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decorate cake without piping bag

Five simple cake designing suggestions for those who don’t have cake decorating materials. These desserts are adorned with only what you have on hand.

I’m a little fascinated with baking utensils. Most people, I’m sure, don’t have an armory of cake making tools in their kitchen like I do. Even if you do, there are instances when you just want to work with what you have on hand.

cakes with no tools title graphic

So I’ve come up with some simple cake design ideas that you can use even if you don’t have any instruments.

5 Easy Ways to Decorate Cakes without Tools pin graphic

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • A cooked layer cake (a delectable vanilla cake can be found here). here and a really good chocolate cake here .)
  • I used my preferred vanilla bean buttercream for the frosting. The formula can be found here. here .)
  • If you don’t have a frosting tool, use the straight back edge of a big knife to level the icing.
  • 1 gallon storage containers (You can use a pint capacity, but you’ll have to replenish it with frosting more frequently.) Also, you must use ‘frozen bags’ rather than normal bags. These are simply not robust enough and will result in a frosting explosion. Just take my word for it.
  • Sprinkles (Don’t worry if you don’t have any. Cookie bits are another possibility.)
  • Food coloring (It’s acceptable if you don’t have this either. All of these desserts will appear fantastic)
  • A teaspoon
  • A cookie cutter
  • Vacuum cleaner (because sprinkles be goin’ crazy)

The vanilla bakery-style cake:

Easy Bakery Style Cake

This one appears to be the simplest and fastest of the group. You can tint your frosting with food coloring or keep it white, as I did.

The first thing to do is frost your dessert. If you don’t have a frosting spatula, you can level your buttercream with the back, straight edge of a big knife and then clear up the bottom of your cake dish with a paper towel.

smooth your buttercream

Fill a freezer bag halfway with your frosting. Twist the container and push the frosting into one corner. Cut a piece off your freezer container.

Squeeze out some frosting and make sure you’ve sliced enough of the freezer bag off.

Icing bag from a ziplock

Squeeze out tiny spots around the cake’s lower border.

bottom border

Squeeze out swirls around the top border.

top border of easy cake

Add some sprinkles to the top and voila!

The pleated cake:

Easy Pleated Cake

You should begin with your decorated cake for this dessert. Score straight lines all around with a very clear measure or long knife to create a plumbing grid.

piping guide

Fill your resealable freezer bag with the ingredients and cut off the end like we did for the restaurant style cake above.

Make sure the top seam of your bag is up and the bottom seam is down before you begin sewing your zigzags. You don’t want them to be smooth. (horizontal to the cake).

Simply pipe zigzags all the way up between each line you earned. You’re simply transferring your sewing container from left to right.

Don’t stop until you get to the top of the cake.

Zigzag pleats

Then, for the boarder, paint tiny spots around the upper perimeter of your cake.

top border pleated cake

You can then decorate the top with icing or flames. Mine was kept basic.

The Ruffle Cake:

Begin with the decorated dessert. It does not have to be beautiful. Ruffles will be used to conceal it.

iced cake for ruffle cake

Fill your resealable freezer bag halfway with frosting and cut off one end. Make sure the freezer bag edges are at the top and bottom before you begin sewing. You’ll be doing individual frill braiding. Each frill is shaped like a closed ‘U’.

Pipe one, then proceed to the right to pipe the next. Begin at the bottom and work your way around the base. Then begin on the section above that.

Pipe your ‘U’ squarely above the one below it, overlapping slightly so that the bottom of the ‘U’ covers the pointy portion of the frill beneath it. It’s not going to appear beautiful at this stage, but keep going.

Piping the Ruffles

Pipe some spots around the top of the cake after you’ve gone all the way around it in swirls. I also topped it with white and transparent sparkles.

The Textured Watercolor Cake:

I like this one because it’s difficult to screw up. You can use any hues you want, and because of the structure we make on the cake, you don’t have to stress about making your frosting flawless, and there’s no piping at all with this one.

To begin, combine four various flavors of frosting. One of the hues will be your foundation layer, so prepare enough for the complete dessert.

Remember that this is the primary hue you’ll see.

Now frost your dessert with that basic hue. At this stage, don’t even bother trying to make the frosting appear beautiful.

You want to use a lot because some will be removed during the flattening and molding process, and you don’t want your cake to show through.

Base icing the textured cake

Don’t place your base layer dough in the freezer just yet. For the next stage, this coating must remain uniform and usable.

Now, just spread the other hues you combined onto the cake in odd designs. Don’t neglect about the summit. At this juncture, it will not be pleasant. Don’t freak out.

Step 2 of watercolor cake

Smooth around the edges and top with a frosting scraper or a big knife. You don’t have to stress about making it perfectly flat. The next stage will be to texturize it.

Smoothing the watercolor cake

Take a teaspoon, ideally one with a more pointy edge. Drag the spoon tip around the cake (the underside of the utensil should be facing the cake).

Begin at the bottom, work your way around, and when you get back to where you began, slant it up and resume moving around.

You’ll need to wash the spatula down frequently or the frosting will pile up and create big clusters.

Swirl the point of the spatula around the top of the cake. When you’ve finished detailed the cake, go back over some of the areas where the frosting clumped up and texture those areas until you’re satisfied with the results.

It’ll end up like this:

Watercolor Cake Sides

The Sprinkle Cake:

I used chocolate buttercream on this one, but any hue will do. You’ll need a biscuit mold of your choice. Someone’s names would be adorable, in my opinion.

First ice your cake.

Base icing the sprinkle cake

This is where things get really complicated. Fill a dish halfway with crumbs. Take a fistful of sparkles and gently press them into the cake’s foundation.Simply create a random design.Sprinkles will splatter everywhere.

For this one, I poised over the sink, holding the cake in one hand and grasping frosting with the other.

After you’ve applied the sparkles, use a pastry spatula or paper towel to wipe off the cake board.

Sprinkles around the base

Place a cookie shape on the top of your cake where you want your pattern to be. I placed sparkles inside my slicer with a spoonful and gently pressed them down with the back of my utensil.

Shaped sprinkles

Lift the cookie shape directly up and away from the cake. There may be a few stray sparkles, but wipe them away with a pastry brush or dab a little frosting on the end of a ladle and slightly contact those sprinkles…they’ll adhere to the utensil.

Put some frosting in a freezer bag, snip a corner, and make big dollops around the top of the cake.

Hold the pastry bag directly over the surface of the cake, not contacting it. Squeeze the bag to allow the droplet to form, then release the bag and raise it up.

top border on sprinkle cake

You can either pipe a crystal edge or keep it simple. I like the frosting dollops because, well, what’s wrong with a little additional topping on your cake?

Top of the sprinkle cake

That’s all there is to it! Five methods to adorn a cake with no cake making materials. There are numerous choices available here. You can combine methods from each of these to make your own variations. Have a good time!

Don’t Forget to Pin it for Later!

decorated cakes pin graphic