How to Decorate Store Bought Cake

Do you ever find yourself in a time crunch but still want to impress your guests with a beautifully decorated cake? Look no further than store bought cakes.

Although they may lack the personalized touch of homemade creations, store bought cakes offer a convenient foundation for you to unleash your creativity and transform them into works of art. By following some simple techniques and using basic tools and supplies, you can elevate these humble desserts into eye-catching masterpieces that are sure to wow your family and friends.

The appeal of store bought cakes lies in their convenience – they save you precious time in the kitchen while still satisfying your sweet tooth. However, with just a few simple decorating techniques, you can take these cakes from ordinary to extraordinary.

Whether it’s a birthday celebration or a last-minute gathering, turning a store bought cake into something visually stunning allows you to customize it to suit any occasion or theme. With the right tools and supplies at your disposal, the possibilities are endless.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of decorating store bought cakes step by step. We will discuss the essential tools and supplies needed for cake decorating, explore various techniques that can yield professional-looking results, and provide creative ideas for adding edible decorations and toppings that will elevate your cake’s visual appeal.

Furthermore, we will delve into advanced cake decorating techniques, such as working with fondant or gum paste to create intricate patterns and shapes. Lastly, we’ll show you how to personalize your decorated store bought cake by incorporating custom designs or messages that make it truly one-of-a-kind.

So why settle for a plain-looking store bought cake when you have the ability to transform it into a work of art? Let’s dive in and discover just how easy and satisfying it is to decorate these humble desserts using our tips and techniques. Get ready to stun guests with your creativity as you turn an ordinary store bought cake into something extraordinary.

Essential Tools and Supplies for Cake Decorating

Decorating a store bought cake to transform it into a work of art requires the use of essential tools and supplies. These items are what will help you achieve professional-looking results and make your decorated cake stand out. Here are some of the must-have tools and supplies for cake decorating:

  1. Icing: A good quality icing is essential for decorating a cake. Whether you choose buttercream, whipped cream, or fondant icing, make sure it is smooth and easily spreadable. Consider using pre-made icing from the store or prepare your own homemade icing.
  2. Piping Bags: Piping bags are used to hold the icing and create different designs on the cake. They come in various sizes, so choose one that suits your needs. Disposable piping bags are convenient as they eliminate the need for cleaning.
  3. Spatulas: Spatulas are indispensable when it comes to spreading and smoothing the icing on the cake’s surface. Offset spatulas with angled blades are particularly useful for achieving smooth finishes.
  4. Decorating Tips: These small metal attachments fit onto the end of piping bags and determine the shape and design of the icing as it is piped onto the cake. There is a wide variety of tips available, including round tips for writing or outlining, star tips for creating rosettes or borders, leaf tips for adding foliage details, and many more.
  5. Edible Decorations: To add flair to your decorated cake, gather an assortment of edible decorations such as fresh fruits (sliced strawberries, blueberries), candies (sprinkles, colored sugar), chopped nuts, chocolate shavings, or even edible flowers like pansies or violets.

When gathering your tools and supplies, consider investing in high-quality products that will provide better results and make your decorating process smoother. Additionally, make sure to clean your tools thoroughly after each use to maintain their condition for future projects.

With these essential tools and supplies on hand, you will be well-equipped to create beautifully decorated store bought cakes that are sure to impress. Experiment with different techniques and unleash your creativity to make each cake a unique masterpiece.

Choosing the Right Store Bought Cake for Decorating

When it comes to decorating a store bought cake, selecting the right base is crucial. The right cake will serve as a canvas for your creativity and ensure that your decorations really shine. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect store bought cake for decorating:

  1. Consider the flavor: Think about what flavors will pair well with your desired decorations. For example, if you plan on using fruity or citrusy decorations, a vanilla or lemon flavored cake would complement them nicely. If you’re going for a more indulgent chocolate or caramel theme, opt for a chocolate-flavored base.
  2. Texture matters: The texture of the cake can impact both its taste and appearance. Some cakes have a light and fluffy texture, while others are denser and more moist. When choosing a store bought cake for decorating purposes, consider the textures that would work best with your planned decorations.
  3. Size it up: Make sure to choose a cake size that is appropriate for your needs. If you’re hosting a small gathering, a single-layer round cake may suffice. However, if you’re expecting a larger crowd or want to make an impressive multi-layer creation, go for a larger size or even consider stacking multiple cakes together.

