Save Money with DIY Wedding Cake Piping Techniques

Save Money with DIY Wedding Cake Piping Techniques |

We’re all about DIY Weddings this month. And one of the biggest money savers is making your own Wedding Cake.

Get the recipe for this Strawberry & Honeyed Ricotta Naked Wedding Cake (All supplies under $25!) 

Though you can pay hundreds (or thousands!) for a professional pastry chef to pipe together a cake, why not hit the grocery store, grab a box of cake mix, and make your own? It’s surprisingly easy to create a stunning cake using a few basic ingredients from the grocery store, a box of disposable icing bags, and 3 icing tips.

The total cost to make our own, buying all ingredients, parts and pieces from scratch, rang in right around $25. Not too bad for a traditional treat that often starts from $250+.

Two Basic DIY Wedding Cake Tricks

  • Make Your Own Buttercream. Avoid the temptation to buy premade frosting. For truly beautiful icing, homemade whipped buttercream is really the best. We’ve listed our favorite piping recipe at the bottom of the post.
  • Frost a 24-Hour Cooled Cake. For best results, frost a cake which has chilled overnight. The cake should be cool to the touch, so icing doesn’t melt or drip, but stays in place once iced. For box mixes, 24 hours of cooling also allow the texture of the cake to mellow, they actually taste better the next day!

Three Basic Tips & Piping Techniques


One of the most easy-to-use decor tips (even for cake novices!), the large star tip is great for creating stunning swirls atop your cake. Use it for:

ROSES – Swirl buttercream in giant spirals all over the top and sides of your cake and you’ll have a stunning “rose covered” cake. This technique looks incredibly beautiful when each layer is piped with a slightly darker pasta, creating an “ombre” look.
RUFFLES – There are two options here. Either pipe buttercream straight down onto the cake, hovering the icing bag about 1” above while squeezing the frosting onto the cake. OR turn the piping bag sideways, at a 60º angle, then pipe and pull, pipe and pull. You’ll get a pretty ruffle, perfect for running around the cake, or between cake layers.


Smaller than the large star tip, you can create stunning textures and shapes that nicely complement those piped by a large star. Use it for:

STARBURSTS – Pipe buttercream straight down onto the cake, allow just a little bit of frosting to press onto the cake, then pull quickly up. You’ll get teardrop shaped “starbursts” that look beautiful in colorful clusters around the cake.

MINI SWIRLS – Similar to the rose technique above, swirl icing into tight spirals around the top and sides of the cake to create a professional look.

ROUND TIP (#4 or snipped bag)

No piping tip needed for this one, you can simply snip the top of an icing bag. Or, for extra control, grab a #4 tip–which comes in handy for writing. Use it for:

DAINTY DOTS – With the icing tip very close to the cake, but not touching, quickly pipe a small dot of buttercream onto the cake to create teensy little polka dots. Pipe them in a pattern for a modern look. Or pipe them in clusters for a beautiful lacy look.
WRITING – Find a friend with a steady hand and elegant scrawl, and have them pipe a pretty message, lovely lattice or swirling scrolls around the cake.

And this is just the beginning! Icing like a pro is surprisingly easy to do. With a well-prepped cake, the proper homemade icing, and a few easy ideas in mind, every cake you make will look like a million bucks.

BUY NOW: 27-piece Cake Decoration Tips Set

Best Piping Buttercream for Cake Decorating

YIELD: Enough for one 9” cake
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes

1 (2 lb) bag powdered sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
1 Tbsp clear vanilla
4-6 Tbsp milk

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and 2 Tbsp milk. Beat until well mixed. Add milk 1 Tbsp at a time, until smooth and fluffy. Pipe while at room temperature.

Save Money with DIY Wedding Cake Piping Techniques |


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