Cake and Cupcake tutorials


Cake Decorating 101


Step 1: Level your cake layers

  1. After baking, the cake will have a little hump on top that we are going to remove. First let cool completely to room temperature. You can even refrigerate it for a few hours to overnight if you plan to do this another day.
  2. Put cake flat on cutting board and adjust cake leveler so the blade hits the cake right before the top mound-ish part of the cake starts.
  3. Slice the cake in a back-and-forth sawing motion from one side of the cake to the other until you’ve removed the dome cap of the cake. Keep one hand on the top of the cake as you slice to stabilize the cake (get the most even slicing)
  4. Here is a youtube video on how to level a cake.

Step 2: Stacking the cake layers

  1. Put one leveled cake layer on your cake board. Make sure the un-cut side of the cake faces the board.
  2. Place this layer plus the cake board onto your cake turn-table.
  3. Put icing on top of the exposed cut surface of cake.
  4. Add additional cake layer. For a two layer cake, this is the last layer. Make sure you have the bottom of the cake that faced the bottom of the cake, flipped onto the top. In other words, you want the sliced edge of one cake to touch teh sliced edge of the other cake. This way the uncut flat bottom is the top of your cake.
  5. If you have a three-layer cake, it does not matter how you insert the middle layer. Make sure the third layer is inserted so tha the bottom of the cake (the part touching the cake pan) is the top of your cake. Put icing in between each layer of cake
  6. Here is a youtube video on how to layer the cake. Go to 3:14 for when the video starts layering the cake.

Step 3: Frost your cake

Maple walnut cake with chocolate ganache

  1. First start with a crumb coat. This means you are just putting a thin layer of icing on your cake to seal in the crumbs. Once you crumb coat it (should take no more than 5 minutes) refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes so the crumbs are sealed in the cold frosting.
  2. Now we begin the real frosting. Start with a big dollop of frosting on the top of the cake.
  3. Turing the cake turn table, spread the icing to cover the top of the cake using an off-set spatula.
  4. Add a dollop of icing to the side of the cake. With a large straight spatula (the metal part must be taller than your cake!), spread the icing along the side of the cake as you turn the turn table. When spreading, keep the blade at a 45 degree angle to the cake side.
  5. Put cake into the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes for crumb coat to set.
  6. Pull cake out of fridge, and repeat steps 2-3 until your cake has been iced with a few layers of icing.
  7. Here is a great video from Sweetapolita on how to frost a cake.
  8. Here is a tutorial on how to frost an Ombre cake, but has much of the same ideas as frosting a regular cake:Easy Step-by-Step tutorial for frosting an ombre cake

Optional: Writing on a Cake


  1. Fill a pastry bag with a small writing tip (Wilton round tip size 3 is good). Writing tips are smaller and use a plastic tip coupler set.
  2. Drop tip coupler neck into the icing bag and cut the tip of the bag so the coupler tip is exposed and the cut bag opening is squeezed tight around it.
  3. Put icing tip on outside the bag. Add plastic tip holder around tip.
  4. Add the icing you plan to use (you can change the colors with food coloring!) to the inside of the icing bag, and twist the top of the bag. Push icing to the front.
  5. Do a practice letter on a paper towel to make sure there are no air bubbles at the tip of the icing bag. Proceed to write on your cake!

Optional: Making a cake border

mocha-expresso-cake-side view

    1. Fill an icing tip with the tip size you desire. The 1M (star tip) and 4B (also a star tip) tip work great for this purpose. For a round border, the  1A tip is a good choice.
    2. Add icing to the tip.
    3. Here is a great video from Sweetapolita on how to make a border.

For a shell border, press at the base of the cake, and make a “N” with your hand to create the first shell. Release pressure on the piping bag, and make another “N” where the last shell ended. Repeat until you covered the entire cake. This creates a nested border.

Cupcake Decorating 101


Step 1: Make the perfect-size cupcake

  1. Line cupcake pan with liners. Don’t bend them.
  2. Put about 1.5 – 2  tablespoons of cupcake batter in each cupcake liner. Too much and the cupcake will rise up to look round like a muffin. Never fill a liner completely full. Stop at 1/2  way up, or 3/4 of the way up at most.
  3. Bake while checking with a toothpick ~ the cupcake is done when the toothpick comes out without crumbs on it (usually 10 – 15 minutes if you are baking at 350)

Step 2: Frosting the Cupcake

Creamy Frappuccino Cupcakes - Vegan and Delicious!

  1. Snip the bottom of an icing bag so your large tip can fit through it snuggly
  2. Popular tips for cupcakes are: 1M, 4B, 1A 
  3. Add frosting to the gag, and squeeze to fill the tip. Twist the bag closed. Holding the bag at 45 degrees from the cupcake, squeeze the icing onto the cupcake, rotating your arms around the cupcake as you make the swirl of the frosting.
  4. Start close to the outside edge of the cupcake, but just within it so the icing won’t slide off.
  5. Frost from outer rim to inside of the cupcake, pressing down at the end with a burst of pressure before lifting up.
  6. If you want a tall frosting, first squeeze a round ball of frosting in the center of the cupcake to create the “stand” on which you squeeze the rest of the frosting around.

Optional: Filling a Cupcake

Vegan raspberry cupcake with surprise jelly filling |

  1. Remove some cake from the center of your baked cupcake. You can use a cupcake corer for this processcupcakes-without-center-650px
  2. Pipe in the desired fillingfilled-raspberry-cupcakes-650px
  3. Frost the cupcake as you normally wouldVegan raspberry cupcake with surprise jelly filling |

Making a deconstructed cupcake

  1. Slice the top off your cupcake
  2. Frost the sliced stump of the cupcake with a ring of frosting
  3. Put the cupcake cap you sliced off back on the icing
  4. Ice the top of the cupcake and decorate as you normally would

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