How to Use Store Bought Icing for Cake Decorating

Are you looking to elevate your cake decorating skills using store bought icing? In this article, we will explore the convenience and versatility of using store bought icing for cake decorating.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced baker, store bought icing can be a time-saving and efficient option for creating beautiful and delicious cakes. We will cover everything from choosing the right store bought icing to preparing the cake, basic and advanced decorating techniques, customizing flavors and colors, troubleshooting common issues, and proper storage guidelines.

When it comes to cake decorating, store bought icing offers a convenient solution for those who may not have the time or resources to make homemade frosting from scratch. With a wide variety of options available in stores, including buttercream, cream cheese, chocolate ganache, fondant, and more, it’s important to choose the right type of icing that best suits your specific decorating needs.

No matter your skill level or experience with cake decorating, store bought icing provides endless possibilities for creating beautifully decorated cakes with ease.

Throughout this article, we will provide tips and step-by-step instructions for using store bought icing to decorate cakes. From preparing the cake for icing application to adding color and flavor to troubleshooting common issues, we’ll cover everything you need to know in order to create professional-looking cakes at home.

Whether you’re looking to add simple accents or intricate designs to your cakes, using store bought icing can be a game-changer in your baking repertoire. Join us as we delve into the world of store bought icing for cake decorating.

Choosing the Right Store Bought Icing

When it comes to choosing the right store bought icing for cake decorating, there are several options available on the market. Each type of icing has its own unique qualities and suitability for different decorating techniques. Here is a comparison of some of the most common types of store bought icing and how they can be used for various cake decorating purposes:

  • Buttercream Icing: Buttercream icing is a classic choice for cake decorating, as it is versatile and easy to work with. It can be used to create smooth finishes, textured designs, and piped decorations.
  • Fondant: Fondant is a popular option for creating smooth and professional-looking finishes on cakes. It can also be molded and shaped into intricate designs, making it suitable for more advanced cake decorating techniques.
  • Cream Cheese Icing: Cream cheese icing has a tangy flavor that pairs well with certain cake flavors such as carrot or red velvet. It is ideal for creating rustic or textured decorations on cakes.

Before you select a store bought icing for your cake decorating project, consider the desired outcome and the techniques you plan to use. Each type of icing has its own unique characteristics that can enhance the overall look and taste of your decorated cake.

Keep in mind that some store bought icings come pre-colored or flavored, while others are plain and versatile enough to be customized according to your preferences. Think about whether you want to add color or flavor to the icing before making your purchase.

Ultimately, choosing the right store bought icing for cake decorating depends on your personal preferences, the specific design you have in mind, and the techniques you plan to use. Experiment with different types of store bought icing to find the one that best suits your needs.

Preparing the Cake

Leveling and Crumb Coating

Before you begin decorating your cake with store bought icing, it’s important to ensure that the cake itself is properly prepared. This includes leveling the top of the cake to create a smooth surface for the icing to adhere to. Use a long serrated knife or a cake leveler to carefully cut off any domed portion of the cake.

Once this is done, you can also apply a thin layer of store bought icing as a crumb coat. This will help seal in any loose crumbs and provide a smooth base for the final layer of icing.

Chilling the Cake

After applying the crumb coat, it’s recommended to chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the icing to set and firm up, making it easier to apply the final layer of store bought icing for decorating. Chilling the cake also helps prevent any crumbs from getting mixed into the final coat of icing.

Choosing the Right Tools

When preparing your cake for decorating with store bought icing, it’s important to have the right tools on hand. A good offset spatula or icing smoother can help you achieve a smooth and even surface when applying the icing. Additionally, having a turntable can make it much easier to evenly spread and decorate your cake with store bought icing. Taking these extra steps in preparing your cake will ensure that your final decorated creation looks polished and professional.

By following these tips on how to properly prepare your cake before using store bought icing for decorating, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautifully decorated cakes that not only look great but taste delicious too.

Basic Cake Decorating Techniques

When it comes to basic cake decorating, using store bought icing can be a convenient and easy way to add a touch of creativity to your baked goods. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced baker, store bought icing can save you time and effort without compromising on the quality of your decorations.

