How to Decorate a Store Bought Cake

Decorating a store-bought cake can be a fun and convenient way to create a stunning dessert, even for those with limited baking skills or busy schedules. With the wide variety of store-bought cake options available in the market, there is something for everyone’s taste and preference.

In this article, we will explore the art of decorating store-bought cakes, from choosing the right cake base to enhancing its presentation. Whether you are preparing for a special occasion or simply want to add a personal touch to your dessert, this guide will provide you with all the tips and techniques you need to transform a plain store-bought cake into a beautiful masterpiece.

Store-bought cakes offer numerous benefits that make them an ideal choice for decorators of all levels. The foremost advantage is their convenience – saving time and effort that would otherwise be spent on baking and cooling cakes from scratch. Additionally, they offer consistent quality and flavors that have been tried and tested by professionals. This means you can focus solely on the creative aspect of decorating without worrying about whether your homemade cake will turn out perfectly.

In the next sections, we will delve deeper into different types of store-bought cakes available in the market as well as tips on how to choose the right one for your desired decoration style. We will also discuss essential decorating supplies and demonstrate various techniques that range from basic to advanced. So if you’re ready to unleash your creativity and turn an ordinary store-bought cake into an extraordinary dessert, let’s get started.

Exploring Different Types of Store-Bought Cakes

When it comes to decorating a store-bought cake, there are various options available in the market that can cater to different tastes and preferences. From basic flavors like vanilla or chocolate to more specialized and unique options, there is a store-bought cake for everyone. This section will dive into exploring the different types of store-bought cakes and provide tips on choosing the right cake base for your desired decoration style.

1. Variety of Store-Bought Cake Options:

Store-bought cakes offer a wide range of flavors and designs to choose from. Whether you prefer a classic vanilla or chocolate cake, or want something more adventurous like red velvet or carrot cake, you can find it readily available at your local bakery or grocery store. Additionally, many stores also offer specialty cakes such as tiramisu, cheesecake, or even themed cakes for specific occasions.

When selecting a store-bought cake, consider the flavors that complement your intended decorations. For instance, if you plan to decorate with bright colors or tropical-themed elements, a lemon or coconut-flavored cake might be a suitable choice. Meanwhile, a rich chocolate cake works well with more elegant and traditional decorations.

2. Choosing the Right Cake Base:

To ensure that your chosen decorations adhere well to the store-bought cake, it’s important to consider its texture and structure. A dense pound cake or sponge cake provides a sturdy base for elaborate decorations without endangering the structural integrity of the dessert. On the other hand, lighter cakes like angel food or chiffon may require additional support when adding heavier decorations.

When in doubt about which type of store-bought cake to select for decorating purposes, opt for a classic vanilla or chocolate flavor as they tend to be versatile canvases that work well with various decorating styles.

By understanding the different types of store-bought cakes available and choosing one that suits your desired decoration style, you can embark on your cake decorating journey with confidence and creativity.

Gathering Your Decorating Supplies

When it comes to decorating a store-bought cake, having the right tools and supplies is essential. With a few simple and affordable items, you can transform an ordinary cake into a stunning centerpiece for any occasion. Here is a comprehensive list of decorating supplies you will need:

Icing Bags and Tips

The first thing you will need are icing bags and tips. These come in various sizes and shapes and are used to create different designs and textures on your cake. It’s best to have a few different tips on hand, such as round tips for piping borders or writing, star tips for creating rosettes or swirls, and leaf tips for adding foliage-like decorations.

Food Coloring

To add vibrant colors to your cake, you’ll need food coloring. Gel-based food coloring works best as it provides intense colors without altering the consistency of the icing. Remember to start with just a small amount of food coloring at first and gradually add more until you achieve your desired shade.

Sprinkles and Edible Decorations

Sprinkles and edible decorations are fantastic tools for adding texture, color, and fun elements to your store-bought cake. You can find sprinkles in various shapes, sizes, colors, and themes, allowing you to customize your cake based on the occasion or personal preference. Edible decorations like sugar flowers or pearls can also add an elegant touch.

