Learn how to make easy pencil cake (back to school cake). All you need is vanilla pound cake and different colors of buttercream icing. No fancy tools needed!
School will be starting here soon and what better way to make your kids first day special than with cake? I cut a vanilla pound cake into the shape of a pencil. Then I used different colors of frosting and the star tip to decorate all the details. Also, if you want to make an end of the school year cake, consider making this Graduation Hat Cake.
How to make pencil cake from scratch?
- Bake cakes– Pound cakes were the best choice because they are firm and easy to carve/cut.
- Let them cool- Until room temperature.
- Make icing- American buttercream frosting was the classic choice.
- Cut cakes- Into triangle and rectangle shapes.
- Arrange them- In the shape of a pencil.
- Decorate- With colored buttercream icing.
Variations for back to school cake
Decorate with fondant- The same design can be done with Homemade Marshmallow Fondant.
Make mini cakes- Cut out smaller cakes to maki mini versions. The same decorating instructions apply.
Tips and techniques
Use pound cake- Because it is firm, making it easy to cut and carve into the correct shapes without crumbs ending up everywhere.
Don’t decorate warm cakes- Because the heat will cause the icing to melt and become sticky.
Use gel colors for tinting buttercream- Because they are thicker and more concentrated that liquid food coloring and won't affect the consistency of the icing.
Buy black icing- It takes quite a few days for this color to develop into a deep black shade. Buying it is convenient and a time-saver.
Practice first- Before you start piping on the cake, practice on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper first because this will allow you to get used to holding the piping bag and figure out how much pressure to apply. It allows you to get the hang of piping.
Room temperature- Once the cake is ready, store it at room temperature away from humidity, moisture, sunlight for up to 24 hours as long as there are no perishable fillings.
Refrigerate- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Decorated cake also can be stored in a cake box for 2-3 days.
Freeze- Unfrosted cakes and frostings can be stored separately in a sealed containers for up to 1 month. When you are ready to enjoy this dessert, let them thaw in the fridge overnight and then, decorate as per instructions below.
Make ahead instructions- This cake can be baked and decorated 1 day in advance and stored at room temperature or refrigerated.
More decorated cake (birthday cakes)
- Star Wars Cake (Death Star Cake)
- Easy Monster Cake
- Galaxy Cake
- Tie Dye Cake
- Cake Ball Cake
- Easy Sushi Cake
Easy Pencil Cake (Back to School Cake)
- Bake cakes and allow them to cool completely.
- Using a sharp knife, cut one big rectangle piece, one small rectangle piece and one triangle piece.
- Arrange the pieces into the pencil shape, as shown in the collage image above.
- Frost the entire cake in white buttercream icing.
- Use a knife to make marks.
- Fill a piping bag with yellow icing and attach Tip#21. Pipe a yellow shell design in the middle portion of the cake.
- Fill a piping bag with pink icing and attach Tip#21. Pipe a pink shell design at the back portion of the pencil cake.
- Fill a piping bag with black icing and attach Tip#4. Fill the top pencil tip and the small rectangular strip with black icing.
- Fill a piping bag with light brown icing and attach Tip#21. Pipe a brown shell design near the top of the cake. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.