Remember that not all store bought cakes are created equal, so don’t be afraid to try out different options until you find one that meets your requirements. Once you’ve selected the perfect base, you can move on to preparing it for decoration and letting your creativity soar.

Preparing the Store Bought Cake for Decoration

To achieve a beautifully decorated store bought cake, it is important to properly prepare the cake before adding any decorative elements. This section will guide you through the steps of leveling and crumb coating the cake, ensuring a smooth and stable base for your creative designs.

  1. Leveling Before you can begin decorating, it is essential to level your store bought cake. This step involves removing any domes or uneven tops from the layers to create a flat surface. You can use a sharp serrated knife or a cake leveler for this task. Simply hold the knife horizontally and gently saw back and forth across the top of the cake until it is even.
  2. Crumb Coating After leveling, it is time to apply a thin layer of icing called a crumb coat. This step helps to trap loose crumbs and create a smoother surface for the final layer of icing. Start by spreading a thin layer of icing onto the entire cake using an offset spatula or butter knife. It doesn’t have to be perfect at this stage; just make sure all areas are covered.
  3. Once you have applied the crumb coat, refrigerate the cake for about 20 minutes to allow it to set. This will make it easier to apply the final layer of icing without disturbing any crumbs.

  4. Final Layer of Icing After chilling, remove the cake from the refrigerator and start applying the final layer of icing. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread an even layer of icing over the entire cake, making sure all sides are covered as well. Smooth out any rough edges or uneven spots as you go along.
  5. Pro Tip: To achieve an ultra-smooth finish on your store bought cake, try using a bench scraper or straight edge ruler dipped in hot water and wiped dry between each pass along the sides of the cake.

By properly preparing your store bought cake with leveling and crumb coating, you will create a sturdy and professional-looking base for all your creative cake decorating ideas. Remember to be patient and take your time during this step, as it sets the foundation for a beautifully decorated masterpiece.

Leveling – Remove any domes or uneven tops from the cake layers
Crumb Coating – Apply a thin layer of icing to trap crumbs and create a smoother surface
Final Layer of Icing – Apply an even layer of icing over the entire cake, smoothing out any rough edges or uneven spots

Basic Cake Decorating Techniques and Tips

When it comes to decorating a store bought cake, there are a variety of basic techniques that can help you achieve professional-looking results. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience with cake decorating, these tips will come in handy to elevate the appearance of your store-bought masterpiece.

One important technique to master is piping borders. Piping borders around the edges of the cake adds a polished look and enhances its overall appearance. To pipe borders, fill a piping bag fitted with a desired tip (such as a star tip or round tip) with buttercream icing.

Hold the bag at a 45-degree angle and gently squeeze while moving along the edge of the cake. Practice beforehand on parchment paper to get comfortable with controlling the amount of pressure applied.

Another popular technique is creating icing rosettes. Rosettes are versatile and can be used to decorate cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts. To make rosettes, start by applying pressure to your piping bag fitted with either a star or petal tip onto the surface of the cake or cupcake. Begin in the center and work your way outwards in a circular motion, creating layers to form a rosette shape.

Using decorative tips can also add flair to your decorated store-bought cake. Decorative tips come in various shapes and sizes, allowing you to create different patterns and designs on your cake’s surface. Experimenting with different tips can help you discover new techniques and unleash your creativity.

Additionally, here are some useful tips for successful cake decorating:

  1. Keep your spatulas and scraping tools clean for smooth application of icing.
  2. Use an offset spatula for spreading icing evenly over the cake’s surface.
  3. Apply a thin layer of buttercream frosting before adding decorations like fondant or gum paste for better adhesion.
  4. Take breaks between decorating sessions to allow the icing to set before adding additional layers or designs.
  5. Practice piping and other techniques on a separate surface before applying them directly to the cake.

By mastering these basic cake decorating techniques and following the accompanying tips, you’ll be well on your way to transforming a store bought cake into an edible work of art. So, don’t be afraid to unleash your creativity and experiment with different designs and flavors to personalize your store-bought cake. With these skills in hand, preparation is key, ensuring a smooth experience throughout the process.

Adding Edible Decorations and Toppings

Once you have finished icing and decorating your store bought cake, the next step is to add the finishing touches with edible decorations and toppings. These decorative elements not only enhance the visual appeal of your cake but also add texture and flavor. There are numerous options available, so let’s explore some creative ideas for arranging these additions on your masterpiece.

