Easy Cake Decorating

You want your cake to look spectacular but you don’t want to spend hours in a hot kitchen, covered in icing sugar, to achieve it. What’s the solution? Well, it really can be easy…

Fake Your Way to Professional Results

With everything you can buy in the shops these days, professional-look icing really is much easier. For real wow-factor, you can order sugar roses or handcrafted marzipan decorations – simply cover your cake in plain royal icing and decorate as you please.

Ready to Roll

Don’t be afraid to try Royal Icing. Once the preserve of the expert cake-decorator, it’s now available ready-rolled and it’s actually quite easy to apply to your cake.

  • Just melt a little jam in a small pan, and brush over the surface of your cake.
  • Lift the icing sheet onto the top of the cake and, working down from the top, smooth out any wrinkles.
  • Press the icing into the edges where the cake meets the board or plate and, using a sharp knife, trim neatly around the bottom.
  • Now your cake is ready for stick-on models, ready-made sugar flowers, or a simple ribbon and candle!

Silky-Smooth Chocolate

A very Thick Ganache, while warm, can be poured directly over a cake. This is a great shortcut to a chocolate-coated cake that everyone will “ooh” and “ahh” over.

  • Simply make a low-cream version of the classic ganache: melt 110g (4oz) milk chocolate with 1tbsp cream on a low heat, and allow to cool until it’s thickened a little to pouring consistency.
  • Place your cake onto a square of greaseproof paper to catch the drips, and pour the ganache slowly over the top, making sure you cover the sides.
  • If you want to add chopped nuts or chocolate curls – using a potato peeler and a bar of dark chocolate – now’s the time to do it.
  • Leave for at least an hour to set, and put the cake onto a clean plate.
  • Dust with icing sugar or Gold Dust.

Fun and Easy Decorating

No need to suffer alone in the kitchen – if the children are on school holidays, recruit them to decorate your cakes! Here are some ideas you can have fun with…

Marshmallow Snowmen

An army of snowmen makes a brilliantly contemporary Christmas Cake Topping!


  • 1 packet large marshmallows
  • 1 packet miniature marshmallows
  • Chocolate hundreds-and-thousands
  • Orange gummy sweets (like bears or rings)
  • Cocktail sticks
  • 1 packet Minstrels
  • Icing Sugar

How to Make Them:

  • Construct the bodies by threading one full-sized marshmallow (the body) and one half of a marshmallow (the head) onto each cocktail stick.
  • Using another cocktail stick, make tiny holes for eyes and nose, and press a single chocolate sprinkle into each eye hole.
  • Cut orange gummy-bears into pointed carrot shapes, and poke these into the nose holes.
  • Finally, attach a minstrel ‘hat’ on top of each snowman using a little icing sugar mixed with water.

Stencil Magic

Make time for a quick credit-card session on the internet and, a few days later, you’ll have everything you need for this breathtakingly professional design – and it only takes minutes to assemble!

Note: for stencils, buy at online bakery suppliers including The Cooks’ Kitchen; download templates free at Supercook; or buy a baking book (like ‘First Baking Activity Book, Dorling Kindersley) with stencils.


  • 1 pack ready-rolled royal icing
  • 1tbsp jam
  • Icing sugar, cocoa, or edible glitter (coloured, metallic, pastel or holographic – your choice)
  • Stencils (bought or printed on computer)

To Make:

  • It doesn’t get any easier than this. Once you’ve attached the rolled-out icing to your cooled cake (using melted jam to secure it), you’re ready to start.
  • Lay the stencil of your choice on the cake, and sprinkle glitter, icing sugar or cocoa into the gaps. Peel back carefully to reveal a beautiful design on your cake.

Where Next?

We’ve got dozens of easy Icing Ideas and Alternatives – explore the Decorating section to discover how to top your cakes with photographs, marshmallow icing, or sprigs from the garden.

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