Piping Bags

Piping bags are essential for neatly applying frosting or icing onto your cake. Disposable piping bags are convenient as they eliminate the need for cleaning up afterward. However, if you prefer reusable options, look for cloth or silicone piping bags that can be washed and used multiple times.


A turntable is not mandatory but highly recommended as it makes the cake decorating process much easier and efficient. A revolving turntable allows you to rotate the cake smoothly while applying frosting or decorating, ensuring even coverage and precise detailing.

You can find these supplies easily at local craft stores or baking supply stores. They are also widely available online, where you can often find affordable options and even starter kits that include a variety of tools. By having these essential supplies on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to decorate your store-bought cake with creativity and finesse.

Preparing the Store-Bought Cake for Decoration

When it comes to decorating a store-bought cake, proper preparation is key to achieving professional-looking results. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure that your cake is ready for the creative process of adding delicious and beautiful decorations.

1. Leveling the Cake Layers:

Store-bought cakes often come with uneven layers or a domed top. To create a more even surface for decorating, use a long serrated knife or a cake leveler to slice off any excess from the top of each layer. Place one hand on top of the cake to hold it steady while using a sawing motion with the other hand to gently cut through the cake horizontally.

2. Trimming Away Crumbs:

Next, trim away any loose crumbs from the sides and top of the cake layers using a pastry brush or a clean kitchen towel. This will prevent crumbs from mixing into your frosting and provide a cleaner base for decoration.

3. Applying a Crumb Coat:

To ensure that your final decorations look smooth and professional, it’s important to apply a crumb coat. This is a thin layer of icing that “locks in” any loose crumbs, preventing them from showing through your final frosting layer.

Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, making sure to cover every nook and cranny. Chill the crumb-coated cake in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes to allow it to set before applying your final layer of frosting.

By following these steps, you’ll have beautifully prepared store-bought cake layers that are ready to be transformed into works of art. Taking the time and care in prepping your cakes will make all the difference in achieving professional-looking results.

Supplies NeededWhere to Find
Icing bags and tipsLocal craft stores or online baking supply retailers
Food coloringGrocery stores or specialty baking stores
Sprinkles and edible decorationsCake decorating supply stores or online retailers

Basic Decorating Techniques for Store-Bought Cakes

Decorating a store-bought cake doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. With some basic decorating techniques, you can transform a plain cake into a beautiful and personalized creation. Here are some simple yet effective techniques to get you started:

  1. Smooth frosting: Start by applying a crumb coat to the cake, which is a thin layer of frosting that seals in any loose crumbs. Once the crumb coat sets, evenly frost the entire cake with a thicker layer of frosting using an offset spatula or a butter knife. To achieve a smooth finish, dip your spatula in warm water and glide it over the frosting in gentle strokes until it’s evenly spread.
  2. Piping borders: Piping borders can add an elegant touch to your cake. Fill an icing bag fitted with your desired tip (a classic round tip works well for borders) with frosting or buttercream. Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle and apply steady pressure as you pipe along the edges of the cake. Practice piping on a piece of parchment paper before moving onto your cake for better control.
  3. Creating rosettes: Rosettes are simple but beautiful decorations that can be easily created on a store-bought cake. Fill an icing bag fitted with a star tip with frosting or buttercream and hold it perpendicular to the surface of the cake. Starting from the center, squeeze and swirl the bag in a continuous motion, gradually moving outward to create rosettes around the top border of the cake.
  4. Adding edible flowers or fruits: Adding edible flowers or fruits not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds flavor to your store-bought cake. Use fresh edible flowers like pansies or marigolds, making sure they are pesticide-free and safe for consumption. You can also adorn your cake with sliced fruits such as strawberries or kiwis for added freshness and vibrancy.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out exactly as you envisioned. With a little bit of patience and creativity, you’ll soon be creating stunning decorations on your store-bought cakes that will impress both yourself and others.