In this section, we will delve into some simple cake decorating techniques using store bought icing and provide step-by-step instructions on how to achieve professional-looking results.

One of the most straightforward ways to decorate a cake with store bought icing is by using a piping bag and various tips to create different designs. Start by filling the piping bag with the desired color of icing and secure it with a coupler and tip of your choice.

To create rosettes or swirls, hold the piping bag at a 90-degree angle above the cake and apply steady pressure while moving your hand in a circular motion. For writing or drawing, use a smaller round tip to achieve precise lines.

Another easy technique for decorating cakes with store bought icing is using stencils. Simply place the stencil on top of the cake and gently spread or pipe the icing over it. Carefully lift the stencil off the cake to reveal a beautifully designed pattern. This method is perfect for adding intricate details to your cakes without requiring advanced skills.

Lastly, you can also use cookie cutters as templates for creating shapes or silhouettes on your cakes. Place the cookie cutter on top of the cake and carefully spread or pipe the icing inside it. Once filled, gently lift the cookie cutter away from the cake to reveal your design. This technique is ideal for creating themed cakes or adding playful elements to your desserts.

Overall, these basic cake decorating techniques using store bought icing are simple yet effective ways to elevate your baked creations without investing in expensive tools or spending hours perfecting intricate designs. With just a few key items and some practice, you can easily achieve professional-looking results that will impress your friends and family at any gathering or celebration.

Advanced Cake Decorating Techniques

Using Piping Bags and Tips

One of the most popular advanced cake decorating techniques is using piping bags and tips to create intricate designs on your cake. Store bought icing can easily be used in piping bags for this purpose. To get started, simply spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a decorating tip of your choice. Then, apply gentle pressure to the bag to start creating beautiful borders, flowers, and other decorative elements on your cake.

Textured Designs and Patterns

Another way to take your cake decorating to the next level is by experimenting with textured designs and patterns using store bought icing. You can achieve this by using specialized tools such as combs, scrapers, or even everyday household items like forks and toothpicks. For example, you can create a rustic look by dragging a fork through the icing in random patterns, or use a toothpick to add swirls and intricate details.

Sculpting With Icing

For those looking for a truly unique cake decorating technique, sculpting with store bought icing offers endless possibilities. Whether you’re creating figurines, animals, or objects, store bought icing can be manipulated and shaped into various forms for creative cake decorations. Simply knead the icing until it becomes pliable, then sculpt it into your desired shapes before applying it to your cake.

What Is the Best Type of Icing for Cake Decorating

By exploring these advanced cake decorating techniques using store bought icing, you’ll have the opportunity to elevate your cakes from simple desserts to stunning works of art that are sure to impress any audience. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect when it comes to these techniques, so don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with your creations.

Adding Color and Flavor

When it comes to adding color to store bought icing, gel or paste food coloring is recommended over liquid food coloring. Gel and paste colors are more concentrated, resulting in vibrant hues without compromising the consistency of the icing.

Start by adding a small amount of the chosen color and gradually increase until the desired shade is achieved. Remember that some colors may darken over time, so it’s best to allow the colored icing to sit for a few minutes before making any adjustments.

In terms of flavor, store bought icing can be easily customized with extracts such as vanilla, almond, lemon, or even specialty flavors like coconut or coffee. Add the extract slowly, tasting as you go until you reach the desired level of flavor.

Keep in mind that certain flavors may alter the consistency of the icing, so adjust accordingly by adding additional powdered sugar if needed. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider experimenting with different combinations of flavors to create a truly unique icing for your cake.

By customizing store bought icing with color and flavor, you can elevate your cake decorating to new heights. Whether it’s a bold and vibrant color scheme or a delightful burst of unexpected flavors, these personalized touches will make your cakes stand out and leave a lasting impression on everyone who enjoys them. And remember, don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with this process.


When using store bought icing for cake decorating, there are a few common issues and mistakes that may arise. Understanding how to troubleshoot these problems can help ensure that your decorated cakes turn out as desired.

