56 Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Updated: Feb. 14, 2024

Dress up your birthday or holiday cake with these easy cake decorating ideas. Some fancy up the outside of the cake with frosting, candy or fruit, while others use simple layering tricks to make the inside shine.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Poke Cake

When my family is planning a get-together, I can count on three or four people asking if I’m bringing this chocolate peanut butter poke cake. If you don’t have a chocolate cake mix, use a white or yellow one and stir in 3 tablespoons of baking cocoa. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas

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Confetti Birthday Drip Cake

This is a moist and fluffy vanilla drip cake with lots of sprinkles and a whipped vanilla buttercream. It’s almost impossible not to feel happy when you see the fun pop of rainbow confetti! —Courtney Rich, Highland, Utah
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Layered Princess Cake

This magical princess cake will make any party feel special. Whether you’re having a birthday party, princess party or baby shower, it’s sure to please. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Confetti Birthday Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

This is a moist confetti cake with lots of sprinkles and a whipped chocolate buttercream. It’s perfect for birthday celebrations! —Courtney Rich, Highland, Utah. Looking for more ideas? We’ve pulled together some of our best graduation cake ideas for your celebration.
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BB-8 Cake

This BB-8 cake is easy to assemble and decorate. A cake mix gives you a jump-start so you can spend more time arranging the easy cake decorations. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Indulge in this layer cake topped with rich buttercream—a vanilla lover’s dream. I use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. —Michelle Dorsey, Wilmington, Delaware
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Malted Chocolate & Stout Layer Cake

If you want a dessert that will take the cake at a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, look no further! The rich chocolate cake is incredibly moist and has a nice malt flavor that’s perfectly complemented by the Irish cream frosting. —Jennifer Wayland, Morris Plains, New Jersey
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Unicorn Cake

This magical unicorn cake tastes as good as it looks. Baking in smaller pans creates impressive height, and a few simple decorating tricks turn it into a showstopping dessert. —Lauren Knoelke, Des Moines, Iowa

Also check out how to use a piping bag the right way.

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Cherry Nut Cake

My grandmother made up this recipe for her children. Using Ozark-grown cherries and walnuts, she invented one they all liked. Granny always used cream from the dairy farm near her home, but the half-and half works well and is easier to find. —Diana Jennings, Lebanon, Missouri
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Homemade Confetti Cake

This is a moist and fluffy vanilla cake with lots of sprinkles and a whipped vanilla buttercream. It’s almost impossible not to feel happy when you see the fun pop of rainbow confetti! —Courtney Rich, Highland, UT
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Majestic Pecan Cake

This recipe truly lives up to its name. The pecan-dotted cake is stacked in three layers, and made-from-scratch frosting is the crowning touch.—Karen R. Jones, Claypool, Indiana
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Candy Land Cake

My friend asked me to make her son’s 5th birthday cake, and when I asked her what he wanted on it, she said, “Oh, just put on gobs and gobs of candy.” Instead of piling on candy haphazardly, I thought it should look like the Candy Land board game. The birthday boy, his friends and family members loved it! —Pen Perez, Berkeley, California
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Yummy Chocolate Cake

My husband and I are trying to eat lighter but still crave sweets. This moist, healthy chocolate cake really helps with that. With the rich frosting, it makes a decadent treat! —LaDonna Reed, Ponca City, Oklahoma
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Cranberry-Orange Cake with Lemon Glaze

I used cranberries for decorations in a wedding, then challenged myself to find a way to use up the surplus. This pretty, super moist cake with cranberries in the batter and sometimes, sugared ones on top, was the result! —S. Jade Klope, Paducah, Kentucky
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Red Velvet Pound Cake

This delicious red velvet pound cake is the perfect combination of flavors. Make sure the cake has cooled before icing it; for extra crunch sprinkle some roasted pecans on top. —Robin Smith, Old Fort, North Carolina
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Black Walnut Layer Cake

My sister gave me the recipe for this beautiful cake years ago. The thin layer of frosting spread on the outside gives it a chic modern look. —Lynn Glaze, Warren, Ohio
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Minted Chocolate Torte

Our family has enjoyed this remarkable layered cake for years. It’s a favorite for many occasions. —Barbara Humiston, Tampa, Florida
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Pineapple & Macadamia Nut Cake

