the cake, removing the crust, layering the cake with the filling and crumb coating. Having the right equipment and tools like a turntable, serrated knife, palette knife, side scraper, cake leveller and spatula will enhance the process of preparing your cake for covering. Whether you cover your cake with buttercream or Ganache, it is very important to have a very smooth finish. At this stage, I will recommend you spend a bit of time smoothing your buttercream on the cake before covering with sugarpaste/ fondant. You can read more on my website about essential lists of equipment and tools (and uses). 

  • Covering your cake with Sugarpaste/fondant – Covering a cake with sugarpaste/fondant for the first time for a beginner can be very daunting. There are varieties of sugarpaste/fondant available to buy online stores, shops and large supermarkets but picking the right one can be very tricky for a beginner. You can start with inexpensive and common ones like those of the Renshaw brand. You can also change the colour of white sugarpaste/fondant by applying food colouring using Gels, pastes or airbrush. I will recommend using gels or pastes for food colouring.

There are a few processes involved in covering a cake with sugarpaste/ fondant and once carefully followed, you will achieve a good and perfect covering. You can read on the step-by-step process of covering a cake with fondant in my next blog.

  • Decorating a cake – This is the fun part and the time to bring out the creativity in you. There are so many simple tools like plunger cutters, modelling tools and nozzle tips like no. 2D or 1M when using buttercream . I will recommend exploring and experimenting with different designs using tools like plunger cutters (butterfly, daisy and stars ). Using buttercream is also another way of decorating a cake, you can achieve a simple design with a palette knife or tablespoon to make a free style design on your cake. 

In all the processes or stages mentioned above, you may make mistakes. I will tell you that it is very good to make mistakes because it will help you to improve more on your cake decorating skills. Consequently, many cake designs seen in the cake industry are achieved as a result of mistakes some cake artists made and now turned into trending cake designs. I hope you find all this information useful and keep practicing different designs. 

Happy cake decorating……

List of Essential Baking Tools and Equipment (and Uses).

Everyone loves cake and baking can fun when you have the right tools and equipment to use. Here are list of essential tools and equipment you will need in order to start and enjoy baking in your house.

  • Measuring Tools: Spoons, Bowls and Cups or Jugs. Measurement is very important in baking and using the right tools . The cups or jugs are use to measure liquid like milk and water to be added to your recipe. Measuring spoons can be in metals or plastics and they are also used to measure either liquid or dry ingredients. Ensure you check the whole set of your measuring spoons and cups before baking. Mixing bowls is important to pour, mix your dry and wet ingredients but all ingredients must be weighted separately before combining together.
  • Scale: A simple scale is recommended to weight your baking ingredient like flour, sugar , nuts and other recipe.
  • Baking Pans: Cake tins are available in different sizes and shapes, I will recommend you start with a small cake tin (round 6 or 8 inches).
  • Sifter: It is very important to have a sifter. I will strongly encourage you to sift all your dry ingredient like flour, sugar, cocoa powder and also wet ingredient before baking to remove lumps.
  • Parchment paper : Parchment paper can be use for different things for example to line your cake tins to prevent fruit cake sticking, for making piping bags, storing baked cookies or fruit cake , can be use as templates and many more things.
  • Palette Knife: They are available in different sizes and shapes. Palette knife is use to spread buttercream onto and round cake. It can also be use to spread jam fillings.
  • Plastic Spatula: It is use for smoothing and mixing out your batter in the mixing bowl. It is also use for mixing your icing especially when applying food colouring or buttercream.
  • Whisk:They are available in different shapes and sizes, Balloon and Narrower whisks. A balloon whisk is best used when mixing a lot of batter while the narrower whisk is used when making curds in pots.
  • Hand Mixer: You can start small by using hand mixer before purchasing an expensive stand up mixer. Once you start making cakes or cupcakes more frequently then you can invest in one.
  • Non – Stick Rolling Pin: They are available in different sizes. I will highly recommend you to get the non-stick rolling pin. It is use to roll out sugar paste to cover your cake and decorate cakes.
  • Small, Sharp non- serrated knife and Bread Knife: It is use to trim off excess sugar paste while covering your cake. You can set aside a bread knife for cakes. The bread knife is also use to trim off the burnt part of your cake and to level cake before filling with buttercream.

How To Make Edible Glue

Instruction on how to make edible glue with Tylose powder.

  • Put 1/4 teaspoon of tylose powder in a small bowl
  • Then add 50ml of warm water into the the small bowl and stir with fork break up the tylose powder lumps.
  • Cover and put the mixture in the fridge overnight
  • You find a clear thick glue ready to be used .
  • If find too thick or require thinner, you can add water and mix in well.
  • You buy your Tylose powder 50g (£3.55) from our online shop


Tylose powder is an important ingredient in cake decoration and is used to make different things like modelling paste, flowerpaste and also an edible glue. It is also referred to as CMC Powder or Super Gum and CMC Gum, and the technical name Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose Gum. it is available in 25g, 50g, 80g & 120g. Tylose powder 50g (£3.55) is available from our online shop

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