This is a collection of lots of easy cake decorating ideas for beginners. These simple cakes are made with no fancy tools and require very little time.
I have made a lot of easy cakes over the years and I finally went through my blog archives and put together this collection of homemade simple DIY cake ideas that you (my readers) have been requesting. You don't need any fancy tools. Many of these quick and easy cakes can be completed in 30 minutes and perfect for beginners who have never even made a fancy cake in their life. There are ideas here for kids birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, St.Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter, baby showers, gender reveal events, weddings, anniversaries, graduations. Most of them are decorated with items that you can easily find at your grocery store (buttercream icing, fondant, fruits, candy, chocolate, sprinkles, cookies).
Table of contents
- How to decorate cake?
- How do you decorate a cake with fresh flowers?
- Essential cake decorating supplies
- Fresh Fruits
- Toppers and Toys
- Edible markers
- Kit Kats
- Buttercream Icing
- Chocolate (Dark, Semisweet, Milk, White)
- Nuts and Coconut
- Brownies and Bars
- Pretzel Balls and Truffles
- Peppermint/ Candy canes
- Wafer paper
- Marshmallow Pops
- Fresh flowers
- Ice cream cone
- Cake Balls
How to decorate cake?
- Icing (buttercream frosting)
- Different tips (star tip, leaf tip, circle tip are the most popular)
- Fresh flowers
- Fresh fruits
- Edible sprays
- Edible markers
- Icing comb
How do you decorate a cake with fresh flowers?
- Make sure to use flowers that are safe and edible and not exposed to any pesticides.
- Roses, lavender and pansies are safe edible flowers and very popular on wedding cakes.
- Avoid flowers that have a very strong fragrance because that can transfer over to the cake too.
- Wash flowers in cold water and pat them dry.
- Cut the stalks so they are about 3 inches long.
- Insert plastic straws in the cake in which you will insert the stalks. Use bubble tea straws to insert thicker stalks. This also prevents the stem from weeping into the cake.
- You can also use an elastic band to hold a few stalks together to create a very full flower and use those to decorate some parts of the cake as well.
Essential cake decorating supplies
- Cake pans
- Gel food coloring
- Rolling pin
- Sharp knife or blades
- Pizza cutter
- Turntable or Lazy Susan
- Cake boards
- Powdered sugar
- Parchment paper or wax paper
- Fondant smoothers
- Corn syrup
This is my favorite way to decorate cakes. The variety of candy shapes, sizes and colors available in the market these days is unbelievable. That allows my creativity to run wild. Use Twizzlers and Rolo candies to make this Easy Rainbow Cake. You can even use blue, yellow and pink cotton candies. Heat candy canes in the oven to create abstract colorful shards and stick them on an iced cake. I used those as cupcake toppers too on these Easy Gingerbread Cupcakes (With Cake Mix). Use black edible markers to draw smiley faces on m&m candies and stick those on cakes for fun. You can even make this Easy Candy Cake (With Halloween Leftovers). You can even use seasonal candies like those little pumpkins to decorate Easy Pumpkin Cake (With Cake Mix). My son's favorite cake ever was this Best Birthday Cake where it was overloaded with all of his favorite candy bars like Twix, Mars, lollipops, jelly beans and gummies.
Never underestimate the power of fresh fruits, especially berries like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries. You can even spray paint them with edible gold or silver spray to give them a nice shimmer, as can be seen in this Raspberry Mousse Cake. You can also make the fruits glossy by brushing in a simple sugar syrup or even corn syrup like I did in this Moist Lemon Cake (With Lemon Curd). Just remember when you are using fresh fruits, they should be washed and patted dry. You can even chop up strawberries and use them for a pop of color like I did in this Pink Velvet Cake. Another option is to use pie fillings where the fruits are cooked to create a thick consistency. I used this concept on this Chocolate Raspberry Cake and this Easy Black Forest Cake (With Cake Mix).
