5 Simple Ways to Design Cakes Without Using Tools

Five simple cake decorating techniques for those who don’t have cake decorating tools. These cakes are adorned using simply what you have on hand.

I’m a little fascinated with caking tools. Most individuals, I’m sure, don’t have an armory of cake decorating equipment in their kitchen like I have. Even if you do, there are times when you simply want to work with what you have on hand.

Therefore I’ve come up with some simple cake decorating ideas that you may use even if you don’t have any equipment.

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Supplies You’ll Need:

  • A baked layer cake (You can find a super delicious vanilla cake here and a really good chocolate cake here.)
  • Frosting (I used my favorite vanilla bean buttercream. You can find the recipe here.)
  • Large knife (you can use the straight, back side of a large knife to smooth the icing if you don’t have an icing spatula)
  • Gallon size freezer bags (you can use quart size, you’ll just have to refill it with icing more often.) Also, you really need to use ‘freezer bags’ and not the regular bags. Those are just not tough enough and you’ll end up with an icing blowout. Take my word for it 😉
  • Sprinkles (If you don’t have them, don’t panic. Another option is cookie crumbs)
  • Food Coloring (If you don’t have this either, it’s okay. All of these cakes will still look great)
  • A teaspoon
  • A cookie cutter
  • Vacuum cleaner (because sprinkles be goin’ crazy)

The vanilla bakery-style cake:

This one seems to be the simplest and shortest of the five. You may tint your buttercream with food coloring or leave it white, like I did.

The first thing to do is ice your cake. If you don’t have an icing spatula, you may smooth the buttercream with the back, straight edge of a big knife and then wipe off the bottom of your cake plate with a paper towel.

Fill a freezer bag halfway with your frosting. Twist the bag and push the frosting into one corner. Snip a corner off your freezer bag.

Squeeze out some icing and make sure you’ve cut enough of the freezer bag off.

Squeeze out little dots along the cake’s bottom border.

Make swirls around the top border.

Finish with some sprinkles and you’re done!

The pleated cake:

You should begin with your iced cake for this dessert. Score vertical lines all around with a very clean ruler or long knife to create a piping guide.

Fill your ziplock freezer bag with the ingredients and snip off the corner as we did for the bakery style cake above.

Make sure the top seam of your ziplock is up and the bottom seam is down before you begin piping your zigzags. You don’t want them to be flat (horizontal to the cake).

Just pipe zigzags all the way up between each line you scored. You’re just shifting your piping bag from left to right.

Continue until you reach the top of the cake.

Next, for the border, pipe little dots around the top edge of your cake.

You may then decorate the top with sprinkles or candles. Mine was kept basic.

The Ruffle Cake:

Begin with the decorated cake. It does not have to be beautiful. Ruffles would be used to conceal it.

Fill your ziplock freezer bag halfway with frosting and cut off one corner. Make sure the freezer bag seams are at the top and bottom before you begin piping. Each ruffles will be pipingd by you. Each ruffle is shaped like a closed U.

Pipe one, then move to the right to pipe the next. Begin from the bottom and work your way around the base. Then you’ll go on to the row above that.

Pipe your U right over the one below it, overlapping slightly such that the bottom of the U covers the pointy portion of the ruffle under it. It’s not going to look nice at this stage, but keep going.

After you’ve ruffled all the way around the cake, pipe some dots around the top. I also topped it with white and transparent sprinkles.

The Textured Watercolor Cake:

I like this one since it’s difficult to goof up. You may use whatever colors you want, and because of the texture we create on the cake, you don’t have to worry about keeping your buttercream smooth, and there’s no piping required.

To begin, combine four distinct colors of frosting. One of the colors will be your foundation coat, so create enough for the whole cake.

Remember that this will be the dominating color you perceive.

Now frost your cake with that base color. At this stage, don’t even bother trying to make the frosting seem attractive.

You want to use a lot since some will be removed throughout the smoothing and texturing process, and you don’t want your cake to show through.

Don’t allow the base layer crust overcook, and don’t put it in the refrigerator right now. During the following phase, this layer must remain smooth and workable.

