The first step to decorating any cake is to frost it. Remember, when frosting cakes, wait until they are completely cool. If the cakes are warm, the butter in the frosting will melt and make a mess.

How to Frost a Sheet Cake

A large icing spatula is the best tool for frosting sheet cakes. You can frost a sheet cake after taking it out of the baking pan, or just frost the top if you plan to leave it in the baking pan.

Frosting a Sheet Cake Out of the Pan

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  1. Mound 2 cups frosting in center of cake. Then use icing spatula to spread frosting evenly to edges of cake.
  1. Use remaining 1 cup of frosting to frost sides of cake. Use icing spatula to gently smooth out bumps around sides of cake and to tidy areas where frosting on top and side merge. Then run spatula over top of cake again to smooth out any remaining bumps.

Frosting a Sheet Cake in the Pan

Mound 2 cups of frosting in center of cake. Use icing spatula to spread frosting evenly to edges of cake.

How to Decorate a Sheet Cake

Once you know how to make a smooth-frosted cake, you have a blank canvas for some super-fun decorations. Here are some of our favorite ways to dress up sheet cakes.

Decorating a Sheet Cake Out of the Pan

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Add Texture: One of the simplest ways to decorate a cake is to give the frosting some texture. You can make wavy lines or a striped pattern by dragging a fork (or a cake comb) around the cake’s sides or across the cake’s top.

Bottom Border: This simple trick is one of the most elegant treatments, but it also camouflages any imperfections at the base of the cake. Press whole candies or nuts, one at a time, around the bottom edge of the cake. Instead of candies or nuts, you can also use fruit!

Coat the Sides: Coating the sides with small adornments—sprinkles, toasted coconut, chocolate shavings, crushed candies, cookies, or nuts—is an easy way to add visual appeal. Take a small amount of the ingredient in your hand and press it against the sides.

Decorating a Sheet Cake in the Pan

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Create Swirls: Press back of soupsoon into frosting, then twirl it as you lift it away to make artful swoops.

Dress the Top: Sprinkle crushed cookies, shredded coconut, or chocolate shavings over top of cake to cover.

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Mark Each Slice: Use a small garnish, such as a berry or nut, or even a piece of candy to mark each slice of cake. When you slice cake, cut between garnishes so that each slice has garnish in center.

Pipe Polka Dots: Place frosting (different color than frosting used to cover cake) in small zipper-lock bag. Using scissors, make small snip, cutting off corner of bag. Hold top of bag (above frosting) with one hand. Squeeze bag gently to pipe out small amount of frosting, then stop squeezing bag. Pull bag straight away from cake to make neat dot. Repeat to make more dots.