12 Cake Tips & Tricks | Bakes and Blunders
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12 Cake Tips and Tricks for Beginners

When I trace back to the moment I really, truly fell in love with baking, it was when I made The Cookie Cake for my son’s 2nd birthday.  (If you haven’t read my About Me page yet, hop on over there after you enjoy this post!) Accomplishing such a feat of design was such a proud moment for me!  With these 12 Cake Tips and Tricks, I hope you will feel bold enough to try something new with your next cake.


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While I love to bake anything and everything, I think we all know that you are expected to produce gorgeous cakes if you call yourself a baker.  Boxed cakes are great, but making one from scratch can be incredibly satisfying. Either way, with some basic cake tips and tricks, your cake will be the star of your next birthday party.



Cake Tips and Tricks



Lemon Blueberry Cake | Bakes and Blunders

  • FlourCake flour is great for producing light, airy cakes. If a recipe calls for only all- purpose flour, try substituting some of it with cake flour.  I do this with a lot of my cakes.  However, some cakes need the gluten content of all purpose flour.  Start out by substituting just a bit at first. This Lemon Blueberry Cake uses just cake flour!




  • Coffee + ChocolateAdd espresso powder or use cold coffee instead of water when making chocolate cake. The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor without leaving behind a coffee flavor.  Check out the Black Magic Cake I made for my birthday!  

Scooping out cupcake batter

  • Perfectly Portioned CupcakesScoops aren’t just for cookies! Use a #20 scoop or a regular ice cream scoop for regular sized cupcakes and a small cookie scoop (heaping tablespoon) for mini cupcakes.  I used the mini scoop when I made the Mini Dark Chocolate Cupcakes.
    • Note: Some batters can be very thin. In this case, I suggest using a measuring glass to pour batter into the tins.


  • Easy FillingsUse an apple corer to make holes in regular sized cupcakes for tasty fillings.  You can buy a cupcake corer, but why waste your money and kitchen real estate on a one hit wonder?  I’ve also seen other bakers use the wide end of a piping nozzle, but I’ve had better success with the apple corer.  Make sure to go down just about halfway. You don’t want filling coming out the bottom!

Leftover chocolate cake batter in a waffle iron


  • Use Leftover Batter

  If you have leftover cupcake batter, but not enough to pull out another cupcake pan, try using it in your waffle maker.  The leftover batter from my Mini Dark Chocolate Cupcakes tastes like a brownie!  This is definitely one of my favorite of the cake tips and tricks because it’s a great way to avoid waste.


Piping Tips for Beginners | Bakes and Blunders


Decorating Pointers


  • Cool Cakes CompletelyMake sure your cake is completely cool before adding any frosting. A warm cake will melt your delicious frosting and make a mess, so I suggest waiting at least an hour for them to cool.  It’s best to allow yourself plenty of time for cake decorating.
Crumb coated cake
Rose & Cardamom Cake
  • Trap Those CrumbsDo a thin coat of frosting to trap crumbs (crumb coat) and place the cake in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to firm up. This will make your top coat much easier to apply.  You won’t have to worry about crumbs in your frosting and the chilled crumb coat will provide a smoother, firmer surface for frosting application.



Related Reading: 7 Reasons You Can’t Make a Perfect Cake


  • Backup PlanAlways have a plan B for decorating. There are many factors that can affect your plan for decorating, such as the weather and your ingredients. Aim high, but have a simpler plan in case there are any issues.  For example, my frosting was too soft when I attempted the design transfer for my Kryptonite Cake, but I was able to pop it back into the freezer and try again.  If the design transfer had been a complete blunder, I would have left the cake blank, added texture to the cream cheese frosting and decorated with more strawberry slices.


Resources for Cakes and Cupcakes


  • Cupcake Jemma

    She is a great baker in London who specializes in cakes and cupcakes. Her recipes range in difficulty and she has great tutorials (masterclasses) for some baking basics.

  • Sugar Geek Show

    Liz Marek is a cake decorating master! Her cakes are stunning and true pieces of art. She has great videos that will help you master simple skills. Personally, I enjoy watching the more complicated videos for inspiration.

  • BB Bakes Sugar Art

BB Bakes Sugar Art
Photo courtesy of BB Bakes Sugar Art

  Cute, in depth tutorials for cake decorating.  Brenda’s characters will transport you to a magical world!  

Love Cake Create Christmas
Photo courtesy of Love Cake Create

  Unique, beautiful tutorials for cake decorating.  While I love over the top cake creations, I appreciate Caroline’s “less is more” approach.  Her designs are simple, elegant, and stunning.




I hope these 12 Cake Tips and Tricks have been able to build your confidence with cakes.  If you haven’t checked them out yet, I suggest reading up on basic Baking Tips and Tricks, as well as my top Cookie Tips and Tricks.  And if you are wanting to really take your cake game to the next level, check out these posts:

12 Cake Tips & Tricks | Bakes and Blunders

There’s a lot to learn in the small world of your kitchen.  Don’t be afraid to be bold and try something new! A great approach I like to use is to try ONE completely new thing, but keep the rest of your bake easy and manageable.  This way you’re only dealing with one set of unknown variables and the task will be something you can achieve with confidence (or bake trying)!  


If you know a fellow baker that is always looking to improve their cakes, make sure to share this helpful list with them!


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Hi there! I’m Colleen, a novice baker with a passion for learning and improving my bakes… and blunders. On Bakes and Blunders, you can find all sorts of tasty recipes that range in difficulty, but most importantly, I’ll try to explain the reason behind important steps. If you know why a recipe works, you can tweak and adapt it to suit your unique tastes, and you’ll be able to reliably produce some very delicious treats. If you love baking and want to expand and grow your skills, or if you are a casual baker and just need some pointers, my blog is right up your alley! Join me on my baking journey and we’ll learn how to make more impressive recipes together.


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