Cake and Cupcakes: Decorating as an Amateur

Do you plan terrific themed parties for your children, friends, or other family, and include a cake or cupcakes from the nearest grocery store? Is it because you just don’t think you have what it takes to make a great cake? Of course you do! I’m going to show you that you CAN do it and save a chunk of change at the same time!

burger cookout cupcakes

Cupcakes layered with brownie circles and green and yellow frosting.

*Note: I do not have shelves full of special cake decorating equipment!  For a prime example, here is what I have:

(1) cheap decorator that I fill, then squeeze hard with my thumbs to produce the frosting. It’s a pain in the … thumbs, but it has multiple tips.

(1) other decorator – a gift from someone who collects things more than uses them. It is easier and more thorough in getting all the frosting out, but only has one tip.

Equipment needs to make memorable cake and cupcakes:

  • cake pans – I most often use 2 round pans, and sometimes a set for the classic 3-tiered look. You can make one pan work too!
  • 1 cupcake pan of regular openings (2 pans for speed)
  • 1 inexpensive decorator with tips

Non-equipment needs:

  • terrific cake recipe
  • terrific frosting recipe

My go-tos are homemade buttercream frosting and a doctored-up cake mix recipe a friend told me about years ago (thanks Erin!).

For actual lessons on super impressive decorating, instead of just hoping against a Pinterest fail, learn cake decorating from your own kitchen! You can spend a year becoming a master, or sign up for one intense month of learning at a time.

That’s a “maybe one day” for me. It looks super exciting and I’d love to, but I don’t feel like devoting the time to it right now. So, I just wing it! Here is the solid evidence you need to see that you can do it too.     Someone couldn’t wait to party!

birthday cake yummy pink fail

          Frosting solves *almost* everything!

pink rose flower birthday cake

That’s right. One lucky attendee had an AWESOME piece of frosting with a little cake to decorate it! Here is my super unprofessional way to create flowers: put a tip on a decorator that looks like a star. 4, 5, or 6 points – it will all work. Push the frosting through the tip as you move from your starting point in small circles. The ‘flower’ is complete when it is as big as you want.

Air bubbles in the frosting making a SPLAT instead of nice lines? Go over it again with more frosting.

Frosting not the right color? Fix the frosting or get more, scrape the incorrect stuff without gouging the cake too much, and go over it again with more frosting.

Uneven cake? More frosting.

Husband likes lots of frosting? MORE FROSTING.

See? 🙂

Just channel your inner artist and have a blast! If you’re alread a cake creating extraordinaire and want to live your passion, check out this site on how to make a business out of it!

Feel free to share your awesome cakes, Pinterest favs, or total fails!

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