Try these four ideas for cake decorating with a spoon! You'll create quick and easy texture without any special tools. Bonus: you don't need to get your frosting perfectly smooth for any of these techniques!
#1 Vertical "swooshes"
This first technique is great if you struggle with getting your frosting super smooth. Spread frosting onto your cake and scrape around the cake a few times with a straight cake comb. Don’t worry about indents or air pockets or imperfections because you'll cover those up next. Instead, focus on getting straight sides on the cake as you scrape. To do that, press your cake comb down on the cake board to line it up straight against the cake. Tidy up the top edge but again, don’t worry about getting it perfect.
Now add texture with a spoon! Press the back of the spoon lightly against the frosting as you drag the spoon up the side. The spoon will cover up imperfections like this seam in the frosting! The spoon will pull the frosting into a peak up above the top edge of the cake. This gorgeous texture creates a new top edge, which is why you don't need to make it perfectly straight at the beginning.
Here’s a secret for all of these techniques: heat your spoon! Dip the spoon into a glass of hot water every minute or so, which keeps the spoon hot. That will help smooth the frosting and prevent air bubbles in the frosting. Dry the spoon after dipping it in the water so it doesn’t drip onto the frosting. With a hot spoon you can create neat texture AND perfect the frosting at the same time!
#2 Rustic horizontal grooves
Here’s another idea for cake decorating with a spoon to create texture. Start immediately after frosting your cake, while the frosting is still soft. Just like with the last technique, don’t worry about getting perfectly smooth frosting. This texture is going to cover all of that up. Use a cake comb a few times to make sure you have straight sides on the cake. Scrape over the top edge of the cake but don't take the time to get it straight and sharp and neat. Instead, just remove excess frosting for now.
Rest your spoon on the cake board, hold it sideways. Press it lightly against the frosting as you spin the cake on a turntable. Now that you know the hot spoon trick, this won’t be a surprise but look at the difference if you don’t heat the spoon!
For these first grooves around the bottom of the cake, the spoon sticks to the frosting and pulls it. This creates little tears or air bubbles or air pockets in the frosting. After dipping the spoon into a glass of hot water, the hot metal glides over the frosting instead of sticking to it. The spoon doesn't tear the frosting and the textured frosting is much neater now:
I love this technique because it's very forgiving. If you don't like a section you can go over it again to create new texture over the top. The technique is also very versatile. For example, here I've used the tip of the spoon to make narrow, shallow grooves. You can use the widest part of the back of the spoon to create wider and deeper grooves instead. Spin the cake continuously as you gradually pull the spoon up the sides of the cake to overlap the texture and create this pretty rustic effect.
At the top of the cake you’ll create a lip of frosting that bulges up above the cake. You can stop here or tidy it up with an offset spatula by swiping sideways. This pushes the lip across the top of the cake and you'll lift it off on your offset spatula. You'll create a neat, straight edge around the top of the cake.
Remember to wipe your offset spatula on a towel or paper towel after each time you swipe so that you don’t drag dregs of frosting back onto your neat edge. This rustic technique for cake decorating with a spoon is so pretty!
#3 Curved texture
I love the variety of textures you can create by cake decorating with a spoon. Here’s another technique to try straight after frosting your cake. Same as for the previous two technqiues, you don’t need to have perfected smooth frosting for this to look amazing.
Press your spoon gently against the cake and twist in in a curve to make a C shape. Or, depending on the direction you choose, a U or an N. A hot spoon will smooth the frosting within the shape, making this much neater than if you skip heating it. I think overlapping the texture looks the best because it makes the entire frosting textured. Spacing the shapes out around the frosting can look a bit strange.
Keep going right up to the top of the cake so that the texture covers the entire cake. You can create texture on the top of the cake too, using the same curving motion. Around the edges of the top it’s best to curve the spoon from the outer edge towards the middle of the cake. This drags the frosting inwards instead of pushing it out, which would create bulges around the top edge of the cake.
This is a quick way to cover a cake completely with texture, without needing a fancy textured cake comb.
#4 Scalloped texture
This final technique is my favourite method of cake decorating with a spoon. After covering your cake with a crumb coat, frost only the top of the cake. Smooth that frosting and then scrape around the sides of the cake to take off any frosting that’s sticking out. This leaves the sides of the cake straight with no frosting bulges.
A glass of hot water will give you the best results for this technique. You’ll also need a piping bag, ideally with a round piping tip. If you don’t have a round piping tip you can use a piping bag without a piping tip. Cut the end of your piping bag to be the size you want and you'll pipe through that hole. If you're using multiple colours and piping bags, cut all of the holes the same size.
Squeeze a dot of frosting onto the cake. I started at the top of the cake but I recommend starting at the bottom. I'll show you why in a moment. Straight after piping the dot, dip your spoon into the hot water and dry it. Then press the back of your hot spoon into the dot and drag sideways. You'll create what looks like a tail on the dot. You’ll get used to the pressure you need after the first dot or two. You need enough pressure to flatten the dot and to pull some of the frosting across the cake but you don’t want to push so hard that you expose the crumb coat underneath the dot.
Continue around the cake, squeezing each dot of frosting over the top of the tail of the previous dot. By overlapping them, each new dot will cover up any exposed frosting around the tail of the previous dot.
At the end of each row you can’t drag the dot sideways with your spoon because the next dot is in the way. Instead, leave it as a dot rather than a scallop. I would display this cake on a dessert table so that the final dots in the design were at the back of the cake so they wouldn’t be visible. I like to press a sprinkle into the middle of each dot.
You can use the same colour of frosting for this texture all over the cake or change every row. I started with pale pink and now I’m adding some more gel to make a darker pinky purple. That way I can use the leftover frosting from the first row of scallops. I do the same for each row to always use up the leftovers by turning them into my next colour.
If you’re using more than one colour, couplers make this technique much quicker. Without couplers you have to squeeze leftover frosting out of the piping bag to then push the tip out through the top of the bag. With a coupler you attach the piping tip to the outside of the bag. This way, after using the tip with one colour of frosting you just unscrew the piping tip and move it onto another bag with another colour of frosting. Squeeze the bag so the last little bit of the previous colour comes through the piping tip and it’s ready to go!
The trickiest part of this texture is spacing it so that it covers the whole cake from top to bottom. It's common to have to squish in the final row or pipe the last row of dots bigger so that you can fill the remaining space on the cake. For this reason, I suggest starting at the bottom of the cake and working your way up. By doing this you have a bit more leeway around the top of the cake than at the bottom, since the cake board provides a very definitely end point to the cake at the bottom but at the top, it’s not really noticeable if the scallops finish just above or just below that layer of frosting you spread onto the top of the cake.
Keeping your spoon hot makes for the smoothest frosting on the scallops. Also, it’s important to wipe the back of the spoon off on a towel or paper towel so that it stays clean. After pressing the spoon against a few dots you’ll notice frosting start to build up on the back of the spoon and if you then press the spoon onto another dot, you’ll drag that built-up frosting across the dot. You’ll see that texture sitting on the surface of the scallop.
I love the look of this scallop shaped texture! Even the back of the cake looks pretty with the final dots decorated with sprinkles:
I hope you enjoyed these techniques for cake decorating with a spoon! Visit my cake school to learn hundreds of cake decorating techniques and designs and join my ClubPLUS for access to every MiniCourse, MasterCourse, Live Workshop AND 5 Minute Fridays!