  • Smooth frosting: Apply a crumb coat followed by a thicker layer of frosting using an offset spatula or butter knife.
  • Piping borders: Fill an icing bag with frosting or buttercream, choose a round tip, and pipe along the edges of the cake.
  • Creating rosettes: Use an icing bag fitted with a star tip to squeeze and swirl frosting in a continuous motion to create rosettes.
  • Adding edible flowers or fruits: Decorate your cake with fresh edible flowers or sliced fruits for an added touch of color and flavor.
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Advanced Decorating Techniques to Elevate Your Store-Bought Cake

Once you have mastered the basic decorating techniques for store-bought cakes, it’s time to take your skills to the next level with some advanced techniques. These techniques will allow you to create stunning and professional-looking designs that will impress everyone who sees your cake. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Fondant Decorations: Fondant is a versatile sugar dough that can be rolled out and used to cover your entire cake or create intricate decorations. You can use fondant to make realistic flowers, bows, or even sculpted figures.
    To work with fondant, make sure to knead it until it is soft and pliable, then roll it out evenly using a rolling pin. Use cookie cutters or molds to create shapes or use a sharp knife for intricate designs.
  2. Stencils: Stencils are a fantastic tool for adding interesting patterns and designs to your cake. Simply place the stencil on top of your cake and gently dust powdered sugar or cocoa powder over it using a sieve or sifter. Carefully remove the stencil, and you’ll be left with a beautiful design on your cake’s surface.
  3. Modeling Chocolate: Modeling chocolate is similar to fondant but has a more malleable texture, which makes it perfect for creating unique shapes and sculpted designs. Mix melted chocolate with corn syrup until well combined, then let it cool until firm but still pliable. Use your hands or shaping tools to mold the modeling chocolate into any shape you desire – from flowers and animals to intricate lace designs.

Remember that practice makes perfect when working with advanced decorating techniques. Don’t be discouraged if your first attempts aren’t flawless – keep practicing, experimenting, and pushing yourself creatively.

By incorporating these advanced techniques into your store-bought cake decorations, you’ll be able to transform an ordinary dessert into a stunning centerpiece that will have your guests in awe.

Personalizing Your Store-Bought Cake

One of the best things about decorating a store-bought cake is the opportunity to add personal touches and make it truly unique. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or special occasion, customizing your store-bought cake can make it even more memorable. Here are some ideas to help you personalize your cake and make it one-of-a-kind.

  1. Writing Personalized Messages: Add a special message or greeting to your cake by writing on it with icing or using edible markers. You can include the recipient’s name, age, or a heartfelt message that reflects the occasion. Be sure to plan out your design and practice beforehand so that the writing appears neat and legible.
  2. Incorporating Themed Decorations: Consider the theme or purpose of the event when choosing decorations for your store-bought cake. For example, if it’s a children’s birthday party, you can use themed cake toppers like cartoon characters or toys. If it’s a wedding anniversary, opt for romantic decorations like hearts or flowers.
  3. Matching the Cake to a Specific Occasion: Think about the colors associated with the occasion you’re celebrating and try to incorporate them into your cake decoration. Use colored icing or edible food coloring to achieve the desired effect. You could also use decorations that represent symbols or traditions related to the event, such as using shamrock-shaped sprinkles for St. Patrick’s Day.

Remember that personalization is all about making your store-bought cake reflect your personality and taste as well as honoring the person or event being celebrated. Get creative, experiment with different designs and techniques, and have fun bringing your ideas to life.

Personalization Ideas
Writing Personalized Messages
Incorporating Themed Decorations
Matching the Cake to a Specific Occasion

Troubleshooting Common Decorating Challenges

Decorating a store-bought cake can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. As you embark on your cake decorating journey, it’s important to be prepared for any obstacles that may arise. In this section, we will address some common decorating challenges and provide helpful tips and solutions to overcome them.

One common challenge that many people face while decorating their store-bought cakes is achieving the right consistency of icing. If your icing is too thick, it can be difficult to spread smoothly over the cake, leaving you with an uneven finish. On the other hand, if your icing is too thin, it may not hold its shape and could slide off the cake.

To avoid these issues, it’s important to follow the instructions on your icing package carefully. If needed, you can gradually add small amounts of powdered sugar to thicken the icing or a little milk or water to thin it out.

