Easy Cake Decorations: Chocolate Drizzle, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Web Designs and More

If you’re like me, you’ve got no problem whipping up a cake from a box mix or from dry ingredients in your pantry. But once you’ve got the thing baked, the only thing you can think to do with it is frost it neatly and slice it for your family. Why should we be forced to settle for boring cakes? In this article, we’ll discover five simple ways to dress up a boring cake, making it the centerpiece of your next special occasion.

To make explanation easier, all of the following ideas will presuppose that you’ve made a 2-layer round cake. If you’re really trying to make an evening special, resist your urge to make a sheet cake! Round cakes always make a more elegant presentation, and are well worth the extra effort. So, what can you do to make your cake really special?

Buy a frosting comb
Frosting combs are interesting plastic cards with teeth of varying designs on the edges. You simply drag a frosting comb across the surface of your frosted cake, and easily create interesting designs and patterns, with very little effort. Can’t find a frosting comb? Try looking at your nearest large craft store. Still can’t find one? If you’re willing to spend the time, you can use the tines of a fork to make designs in your icing, or can simply purchase an ordinary hair comb from the drugstore. Just remember to mark the comb in some way, so that your family members know it’s only intended for use on cakes!

Try decorating with dried fruits and nuts
They’re a healthy alternative to candies and icing, and fruit and nut decorations can be easy to assemble and look very elegant. Try using long, flat almond slices to make flowers, and drop a dried cranberry or white chocolate chip in the center. Use walnuts to make a border with excellent texture, or press chopped nuts into the sides of your cake to make a sort of crust.

Get elegant with a smooth chocolate drizzle
If you’ve made a flavor of cake that will go well with chocolate, then give this a try! Simply melt down some white, dark, or milk chocolate chips in a bowl over a pan of hot water (or in the microwave) and use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the entire cake. The dribbles will look elegant and gorgeous, even if you don’t have a very steady hand, so don’t worry about precision! To make a cool chocolate border, use your spoon to carefully drip chocolate right on the top edge of your cake. The chocolate will cascade down the sides of your cake in pleasing, random drips, and will look absolutely delectable!
Try using butterscotch chips instead for an interesting variation!

Get fancy with a pulled ‘Web’ design
To make those fancy webbed designs you see on store-bought cakes, simply get a thin, liquid icing (the gel icings work well) in a color that contrasts with the frosting color of your overall cake. Use the icing to draw concentric circles radiating out from the center of your cake, like a bull’s-eye. You then want to get a toothpick and gently press it into the very middle of the cake, and drag it very smoothly to the outside edge, pulling the icing in a straight line. Work all the way around your cake making the same move, keeping the lines you make about an inch apart at the outer edge. Then, to make it really fancy, do the same move again, only backwards, starting at your cake’s outer edge and working inward, making these new lines evenly spaced between the ones you’ve already made.
Make a mistake? Using a knife, swirl the icing all together, to create a marbled design that will look intentional.

Use icing in all the right places
Everyone loves those thick tubes of brightly colored icing that come from the grocery store, but it can be difficult to make thick icing look classy, and to know when you’ve used too much! I would recommend using the star tip that comes with your tube, and practice making stars on a piece of waxed paper until you’re really comfortable with it. Then you can make a neat border of stars around the top and bottom edges of your cake! Borders like this are easy to do, and they’ll look very professional if done neatly. For a child’s party, finishing this type of cake with rainbow sprinkles and some candles will make a delightful presentation that you’ll be proud to say you made yourself!