Decorating Cakes: Finishing Touches

Dress up your cakes with easy garnishes: fresh flowers, chocolate shavings, or sugar-frosted fruits.

Fresh edible flowers make gorgeous and easy decorations. Top a frosted cake or a plain cake dusted with confectioners’ sugar with sweet violets, lavender, honeysuckle, rose petals, borage, bachelor’s buttons, johnny-jump ups, or calendulas. You can add a dollop of whipped cream so that some of your flowers are raised up off the surface of the cake; arrange the flowers like you would a floral arrangement.

  • Dusting the flowers with superfine sugar adds an elegant, sparkly effect. (Candied violets and candied rose petals are available at cake decorating supply stores and some supermarkets.)
  • Be sure that the flowers are clean, all the parts you are using are non-toxic, and that they are pesticide-free.
Candied Flowers

Candied Flowers | Photo by Meredith

Fresh berries can be piled on top of your cake, whether plain, sugared, or glazed with a shiny syrup.

  • Cut fruit will not last as long as whole berries, so be sure to serve your cake within a few hours of decorating to prevent fruit from “weeping” into the cake or frosting.
Sweet Candied Orange and Lemon Peel

Sweet Candied Orange and Lemon Peel | Photo by Kim’s Cooking Now


Toasted or candied nuts are terrific on carrot cakes and spice cakes. Finely chopped or coarsely ground nuts can be pressed into the sides of a frosted cake, or along the bottom edge, for added flavor and texture (and to hide thumbprints, dents, or other small flaws).

Candied Pecan Bits

Candied Pecan Bits | Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Chocolate Curls

Use a vegetable peeler to shave curls off of a large chocolate block. Warm the chocolate slightly by rubbing the palm of your hand over the surface a few times. (For best results, use a thick baker’s block of chocolate, not a thin candy bar-sized one.) Wear gloves or use a spatula when transferring them to your cake, so the heat from your hands doesn’t melt them.

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Extreme Chocolate Cake | Photo by Jessica

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