One popular choice for adding a burst of color and freshness to your cake is using fresh fruits as decorations. Consider using berries, sliced kiwis, or mandarin oranges for a vibrant look.

You can arrange them in a pattern on top of the cake or create an elegant border around the edges. Another idea is to carve out a hole in the center of the cake and fill it with a mixture of diced fruits for a refreshing surprise when each slice is served.

If you prefer a sweeter touch, candies make excellent edible decorations for cakes. Sprinkle colorful candy pearls or small chocolates over the frosted surface for an eye-catching effect. You could also consider incorporating themed candies, such as jelly beans for an Easter-themed cake or candy corn for Halloween. Don’t forget to use different textures by adding crunchy elements like crushed cookies or crushed nuts, which will provide an interesting contrast to the softness of the cake.

In addition to fruits and candies, there are various sprinkles and toppings that can be used to elevate your cake’s decoration. Delicate sugar flowers or edible glitter can add an elegant and whimsical touch to any design.

For a more sophisticated look, consider using chocolate shavings or curls made from tempered chocolate – they’re surprisingly easy to make. Simply melt some plain chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, spread it thinly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, let it cool until firm but not completely hardened, then use a spatula or knife to scrape off curls from one end towards you.

When arranging edible decorations and toppings on your cake, keep in mind that balance and symmetry are key. Aim for even distribution and try to create visual interest by layering different colors and textures. Remember, the options are virtually limitless when it comes to decorating with edible elements, so don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment until you achieve a visually stunning masterpiece.

Advanced Cake Decorating Techniques

Using Fondant or Gum Paste

One of the most impressive techniques for decorating a store bought cake is using fondant or gum paste. These pliable and versatile mediums allow you to create intricate patterns, shapes, and even 3D designs. To use fondant or gum paste, start by rolling it out to the desired thickness. Carefully drape it over the cake, smoothing it down gently with your hands or a fondant smoother to eliminate any air bubbles.

Once the fondant or gum paste is in place, you can enhance its appearance by adding additional decorations like edible pearls, flowers, or painted details. To paint on fondant or gum paste, use gel food coloring mixed with a clear alcohol such as vodka to create a watercolor-like effect. There are also specialty edible paints available that are specifically formulated for use on fondant.

It’s important to note that working with fondant or gum paste requires patience and practice. If you’re new to this technique, consider starting with small projects before attempting more complex designs. Additionally, be mindful of humidity as it can cause fondant to become sticky and difficult to work with. Store your finished decorated cake in an air-tight container at room temperature to keep the fondant or gum paste firm and intact.

Creating Intricate Patterns and Shapes

Another way to take your store bought cake decoration skills to the next level is by creating intricate patterns and shapes using different piping techniques. This can be done using buttercream frosting in various colors and consistencies.

To pipe intricate patterns onto your cake, fill a piping bag fitted with a small round tip (such as a Wilton #1 or #2) with buttercream frosting. Apply gentle pressure while piping on the surface of your cake, carefully guiding the tip to form desired patterns such as swirls, vines, or lattices.

For creating shapes like flowers, stars, or even animals, you can use piping tips with specific shapes like a petal tip or a star tip. These tips create uniform and precise designs when used in conjunction with different frosting consistencies.

Remember to practice your piping technique on a flat surface before attempting it on the store bought cake. This will help you become more comfortable with handling the piping bag and achieving smooth and controlled movements. Don’t worry if your first attempts are not perfect – decorating cakes is an art form that improves with time and practice.

Working with Gum Paste for 3D Designs

If you’re looking to create show-stopping, three-dimensional decorations for your store bought cake, gum paste is the way to go. Gum paste is similar to fondant but has a harder texture that allows it to hold its shape better.

To make 3D gum paste decorations, start by sculpting the desired shape using your hands or specialized tools like silicone molds or shaping tools. Allow the gum paste to dry completely before attaching it to the cake using either edible glue or melted chocolate as adhesive.

Gum paste is particularly ideal for creating flowers, leaves, bows, figurines, and other intricate designs that add depth and dimension to your decorated cake. Once again, practice is key when working with gum paste as it can be delicate and requires careful handling.

By mastering these advanced techniques of fondant/gum paste decoration and creating intricate patterns and shapes using piping techniques, you’ll be able to take any store bought cake from ordinary to extraordinary. The possibilities are endless when it comes to designing unique creations that will impress guests at any celebration.