Now, simply slop the other colors you blended into the cake in random patterns. Don’t forget about the top. At this point, it will not be pretty. Don’t be alarmed.

Smooth over the edges and top with an icing spatula or a big knife. You don’t have to worry about having it perfectly smooth. In the following phase, we’ll be texturing it.

Take a teaspoon, ideally one with a sharp tip. Drag the spoon tip around the cake (the back of the spoon should be towards the cake).

Begin at the bottom, work your way around, and when you get back to where you began, tilt it up and continuing going around.

If you don’t wipe the spoon down regularly, the buttercream will pile up and create huge clumps.

Swirl the end of the spoon around the top of the cake. When you’ve textured the cake, go back over some of the locations where the frosting clumped up and texture those areas until you’re satisfied with the results.

It will end up looking like this:

The Sprinkle Cake:

In this one, I used chocolate buttercream, but you may use whatever color you choose. You’ll need a cookie cutter in any form you like. Someone’s initials would be adorable, in my opinion.

To begin, ice your cake.

Here is when things become extremely nasty. Fill a basin halfway with sprinkles. Take a handful of sprinkles and gently press them into the cake’s foundation. Just create a random pattern. Sprinkles will splatter everywhere.

For this one, I stood over the sink, holding the cake with one hand and gathering sprinkles with the other.

After adding the sprinkles, wipe the cake board with a pastry brush or paper towel.

Place a cookie cutter on the top of your cake where you want your design to be. I placed sprinkles into my cutter using a teaspoon and softly wiped them down with the back of my spoon.

Lift the cookie cutter straight up and away from the cake. There may be a few stray sprinkles, but you can brush them away with a pastry brush or dab a little buttercream on the end of a spoon and lightly contact the sprinkles; they will cling to the spoon.

Put some buttercream in a freezer bag, snip a corner, and pipe big dollops across the top of the cake.

Hold the piping bag straight over the top of the cake, not touching it. Squeeze the bag to allow the dollop to form, then release the bag and pick it up.

You may either pipe a pearl border or keep it simple. I enjoy the buttercream dollops because, well, what’s wrong with a little more frosting on your cake?

That’s all there is to it! Five methods to adorn a cake with no cake decorating equipment. There are several possibilities available here. You may combine methods from any of these to make your own variants. Have a good time!

  • How to Store a Cake
  • Common Cake Decorating Terms and What They Mean
  • Favorite Cake Books

Remember to Pin it for Later!


How can I decorate a cake at home without tools?

You don’t need a sophisticated pastry or piping bag to make amazing frosting patterns using a ziplock bag. Fill a ziplock bag halfway with icing and snip a corner off for simple cake decorating.

What are the 5 kinds of cake decorating?

Spatula Icing is one of the 7 Cake Decorating Techniques Every Pastry Chef Should Know. … Piping…. Fondant Work…. Hand Painting…. Sugar Work…. Airbrushing…. Mirror Glaze. Just as a room needs a decent coat of paint before its décor can shine, the first step to a beautiful cake is a perfect layer of icing.
Feb 7, 2022

What can I use if I don’t have a cake scraper?

If you don’t have an icing spatula, you may smooth the buttercream with the back, straight edge of a big knife and then wipe off the bottom of your cake plate with a paper towel.

How do you decorate a cake without making a mess?

A chilled cake crumbles less and makes getting a nice finish on your frosting much simpler. Place a tiny layer of baking paper below the cake to prevent making a mess on your plate when frosting. After you’re through icing, carefully remove the paper away from the plate to create a drip-free plate.

How do you make a simple cake look fancy?

or cake sides with nuts, pretzels, chocolates, etc.
Decorate your cake with beautiful flowers.
If you’re making a chocolate or caramel cake, add some fancy salt.
Decorate your cake with a charming design of cookies.
More…•March 8, 2018
Ideas for Cake Decorating
Sprinkle some sprinkles on top and on the sides.
Purchase this cake topper.
border the bottom section and

How do you decorate a cake with a spoon?

Slide the backside of your spoon over the surface of the cake, back and forth, to produce a zig-zag pattern in a straight line. You may vary this one by producing narrower or broader zig-zags, or by making different-sized lanes with a bigger or smaller spoon.

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