Another challenge that decorators often encounter is when the cake doesn’t hold its shape well during decoration. This can happen if the cake layers are too soft or moist. To prevent this from happening, make sure your cake has cooled completely before starting the decoration process. You can even consider refrigerating the cake for a while before decorating to firm it up slightly.

Additionally, some decorators may struggle with decorations not sticking properly to their store-bought cakes. This typically happens when there isn’t enough moisture on the cake’s surface for the decorations to adhere to. One easy solution is lightly brushing the area where you want to place your decorations with simple syrup or water before applying them. This will help create a sticky surface that will hold your decorations in place.

By being aware of these common challenges and implementing these troubleshooting tips and solutions into your cake decorating process, you will be better equipped to handle any obstacles that may come your way. Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if things don’t turn out perfectly on your first try. With time and experience, you will become more confident in your abilities and be able to create beautifully decorated store-bought cakes that will impress everyone.

Enhancing the Presentation of Your Decorated Store-Bought Cake

When it comes to decorating a store-bought cake, the presentation is just as important as the decoration itself. Enhancing the overall appearance of your cake can take it from ordinary to extraordinary, making it a true centerpiece at any event or celebration. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can elevate the presentation of your decorated store-bought cake and impress your guests.

One way to enhance the presentation is by arranging your cake on a beautiful cake stand. A decorative cake stand not only adds height and elegance but also gives your cake a designated space that demands attention. Choose a stand that complements the theme or style of your cake – whether it’s a classic silver stand for a sophisticated look or a colorful, themed stand for a fun and playful vibe.

In addition to a stunning cake stand, consider adding garnishes to further enhance the visual appeal of your decorated store-bought cake. Fresh flowers, edible glitter, or even shaved chocolate can instantly transform an ordinary-looking cake into something truly spectacular. These additional touches not only add color and texture but also show that you’ve gone the extra mile in creating a visually striking dessert.

Moreover, don’t forget about creating an aesthetically pleasing backdrop for photographing your beautifully decorated store-bought cake. Whether it’s for personal memories or sharing on social media, capturing the essence of your creation in photos is essential. Choose a clean and uncluttered area with good lighting to highlight all the intricate details of your design. Consider using props like colorful plates or textured backgrounds that enhance the overall visual appeal of the photographs.

By paying attention to these small details and incorporating them into your presentation strategy, you can ensure that your decorated store-bought cake makes a lasting impression on anyone who sees it. The combination of an exquisite arrangement on a captivating cake stand, thoughtful garnishes, and skillful photography will elevate even the simplest store-bought cake to a work of art.

So, get creative and make your next decorated store-bought cake a showstopper that delights both the eyes and taste buds.


In conclusion, decorating a store-bought cake is a fantastic option for busy individuals or those with limited baking skills. The convenience and time-saving benefits of store-bought cakes make them a perfect canvas for creative decoration. By exploring different types of store-bought cakes and choosing the right base for your desired decoration style, you can easily transform an ordinary cake into something truly special.

Gathering the necessary tools and supplies is essential for successful cake decoration. From icing bags to food coloring to edible decorations, make sure you have everything you need before you start decorating. These supplies can be found easily and at an affordable price, whether it’s at your local grocery store or specialty baking supply shop.

From basic decorating techniques like smooth frosting and piping borders to more advanced techniques such as fondant decorations and sculpting with modeling chocolate, there are endless possibilities for elevating your store-bought cake. Personalizing the cake by adding personalized messages or themed decorations can also add that extra special touch.

While decorating challenges may arise, such as issues with icing consistency or the cake not holding its shape, don’t be discouraged. Troubleshooting these common challenges is part of the learning process, and helpful tips and solutions are available to overcome them. Remember, practice makes perfect.

Finally, don’t forget about enhancing the overall presentation of your decorated store-bought cake. Arrange it on a beautiful cake stand, add garnishes or create a stunning backdrop for photography – these additional touches will surely impress guests and elevate the appearance of the cake for special occasions.

In summary, decorating a store-bought cake is not only easy but also allows for limitless creativity. With the right tools and supplies, along with some helpful tips and techniques, anyone can transform a simple cake into a work of art. So go ahead and try out your own decoration ideas. Feel free to share your creations; we would love to see what you come up with.

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