Personalizing Your Decorated Store Bought Cake

Now that you have learned all the basic techniques and tips for decorating a store bought cake, it’s time to make it truly your own by adding personal touches. Personalization can take your cake from being just another dessert to a meaningful centerpiece for any occasion. Here are some ideas on how to personalize your decorated store bought cake.

One of the easiest ways to personalize your cake is by adding custom messages or names using icing. You can use different colors of icing and decorative piping tips to write messages like “Happy Birthday”, “Congratulations”, or even the name of the person you are celebrating. This simple touch can make the cake feel special and tailored specifically for the occasion.

Another way to personalize your cake is by incorporating themed decorations. For example, if you’re decorating a cake for a baby shower, you can add small edible baby booties or rattles made out of fondant. If it’s a wedding celebration, consider adding delicate sugar flowers or edible pearls that match the wedding colors.

Additionally, you can use special family recipes for fillings or frostings to add an extra layer of personalization. Maybe there’s a cherished recipe that has been passed down through generations in your family, or a unique flavor combination that holds sentimental value. Incorporating these special recipes will not only add a personal touch but also enhance the taste and significance of your decorated store bought cake.

Remember, the most important aspect of personalizing your decorated store bought cake is letting your creativity shine through. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and come up with unique ideas that truly reflect your personality and style. Whether it’s adding favorite quotes, recreating beloved characters using fondant figures, or experimenting with different color schemes, let your imagination guide you in creating a masterpiece that is truly one-of-a-kind.

By personalizing your decorated store bought cake, you are taking something ordinary and turning it into an extraordinary creation that is sure to impress both visually and emotionally. The joy of seeing your personal touch come to life on top of the cake is truly special, and it will make any celebration even more memorable. So go ahead, unleash your creativity, and let your inner cake decorator shine.

Storing and Serving Your Decorated Store Bought Cake

Once you have successfully decorated your store bought cake, it is important to know how to properly store and serve it to ensure its freshness and maintain its appearance. Follow these tips to keep your masterpiece intact until it’s time to enjoy.

Storing the Decorated Cake

After decorating your store bought cake, make sure to place it in a cake storage container or cover it tightly with plastic wrap. This will help protect the icing from getting smudged or damaged. Store the cake in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Avoid refrigerating the cake if possible, as refrigeration can cause the icing to become hard or crusty.

If you do need to refrigerate the decorated cake due to the type of icing or filling used, be sure to remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving, allowing it to come back to room temperature. This will help restore the softness and texture of the frosting.

Serving Sizes and Presentation

To ensure that everyone gets a proper slice of your decorated store bought cake, it’s important to understand serving sizes. Generally, a standard serving size for a round layered cake is about 1 inch wide by 2 inches tall. Adjust accordingly if you are using a different shaped cake.

When presenting your decorated cake, consider using a decorative serving plate or cake stand for an added touch of elegance. You can also garnish the plate with fresh fruits or edible flowers that complement the flavors of your cake.

Encourage guests to admire your creation before cutting into it by strategically placing candles or other decorative elements on top of the cake. Once you’re ready to serve, use a sharp knife dipped in warm water for clean cuts through the layers and frosting.

By following these tips for storing and serving your decorated store bought cake, you can ensure that your hard work is preserved and that it’s enjoyed by family and friends in the best possible way.


In conclusion, transforming a store bought cake into a masterpiece is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. With the right tools, techniques, and personal touches, anyone can create a beautifully decorated cake that looks professional and tastes delicious. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, you can elevate a simple store bought cake into a work of edible art.

The satisfaction of creating something with your own hands and seeing it come to life is unmatched. Decorating a store bought cake allows you to unleash your creativity and express yourself through food. Whether it’s adding intricate piping details or arranging colorful edible decorations, each step of the process provides an opportunity for self-expression.

Furthermore, decorating a store bought cake allows for customization and personalization. You can tailor the design to suit any occasion or theme, making it truly unique. By incorporating special family recipes for fillings or frostings or adding personalized messages, you can make the cake even more meaningful and memorable.

Overall, decorating a store bought cake is not only about making it visually appealing but also about putting love and effort into something that brings joy to others. So go ahead, try your hand at cake decorating, and enjoy the satisfaction of creating your own edible masterpiece.

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