Valentine's DIY: 4 Fool-Proof Ways To Frost A Gorgeous Cake

There is no better way to say "I love you" than with a cake made (and decorated) in your own kitchen. It is the Home-Ec equivalent of a boom box-overhead serenade. And to help you make your confection extra special, we asked instructor and executive pastry chef, Mitchell Hughes, of Berkeley’s Spun Sugar, to share his foolproof ideas for transforming an ordinary dessert into a delectable work of art. From chocolate leaves to sugar gnomes, here are four of the easiest and sweetest ways to declare your undying devotion — in icing!
1 of 32
The Look: Chocolate Leaves

Foraging might be the hottest farm-to-table trend right now. And we had no problem jumping on the bandwagon to make these elegant botanical toppers.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
2 of 32
What you’ll need:
An 8” cake, iced as smoothly as possible
10-12 leaves, stiff, non-toxic, and pesticide-free
½ lb chocolate
Luster powder, optional

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
Advertisement
3 of 32
Step 1: Collect 10 to 12 stiff leaves of varying sizes. Mitchell recommends foliage from camellias, citrus trees, and roses.

Step 2: Melt chocolate with a double boiler, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir constantly.

Step 3: Wash and dry leaves. Coat the back of leaves from stem to ends, using a small pastry brush. Set aside on a cookie sheet.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
4 of 32
Step 4: Refrigerate chocolate-covered leaves for 20 minutes.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
5 of 32
Step 5: Separate the chocolate from leaf by peeling off the leaf with gentle tugs.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
6 of 32
Step 6: (Optional) Dust leaves with luster powder.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
7 of 32
Step 7: Arrange leaves around the side of the cake. Top with two or three leaves.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
Advertisement
8 of 32
The finished product!

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
9 of 32
The Look: Stenciled Frosting

Why should walls have all the fun? Make your cake the canvas, and create a spectacular tapestry in less than 10 minutes, no drying time required.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
10 of 32
What You'll Need:
An 8” cake, frosted as smoothly as possible
Cake stencil
½ cup colored frosting

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
11 of 32
Step 1: Chill cake in freezer for 20 minutes, or refrigerate for 40 minutes to create a non-sticky work surface.

Step 2: Apply stencil, starting on the sides. Hold it in place. Scrape frosting across, using a small offset spatula.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
12 of 32
Step 3: Line the stencil up and continue until the sides are completely stenciled.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
Advertisement
13 of 32
You can leave it like this or...

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
14 of 32
Step 4: Repeat stencil pattern on top.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
15 of 32
Perfection!

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
16 of 32
The Look: Sugar Gnomes

A steady hand is all that’s required for your happily ever after. Seriously, this kitschy fairytale scene makes us smile every time.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
17 of 32
What You'll Need:
A 8” cake, iced as smoothly as possible
1 large marshmallow
½ cup chocolate icing
½ cup green icing
Ateco 16 star tip
Ateco 133 hairy furry grassy tip
Pastry bag
Sugar gnome figurines

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
Advertisement
18 of 32
Step 1: Chill cake in the freezer for 20 minutes, or refrigerate for 40 minutes.

Step 2: Create the tree stump by topping the cake with 1 large marshmallow.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
19 of 32
Step 3: Fill pastry bag with chocolate icing, and attach Ateco tip 16. Evenly pipe vertical lines to cover sides of marshmallow.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
20 of 32
Step 4: Swirl the top from outside in to cover the top.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
21 of 32
Step 5: Create grass: Fill pastry bag with green icing, and attach Ateco tip 133. Pipe grass around the stump and around the base.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
22 of 32
Step 6: People your forest with gnomes, candy rocks, jelly beans, you name it.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
Advertisement
23 of 32
Yep. Pretty darn cute.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
24 of 32
The Look: Fruity

Let nature be your muse. Create a fancy fruit spread with the freshest picks and most vibrant colors you can find.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
25 of 32
Step 1: Cut up all your fruit into thin slices. Brush slices with lemon juice to prevent browning.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
26 of 32
Keep cutting...

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
27 of 32
And cutting...

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
Advertisement
28 of 32
Step 2: Arrange the fruit slices into fan shapes, and tuck under the berries.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
29 of 32
Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
30 of 32
Step 3: (Optional) Create stars on the edges and base, using Ateco tip 16.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
31 of 32
Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
32 of 32
Fruit-tastic.

Photographed by Jasmine Gregory
Advertisement