Toppers and Toys
If you want edible toppers, you can make them yourself out of fondant or gum paste. Another option is to buy them online. You can also custom order them to match the theme and colors of your party. If you want sugar toppers, especially flowers, you can make them yourself. Check out this tutorial on How to Make Royal Icing Flowers (Sugar Flowers). These are also available online these days. Some non-edible topper options are small kids toys like the dinosaurs I used in this Easy Dinosaur Cake (Dino Cake) and this Erupting Volcano Cake (With Dry Ice). I also decided to use small toy trucks in this Easy Construction Cake (Excavator Cake). There are also plastic and paper toppers available online to match any party theme nowadays. I used a thick cardstock paper grinch topper in this Easy Grinch Cake. You can even use faux plastic fruits and vegetables. Make sure to wash them first with soap and water before placing them on the cake. You can see this idea in action with this Easy Rustic Cake (Tiered Fall Cake).
You can use store-bought fondant or make my Homemade Marshmallow Fondant Recipe. This is made with just marshmallows, powdered sugar, extract of your choice and water. It tastes and smells unbelievable. You can color it with gel food coloring. Check out this post on How to Color Fondant for more details. You can use cutters and molds to create any shapes and designs you like. You also also use edible sprays, airbrushing, edible luster dust or petal dust to create shading effects on fondant covered cakes, similar to what I did in this Autumn Cake (Fall Cake). Another cool technique is marbling. Check out this tutorial on How to Marble Fondant. Take it a step further and learn How to Use Stencils (For Cake Decorating). You can even use it to make edible figures. Here are some fondant decorated cake ideas: Easy New Year Cake (Clock Cake), Love Letter Cake (Mini), Easy Snowman Cake, Easy Eyeball Cake, Easy 4th of July Cake (Tiered Cake), Peacock Cake and this Easy Karate Cake (Black Belt Cake).
I love using edible markers on fondant. You can use fine tip ones to draw fine details and outlines and use the regular wide tip ones to fill color in your drawings. You can see these markers being used in this Easy Love Cake and Bumblebee Cake (Spring Cake).
If you can't ice your cake smoothly, then this is the best option for you. You can have as many crumbs as you like and it would still look pretty because all the imperfections will be masked by Kit Kat Bars wrapped around the messy frosting. Try this Easy Treasure Chest Cake (With Kit Kat) or Easy Kit Kat Cake (With Strawberries) or Summer Cake (Beach) or this Easy Pig Cake.
With the flavors, designs and colors of cookies available these days, you can create some of the coolest cake designs ever. I used crushed and whole graham crackers in this Easy Camping Cake. Use chocolate chip cookies in this Easy Teddy Bear Cake. You can even make a no bake tiered cookie tower, using a variety of Oreo flavors in this Cookies and Cream Cake. This Chocolate Oreo Cake is decorated with roughly chopped Oreos. You can even cover an entire iced cake in fine Oreo cookie crumbs and top it off with swirls of whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Similarly, you can use fine graham cracker crumbs to cover a frosted cake like I did in this Chocolate Tree Cake (Fall or Thanksgiving). Another cool idea is to use decorated cookies as cake toppers. I made Easy Monster Cookies (Candy Corn Cookies) and used them to decorate a spooky cake. I have also used open-faced Oreos to create eyeballs in this Easy Owl Cake and I even used them to make spiders in this Easy Spider Cake (Spiderweb Cake).
Frosting is just as popular fondant when it comes to cake designs. You can pipe a stack of ribbons, as can be seen in this Buttercream Ruffle Cake or you can make Buttercream Flowers (With Russian Piping Tips). Consider making a breathtaking Pink Ombre Cake with the big star tip. Use a smaller star tip to make a Rosette Cake. Additionally, use a spatula and round tip to do the petal effect. I have even done this technique with the French tip. It creates an almost fish scale effect. Finally, consider using a small round tip to pipe beads or use a large round tip to make little "poofy" clouds.