One common issue is air bubbles in the icing, which can create an uneven and bumpy appearance on the cake. To fix this, gently tap the sides of the cake with a spatula or smooth it out with a decorating comb to release any trapped air bubbles.

Another common mistake is using icing that is too stiff or too runny for the desired decorating technique. If the icing is too stiff, try adding a small amount of milk or cream to soften it. On the other hand, if the icing is too runny, you can thicken it by gradually adding more confectioners’ sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Additionally, improperly storing leftover store bought icing can lead to issues such as drying out or becoming too hard to use for future decorating projects. To avoid this, make sure to tightly cover any unused icing and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Before using it again, let the icing come to room temperature and then give it a good stir to restore its smooth consistency.

By being aware of these common issues and mistakes when using store bought icing for cake decorating, and knowing how to fix them, you will be better equipped to create beautifully decorated cakes without encountering unnecessary frustration or disappointment. Remember to experiment with different techniques and have fun while honing your skills in using store bought icing for cake decorating.

Storage and Preservation

Once you’ve finished decorating your cake with store bought icing, it’s important to know how to properly store any leftovers for future use. By following the right guidelines for storage and preservation, you can ensure that your icing stays fresh and maintains its quality for an extended period of time.

When it comes to storing leftover store bought icing, a key factor to consider is the type of icing used. For buttercream and cream cheese icings, it’s best to keep them refrigerated in an airtight container. On the other hand, royal icing can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place. It’s important to always check the label on the packaging for specific storage instructions.

As for decorated cakes, the storage method will depend on the type of icing used and any perishable fillings or toppings. In general, cakes frosted with store bought icing should be kept in a cool area away from direct sunlight or heat sources. If the cake contains perishable ingredients such as fresh fruit or dairy-based fillings, it should be refrigerated.

In addition to proper storage containers and conditions, it’s also essential to take into account the shelf life of store bought icing. Most types of store bought icing have a relatively long shelf life when unopened, but once opened they should be used within a certain timeframe for best results. Properly stored leftover store bought icing can typically last in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks before its quality starts to deteriorate.

Type of IcingStorage Method
Buttercream or cream cheeseRefrigerate in an airtight container
Royal icingStore at room temperature in a cool, dry place


In conclusion, store bought icing offers a convenient and versatile option for cake decorating. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced baker, the wide variety of store bought icing available in the market allows you to explore different decorating techniques and unleash your creativity without having to make icing from scratch. From basic techniques to advanced methods, store bought icing can be easily customized with color and flavor to add a personal touch to your cake creations.

One of the key benefits of using store bought icing is the time-saving aspect. You no longer have to spend hours making icing from scratch, allowing you to focus on perfecting your decorating skills instead. Additionally, store bought icing comes in a range of consistencies and flavors, allowing for endless possibilities when it comes to decorating cakes for various occasions.

If you’ve never tried using store bought icing for cake decorating before, now is the perfect time to give it a go. Experiment with different types of store bought icing, practice various techniques, and customize your creations with color and flavor.

With the tips and guidelines provided in this article, you’ll be well-equipped to achieve professional-looking results and impress your friends and family with your cake decorating skills. So next time you’re at the store, pick up some store bought icing and start exploring the endless possibilities of cake decoration.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Make Store-Bought Frosting Better for Cake Decorating?

Making store-bought frosting better for cake decorating is easy. Start by adding a little bit of powdered sugar to the frosting to thicken it up. This will make it easier to work with when decorating your cake. You can also add a little bit of flavor extract, like vanilla or almond, to enhance the taste of the frosting.

How Do You Use Store Bought Icing for Piping?

Using store-bought icing for piping is a convenient option for cake decorating. To make the icing more suitable for piping, you can start by placing it in a bowl and whipping it with an electric mixer to make it fluffier and more malleable.

Then transfer the whipped icing into a piping bag fitted with your desired tip and start decorating your cake.

How Do You Harden Store-Bought Frosting?

If you want to harden store-bought frosting, there are a few simple methods you can use. One option is to mix in some cornstarch or powdered sugar to help thicken and stiffen the frosting.

Another method is to refrigerate the frosting for a while before using it, as this can help it firm up and become easier to work with when decorating your cake.

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