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Cake Makeover Step by Step

I’m going to show you how to give a store bought cake a makeover! Turn a grocery store cake into a glamorous, custom dessert in a few simple steps.

Why do people do cake makeovers?

There are three reasons why you might choose to re-decorate a grocery store cake:

  1. By decorating a store-bought cake you can save a lot of time, skipping several steps of making a cake: the mixing, baking, cooling and assembly.
  2. If you love a cake flavour from Costco, Walmart, Tesco or any other supermarket or grocery store, you can use that flavour but personalize the decorations.
  3. If you have a cake fail just before an event, re-decorating a grocery store cake is a quick replacement option.

How do you do a cake makeover?

First of all, choose your cake! Most supermarkets or grocery stores have their own bakery departments where they make different flavours and sizes of cakes. When you get home, leave the cake at room temperature to keep the frosting soft, which makes the next steps easiest!

how to do a Cake Makeover

How to scrape a grocery store cake for a cake makeover

First of all, take off any decorations from the cake. Depending on how you want to decorate the cake, you’ll probably have to remove any garnishes like chocolate shavings or fruit. Do this before you scrape off the frosting so that you don’t end up with chunky ingredients in any frosting that you want to re-use.

scrape decorations off grocery store cake for cake makeover

Large garnishes like strawberries are easy to take off but the smaller the garnishes are, the trickier they are. If you miss any and then try to smooth the frosting or decorate with it, chunks of ingredients will make it lumpy.

how to scrape a costco cake for a Cake Makeover

Frosting swirls are easy to remove by scraping over the top of the cake a few times. They are useful for a cake makeover because you can use that frosting to re-frost or re-decorate the cake.

how to scrape a walmart cake for a Cake Makeover

It’s a good idea to have two bowls next to you as you scrape the cake. Use one for garnishes and another one for extra frosting. You probably won’t re-use the garnishes because they’ll be covered with smears of frosting. However, you might choose to re-use the frosting so save that bowl for later!

How to re-frost a grocery store cake

Why would you re-frost a grocery store cake? After taking off the decorations you don’t want, the frosting will probably be messy. You can use any frosting swirls you scraped off to touch up the frosting where you removed any garnishes. Or you can cover the cake with another layer of frosting, for example to replace textured frosting with smooth frosting.

frost over a costco or walmart cake

Alternatively, you can let this first layer set as a crumb coat and then use another frosting like my 4 Minute Buttercream for the final layer. You might do this if you prefer the taste of another frosting or if you want to decorate the cake using a technique that works better with buttercream, like stenciling or carving. I'll share two ideas for decorating grocery store cakes below, and for hundreds of cake decorating designs and techniques, visit my online cake school!

How do you stack grocery store cakes to make a tall cake?

Cakes from supermarkets or grocery stores are usually two layers so they’re quite short. It’s easy to turn them into a tall cake for your makeover. I love tall cakes because it gives you much more space for decorations on the sides of the cake.

how to make double barrel tall cakes with grovery store cakes

To make a tall cake, start by scraping off the garnishes and frosting. Then flip one cake upside down onto another one. Use an offset spatula to loosen the cake board from the top of the cake and remove it.

how to make a tall cake with 2 grocery store cakes

Then stick a boba straw down through the middle of the cake to keep in straight. This way it won't lean to one side. You could use a support structure in the cake with a center cake board but if it’s going to be stored in the fridge and taken out to room temperature just a few hours before serving, it will be stable enough with just this straw. Cut the straw at the top of the cake so it’s invisible and then re-frost and re-decorate your cake.

how to make a tall cake with 2 costco cakes
how to refrost a grocery store cake

How to decorate a grocery store cake with a cake makeover

Now for the fun part: give the cake a makeover by decorating it! There are endless ways you can do this and here are two easy but eye-catching ideas. Using store-bought cakes is a great way to practice cake decorating techniques like these without spending all day baking the cakes first.

Chocolate collar cake

On this tall chocolate cake I’ll show you how to do a chocolate wrap, also called a chocolate collar. Start by melting chocolate chips. If you do this in the microwave, use 70% power for 30 seconds at a time. Then stir until smooth. Spoon the melted chocolate into a sandwich bag and cut a tiny piece off the corner.

Cut a piece of parchment so that it’s a little bit taller than the cake and long enough to wrap all the way around, plus about an inch. Lay it on the counter so that the ends curl upwards, and that way it will wrap easily around the cake later. Then drizzle the melted chocolate over the parchment paper, or you can use baking paper or wax paper.

chocolate wrap cake makeover

Lift the paper up, lower the bottom edge onto the cake board and press it against the cake. Then wrap it around the cake, so that the chocolate sticks to the frosting. It’s easiest to do this after chilling the cake in the fridge so the frosting is cold and firm. Overlap the parchment by about an inch and then trim off any excess parchment paper from the end.

how to cover a grocery store cake with chocolate

Put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to set this chocolate. Peel the parchment off and you’ll leave a beautiful design behind on the cake!

chocolate grocery store costco walmart Cake Makeover

Sprinkle cake

Here’s another fun way to re-decorate a cake. Brush the frosting lightly with water after the frosting has been chilled in the fridge. This way, the frosting will be firm and will hold its shape. Then pour sprinkles into a bowl. Non-pareils work best for this because they’re tiny so don’t add a lot of texture to the cake.

how to cover a grocery store costco walmart cake with sprinkles for Cake Makeover

Put the cake on a tray or baking sheet and then press the sprinkles into the frosting. Even though the frosting has set in the fridge, the sprinkles will stick because of the water.

how to cover a grocery store walmart costco cake with sprinkles for Cake Makeover

You could do this straight after buying or frosting a cake, when it’s at room temperature, but the pressure from your hands will leave impressions in the frosting. By doing this after chilling the cake you'll keep the sides straight and the top level. The tray will catch all of the bouncing sprinkles so they don’t spill all over the room.

How to transfer a cake from a cake board to a cake stand

To complete the grocery store cake makeover, slide an offset spatula underneath the cake. Spin it around to separate it completely from the cake board. You should do this after chilling the cake to set the frosting.

how to transfer a cake from cake board to cake stand

Then lift the cake up and place it on a cake stand. Since the cake has been chilled, you won't damage the frosting with your hands.

how to Cake Makeover

What do you do with a cake makeover cake?

Back to the original question: why do a cake makeover? By decorating a store-bought cake you've saved time because you didn't have to bake and assemble the cake. You've either practiced a cake decorating technique or prepared a cake to serve. If it was a practice, you can scrape it and decorate it again to practice another technique. If you serve it, no one will guess this gorgeously decorated cake started its life in a grocery store!

What do you think? Would you try this? Tell me in the comments! Thanks for watching!

You can watch a video of this tutorial on cake makeovers here:

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