There are so many colors and shapes to choose from plus you can mix varieties yourself and create a custom blend. This is an excellent way to add a pop of color. When choosing the correct sprinkles, make sure to match it to the theme and colors of your cake. I used a blend of black, sky blue, silver silver star sprinkles in this Easy Galaxy Cake (Buttercream Icing). This Funfetti Cake (Confetti Cake) has a double dose of sprinkles- in the batter and in the decoration as well. I used pink and white jimmies in this Easy Pink Champagne Cake (With Strawberry). Another option is to ice the cake and then cover it entirely in rainbow sprinkles, as can be seen in the following Rainbow Sprinkle Cake.
Have you seen the variety of marshmallows in the market these days? It's unbelievable. I used mini white marshmallows to create "fur" in this Lamb Cake. Then, there is this Best Red Velvet Cake (From Scratch) and Chocolate Marshmallow Cake (Heart Cake) which are both decorated with pink marshmallows. During Easter, you will see marshmallow Peeps. They are so cute and look like yellow bunnies. I used them as toppers in this Peeps Cake.
Chocolate (Dark, Semisweet, Milk, White)
Chocolate can be used in so many different ways in cake design. Cover the tops and sides of a frosted cake in different shades of chocolate chips like I did in this Chocolate Coffee Cake. You can also make or buy chocolate decorations. I made orange chocolate loops for this Mango Cake or you can also make Chocolate Leaves (With Mint). There are also so many candy molds these days. Fill them with melted chocolate and use them for decoration like I did in this Easy Beach Cake. If you have leftover chocolate barks from the holidays, make this stunning Chocolate Bark Cake. Use store-bought chocolate bars and truffles and gourmet candies as an overloaded cake topper, as can be seen in this No Bake Coffee Cheesecake and this Chocolate Brownie Cake.
Nuts and Coconut
Sprinkle chopped pistachios in this Easy Spice Cake (Chai Cake). The pretty pale green color really gives it a pop. In this Easy Christmas Cranberry Cake, I decided to cover it entirely in finely shredded coconut and topped off with candied nuts, fresh cranberries and edible silver pearls. Learn How to Make Candied Nuts (Glazed Nuts), if you have never made them before. You can also decorate with Candied Orange Peel and Slices. Instead of fresh cranberries, use these Easy Sugared Cranberries (Candied Cranberries) which are so sparkly. Keep things simple and classy. Simply sprinkle chopped walnuts along the base of the cake as well as around the top edges. You can see that in this Chocolate Caramel Cake.
Brownies and Bars
Pretzel Balls and Truffles
PRETZEL RODS, peanut butter energy balls and chocolate pieces were used to decorate this elegant and brown cake.
Peppermint/ Candy canes
How to Make Box Cake Better (Taste Homemade)- Use broken and crushed candy canes to make this stylish Christmas cake or even Valentine's Day cake.
Wafer Paper Flowers- You can cut this edible paper in any shape you like with scissors and even color it with edible lustre dust.
How to Make Gold Cake (With Edible Spray)- Store bought halva (which is already pre-cut in diamond shapes) and gold edible spray was used to decorate this Oscar party cake.
Easy Cake Tower- Stack cake slices in this whimsical way and you will end up with a gorgeous tower that you can decorate with fondant ribbon roses.
How to Make Naked Cake- Using fresh flowers to decorate cakes is classic and timeless.
Ice cream cone
Something even as simple as popcorn can be used to make beautiful cakes. In this Chocolate Popcorn Cake, I ran the spatula diagonally around the frosted cake. Finally, I topped it off with chocolate ganache drips and popcorn that was colored yellow and red with edible spray. You can use Homemade Caramel Corn (Caramel Popcorn) instead, if you like.
Walking down the cereal aisle in the market is so much fun. There are so many shapes and colors and my mind starts going wild with ideas. This Easy Cereal Cake is decorated with Trix flowers. You can also just stick those tiny cereal balls all over the cake in a diagonal pattern of individual colors. The honeycomb cereal is great for bee themed cakes.
If you have learned How to Make Cake Pops and Cake Balls, stick them with toothpicks around a round or square styrofoam and fill empty spaces with colored tissue paper.