This delicious cake is one of my own invention. It's been a huge hit among family and friends and even inspired fierce bidding at a local charity auction! —Greta Kirby, Carthage, Tennessee
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Blue-Ribbon Red Velvet Cake

This two-layer beauty features a striking red interior. It calls for more cocoa than most red velvet cakes, making it extra chocolaty. Feel free to change the color of the food coloring to suit the occasion. This recipe won a blue ribbon in the holiday cake division at the 2006 Alaska State Fair. I think this cake will be a winner in your house, too! —Cindi DeClue, Anchorage, Alaska
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Mama's Spice Cake

Whenever I get a craving for a tasty old-fashioned treat, I make this cake. Great cooks in my family have been baking it for generations, and their families have been enjoying the wonderful spice flavor and rich frosting. —Nancy Duty, Jacksonville, Florida
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Chocolate-Cherry Brownie Cake

My grandmother taught me the tricks to making this cake, and I've added my own special touches. The melted chocolate keeps the icing from being too dry and gives it a texture similar to chocolate ice cream. I have more requests for the icing than I do anything else! —Susan Hayes, Massapequa, New York
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Berry Dream Cake

I use cherry gelatin to give a boxed cake mix an eye-appealing marbled effect. It's so festive-looking. Top it with whatever fruit you like! —Margaret McNeil, Germantown, Tennessee
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Malted Chocolate & Stout Layer Cake

If you want a dessert that will take the cake at a St. Patrick's Day celebration, look no further! The rich chocolate cake is incredibly moist and has a nice malt flavor that's perfectly complemented by the Irish cream frosting. —Jennifer Wayland, Morris Plains, New Jersey
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Cream Cheese Sheet Cake

This tender, buttery cream cheese cake with a thin layer of fudge frosting is perfect for a get-together. It’s always popular at parties. It’s not uncommon to see folks going back for second and even third pieces. —Gaye Mann, Rocky Mount, North Carolina
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Pina Colada Tube Cake

We named this a “pina colada” cake because it has coconut, pineapple and rum. It’s a soothing finish at the end of a big spread. —Debra Keil, Owasso, Oklahoma
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Strawberry Jam Cake

When I need a cake for a special occasion, this is my go-to recipe because everyone is crazy about it. Every year I make it for a Relay for Life cake raffle we have at work. It has raised a lot of money for a very good cause. —Tammy Urbina, Warner Robins, Georgia
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Cranberry Pecan Upside-Down Cake

At our house, cranberries are a favorite. I made this dessert for the first time in the 1990s. It started out as a pineapple upside down cake—I just changed a few things around! It keeps and travels well, so it’s perfect for taking to church dinners. And we love to share it with our son and grandchildren. —Doris Heath, Franklin, North Carolina
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Southern Lane Cake

I just love this southern-style dessert, and so do dinner guests. With pecans, cherries and raisins in the filling and topping, this version reminds me of a fruitcake—only so much better! —Mabel Parvi, Ridgefield, Washington
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Halloween Witch Cake

If you’re looking for an extra-special dessert to serve for Halloween, this witch cake will delight all the ghouls and goblins at your party. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Layered Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

This yellow cake will become your go-to recipe for birthdays, but the tender cake with flavorful chocolate buttercream is truly perfect for any occasion. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Mint Angel Cake

One sight of this lovely cake will have guests saving room for dessert! For an easy garnish, sprinkle with crushed mint candies.—Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario
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Coconut Chiffon Cake

Toasted coconut adds visual appeal to this tall and impressive cake. With an airy texture and heavenly coconut-ginger flavor,it's a lovely end to meals throughout the year.
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Ginger-Walnut Tube Cake

My husband, Ken, loves this tube cake with its bits of crystallized ginger. Feel free to drizzle it with a lemony glaze. —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, NJ
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Lemon Ricotta Cake

This lemon ricotta cake recipe is a family gem that was passed down from my grandmother and mother. Garnished with shaved lemon zest, the moist four-layer cake is the perfect dessert when you want to impress. —Nanette Slaughter, Sammamish, Washington
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Raspberry Cake

