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45 Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Dress up your birthday or holiday cake with these easy 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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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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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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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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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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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 baking cocoa than most red velvet cakes, making it extra chocolaty. Feel free to change the color of the food coloring to suit the occasion. I'm proud to say that this recipe won a blue ribbon in the holiday cake division at the 2006 Alaska State Fair. I think this award-winning red velvet cake recipe 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 crowd. It's always popular at potlucks and 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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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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Chocolate-Filled Angel Food Cake

This decadent angel food cake has a secret tunnel of Amaretto-and-chocolate-flavored whipped cream and a luscious chocolate glaze. It's sure to impress. —Leah Rekau, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Coconut Citrus Layer Cake

Make a showstopper holiday treat: tender white cake layered with tangy grapefruit curd and topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting. To make it more spectacular add a little toasted coconut and some citrus garnishes. Your guests will never guess you started with a convenient boxed mix. —Carmell Childs, Ferron, UT
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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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Chocolate & Peppermint Ice Cream Roll

Here's an extra-special treat from the freezer. Peppermint ice cream rolled into a homemade chocolate cake gives dinner a refreshing finale. —Jill Evely, Wilmore, Kentucky
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Lemon Ricotta Cake

This 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 Icebox 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, no muss, 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

This patriotic-themed cake makes a stunningly delicious centerpiece on any summer celebration table. To honor our troops, pass it along to all your family and friends! —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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Chocolate Cherry Layer Cake

This luscious cake is really versatile for all-year fun. I've changed the design on top to a heart for Valentine's, a pumpkin for autumn and a tree for Christmas. —Flo Burtnett, Gage, Oklahoma
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Cranberry Cake with Tangerine Frosting

Sugary cranberries and candied citrus dress up to this smartly elegant cake. It’s my favorite Christmas dessert for its sheer wow factor. &mdashSandy Gaulitz, Spring, Texas
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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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Red Velvet Crepe Cakes

It's well worth the time to make this beautiful and delicious cake. Each moist layer is separated by a rich and creamy filling. Treat your family on special occasions with this cake. —Crystal Heaton, Alton, Utah
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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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Layered Peppermint Icebox Cake

Our home economists take four ingredients and turn them into an impressive, no-bake cake. Do-ahead desserts don't get any better! —Taste Of Home Test Kitchen
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Giant Cupcake Pumpkin

Make a smiley statement by decorating a whole tray of cupcakes. Once everyone’s seen the big picture, they can all take a treat. —Gena Lott, Ogden, Utah
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Ice Cream Birthday Cake

When we were young, Mom made birthday cakes with a small toy on top, chosen just for us. Now that I'm a parent, I go 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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Mint-Frosted Chocolate Cake

I often make a peanut butter version of this cake but wanted to switch things up by introducing a new flavor. I tinkered with the recipe and decided mint was my new go-to ingredient. My son came up with the idea for the frosting. The rest is delicious history! The cake is fragile, so freezing the layers makes them easier to handle. —Melanie Cooksey, Monroe, Georgia
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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

Rachel Seis
As senior editor for Taste of Home magazine, Rachel has her hand in everything you see from cover to cover, from writing and editing articles to taste-testing recipes to ensuring every issue is packed with fun and fabulous content. She'll roll up her sleeves to try any new recipe in the kitchen—from spicy Thai dishes (her favorite!) to classic Southern comfort food (OK...also her favorite). When she's not busy thinking of her next meal, Rachel can be found practicing yoga, going for a run, exploring National Parks and traveling to new-to-her cities across the country.
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