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Eight ways to make your cake deliciously decorative

Whether you’re looking to top your cupcakes in style or perfect the ultimate fruity finish, put the ‘icing on the cake’ with these brilliant decorating tips.

  1. Layer it up

    Make a basic sponge look super fancy with just a few malted chocolate bites. After icing, simply add the sweet treats in layers, making sure there are no gaps. Ta-dah!

    Layer it up
  2. Drizzle with caramel

    No-one will be able to resist a cake with sticky-sweet caramel dripping down the sides, and as this kind of presentation is naturally quite messy, it's an easy decorating technique to try. Buy a ready-made caramel sauce to start with, such as with this popcorn cake, then try making your own as on this chocolate salted caramel bundt cake. For a flavour twist, this classic coffee and walnut cake has a bitter-sweet coffee caramel drizzle, or you can even go vegan with these pretty dairy-free caramel cupcakes.

    Drizzle with caramel
  3. Top with meringues

    Another option where you can opt for shop-bought or homemade, is to decorate your cakes with mini meringues. Not only do they look gorgeous, but they add height and texture with a crisp shell to balance mounds of rich and creamy frosting. We love them as part the classic flavour combinations in this Eton mess cake and these cute lemon meringue cupcakes. For more American inspiration, try piping your own to top this chocolatey s'mores cake.

    Top with meringues
  4. Get naked

    Show off the beautiful layers of your cake by leaving the sides 'naked' for an effortlessly elegant finish. This is particularly effective with colourful fillings such as in this raspberry and rose cake, or the layers of this hazelnut and chocolate cake. A thin layer of icing such as on this carrot cake gives a lovely crumb effect, too.

    Get naked
  5. Create candied fruits

    When candied or crystalised, zingy slices of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit become sticky and sweet, meaning the whole fruit can be eaten and they will last a lot longer than when fresh. Try with sugar-crusted lime slices on this classic gin and tonic cake, or with sticky, caramelised oranges on this stunning Negroni stripe cake or this orange and almond cake.

    Create candied fruits
  6. Hide a surprise inside

    Decorations don't have to just be on the outside of your next cake creation. Using colourful designs on the inside will wow guests when the cake is cut into, for example the plain white icing of this rainbow cake hides the vibrant, multi-coloured layers of sponge underneath. Kids will love the hidden 'carrots' within this chocolate carrot cake, or the pile of sweets that tumble out of this Piñata cake.

    Hide a surprise inside
  7. Shave some chocolate

    A classic for a reason, chocolate curls and shavings bring a touch of sophistication to the simplest of bakes. Run a large knife over the flat side of a chocolate bar to create long shards, or use a vegetable peeler to peel off short curls down the edge. They look gorgeous decorating these mini chiffon cakes or as an all-over topping for this raspberry marble cake.

    Shave some chocolate
  8. Keep it fresh

    Let fruity cakes sing with a bountiful display of fresh produce. Although these won't keep as well as some other decorations, they are great for occasion cakes to feed a crowd. In summer, try this Pimm's layer cake which is topped and filled with juicy strawberries, refreshing cucumber and fragrant mint, while the tropical flavours of this vegan celebration cake are highlighted with a topping of beautiful mango slices and shaved coconut.

    Keep it fresh