Jazz up plain cake with raspberry gelatin and frozen berries. Spread with a light, fruity whipped topping (or this whipped topping substitute), the festive results make a cool and refreshing dessert. —Marion Anderson, Dalton, Minnesota
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So-Easy-It's-Spooky Bat Cake

This gorgeous dessert starts with a boxed cake mix. Then it’s an easy and magical trick to make the bat silhouette with cocoa. —Crystal Schlueter, Babbitt, Minnesota
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Cherry Cola Cake

Cherry cola and marshmallows make a zippy chocolate dessert that is scrumptious topped with vanilla ice cream. — Cheri Mason, Harmony, North Carolina
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Three-Layered Carrot Cake

My mom loved carrots so much she put them in various dishes at least five times a week when I was growing up. Her specialty was a homemade carrot cake that was requested for every special occasion. When I made this for her 70th birthday, she cried with each bite. —Paula Marchesi, Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania
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Banana Split Cake

One day a friend showed me how to make a traditional icebox cake with just cream and graham crackers. I make it extra special with the fruit. Now everyone at your potluck can have a banana split with no fuss! —Shelly Flye, Albion, Maine
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Raspberry Fudge Torte

This special-occasion cake impresses all who see and taste it. People are surprised to hear that this torte starts with a simple cake mix—they're sure I bought it at a bakery. —Julie Hein, York, Pennsylvania
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Rainbow Layer Cake

Fruity gelatin helps create the rainbow effect for this pretty cake. Lemon frosting is a nice and springy finishing touch. —Dawn Shackelford, Fort Worth, Texas
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Flag Cake

Get ready to hear oohs and aahs! This stars-and-stripes cake is sure to light up your Fourth of July party or other patriotic celebration. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Decadent Fudge Cake

Everyone loves the rich flavor in this decadent cake made with four types of chocolate. —Anna Hogge, Yorktown, Virginia
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Peeps Sunflower Cake

The inspiration for this cake came from one of my favorite flowers, the sunflower. The yellow peeps make eye-catching flower petals, and I carefully placed chocolate chips in a circular pattern to resemble the seeds in the middle of a sunflower. This cake is easy, but looks quite impressive. —Bethany Eledge, Cleveland, Tennessee
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Baby Shark Cake

It doesn’t take much to add a fun theme to a birthday party. This delightfully decorated baby shark cake, plus a few colorful frills, will bring the theme to life. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Red, White & Blueberry Poke Cake

A sweet treat in the summer, this patriotic poke cake with dazzling red and blue stripes is a fun one to make with the kids. —Elisabeth Schulz, Blossvale, New York
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Marvelous Marble Cake

Pound cake and chocolate make the best marble cake. — Ellen Riley, Birmingham, Alabama
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Rainbow Cake with Clouds

Some cakes stand on their own without icing. For this bright Rainbow Cake, use a little whipped cream to make fluffy clouds. —Janet Tigchelaar, Jerseyville, Ontario
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Confetti Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream

This simple and tender cake has been celebrated in my family for years. Dressed up with tinted frosting and confetti, it becomes pure party fun. — Karen Berner, New Canaan, Connecticut
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Coconut-Lemon Ice Cream Cake

This lemon ice cream cake is a cool treat my family loves anytime, but we find it especially refreshing on a hot summer day. The cream of coconut and lemon juice make a delicious combo, and the streusel adds a nice crunch. You can substitute any crunchy sugar, lemon or coconut cookie in place of the shortbread, as long as each cookie is about 2 inches. —Janet Gill, Canton, Ohio
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Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

For my kids' birthdays, I like to top this ice cream birthday cake with jimmies. —Becky Herges, Fargo, North Dakota
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Autumn Tree Cake

You can decorate this special cake any way you like for Halloween or the colorful autumn months. —Marie Parker, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Rustic Honey Cake

When my boys were young, they couldn’t drink milk but they could have yogurt. This was a cake they could eat. And it’s one dessert that doesn’t taste overly sweet, which is always a nice change of pace. —Linda Leuer, Hamel, Minnesota
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Chocolate Gingerbread Yule Log

If you’ve tasted a yule log sponge cake, you’ll love this version with fresh ginger and spices. The holiday stunner can be made ahead. —Lauren Knoelke, Milwaukee, Wisconsin