Ludy's Top 10 Must-Haves for Cake Decorating With Buttercream

Ludy's Top 10 Must-Haves for Cake Decorating With Buttercream

Baking may be a long-time or recent hobby for you, but decorating those cakes can be a bit intimidating. That's why we asked home baker Ludy (@cakesbyludy) about what she recommends for someone just getting started out with baking. As someone who turned her decorating hobby into a second source of income, we knew she'd have the insider knowledge we were looking for. Here's what she says:

"If you bake cakes and want to take it a step further by learning how to decorate beautiful cakes, these are the essential tools that even professional cake decorators use to make impressive cakes that won't go unnoticed. These tools will be perfect for a home baker, or a small business as they won't break the bank but will also last you a long time."

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Ludy Dunn
Home Baker
  • Ateco
    Decorating Comb and Icing Smoother


    Ludy Dunn

    Getting smooth buttercream on a cake gives it a clean, professional look, and this classic Ateco icing smoother does just that. It's aluminum, lightweight, and fits nicely in the hand. 

    I also like that it has three other sides with different shapes that can be used to create beautiful designs and make your cake stand out from the rest. You can also get this in a three-sided version or a set of the two types. 

    To achieve the best results, make sure your buttercream-covered cake is chilled in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then get it out and scrape the excess buttercream to achieve the right smoothness.
  • Wilton
    Angled Spatula


    Ludy Dunn

    This Wilton angled spatula is functional and helps evenly apply buttercream to the sides and top of your cake with ease. This one is just the right size at nine inches; it's not too big, but it's not too small for average-sized cakes (six inches or eight inches). 

    You can pick up your fresh buttercream icing and, using the spatula, and gently spread it on the sides of the cake or on top of the cake. Then you can use other tools in the list to smooth it out or add some sort of design to it.
  • Kootek
    Rotating Cake Turntable


    Ludy Dunn

    A turntable is very essential because it gives you 360-degree access to the cake by turning it with your fingers. It helps save time and because it's so functional, and it helps you get beautiful, smooth, and well-decorated cakes. 

    This one is perfect especially for beginners as it is less expensive; as you perfect your craft, though, you may need to invest in a metal one that is much more durable. This option is available in three different colors, too, so you can customize your decorating experience even further!
  • Weetiee
    Reusable Piping Bags


    Ludy Dunn

    These reusable piping bags are excellent tools to help apply buttercream to your cake, and they're also great for decorating when using them with piping tips. They come in various sizes depending on your needs, and their reusable properties also make them an eco-friendly option. 

    It takes a bit of practice to get it right, but all you need to do is put a piping tip at the end of the bag and then put buttercream in the bag. Then, gently press on it while making beautiful designs and flowers. I highly recommend these!
  • Wilton
    8-Piece Decorating Tip Starter Set


    Ludy Dunn

    There are a variety of decorating tips out there, different shapes, designs, and sizes. As a cake decorator, you will soon find the ones you use the most, whether that's round, petal, leaf, or star tips.

    This set is perfect for the beginning stages of learning which tips you need as it contains the most-used tips to pipe different types of designs and flowers. It also comes in a case that keeps your tips organized, clean, and secure.
  • AmeriColor
    Food Coloring Student Kit


    Ludy Dunn

    Getting a variety of colors or the right color for your cake is important, but you also want to get a color that doesn't have an aftertaste like these gels. Gel colors are usually more potent and produce rich vibrant colors when you add them to your cake batter or buttercream with no strange aftertaste. 

    This Americolor student kit is perfect as you start out decorating cakes as it has all the main colors you typically need. You'll be able to whip up every color of the rainbow and have the ability to darken your shades with black gel.
  • KitchenAid
    Standing Mixer


    Ludy Dunn

    This stand mixer can mix large batches of buttercream for you, and the end result is usually perfectly smooth and creamy. Also, mixing cake batter with a stand mixer helps it become fluffy and airy to get a good rise (which means a moist, delicious cake). 

    You can choose between 10 different speed settings, and you can easily tilt back the head of the mixer for easy removal of the mixing bowl and paddles. It's on the expensive side, but it's a great investment as they do last a long time depending on how often you use it.
  • Wilton
    Cake Circles


    Ludy Dunn

    The right kind of cake drum or cake board matters a lot. I recommend getting grease-proof drums like these so that when you decorate your cakes, the grease from the cake doesn't seep into the board and give it a messy, unprofessional look. 

    These are also sturdy and also great for stacking cake layers as you decorate your cake. They come in four different sizes (all round), so you can buy some for larger cakes or ones that require a bit of extra space for elaborate decorations.
  • Wilton
    6-inch Layer Cake Pan Set


    Ludy Dunn

    Many beginner cake decorators might not know this, but the cake pan you use can totally determine the texture and shape of your cake. These Wilton cake pans bake cakes evenly and, usually, with straight edges. This helps you achieve straight cake sides when decorating.

    I like that these won't break the bank, are durable, and are available in a standard six-inch round size. These are also two inches in height each, so the end result will be a four-inch cake that you can use for compact orders.
  • Wilton
    Cake Leveler


    Ludy Dunn

    We've all experienced it at least once. Sometimes when you bake cake layers, they rise in the center, which makes stacking and decorating layers difficult. Cutting those risen cake layers with a cake leveler makes each layer even, so you can say goodbye to those problems. 

    This leveler has a nice, ergonomic handle and can be adjusted to different heights to suit your different cake layers. You'll have perfectly-leveled cakes in no time!