There are a zillion ways to prettify a cake, but one of the simplest is to decorate it with a piped-frosting border. Bonus: Piping is super-easy to do. All you need is a great buttercream frosting recipe , a pastry bag and the 10 different styles of borders we describe below (with advice for making each), and you're good to go!
1. Shell Border
Yup, you'll find traditional shell borders on just about every supermarket cake. For something more modern, try a smaller star-shaped shell. Start piping out your buttercream frosting. After you've pushed your shell, swipe the tip to create a thin tail. Pipe the next shell on top of the tail, then do the whole thing again. The goal is to hide each tail, so repeat after us: Pipe, stop, swipe!
2. Scallop Border
Scallop borders are perfect for grown-up party cakes, especially if you keep 'em small. Just use a plain round tip and follow the formula for the shell border (pipe, stop, swipe).
3. Star Border
This is a great border for newbie cake decorators . To make it more fun, alternate different colored frosting. Use a closed star piping tip and push out small blobs of royal icing or buttercream along the cake's base.
4. Rosette Border
Fancy, no? You'll need a small closed star piping tip. Start at the rosette's center and pipe in a fluid, counter-clockwise direction. Flick to finish.
5. Rose Border
These look like rosettes, but mega! Plus, they overlap slightly. This border calls for a medium or large closed star piping tip. Begin the same way you would for a rosette border. But instead of finishing your swirl with the tail on top, pipe the tail off to the side. This way, when you pipe the next rose, the tail will be hidden.
6. Scroll Border
Scrolls are great borders for big-deal-occasion cakes, like wedding cakes . Think of the scrolls as a series of sideways C shapes, alternating between Cs that face up and face down. Your mantra: Pipe, curve and swipe.
7. Pleated Border
Pleats look hard, but they're not! A leaf piping tip is all you need. As you pipe, move your bag back and forth in wave-like motions. Your frosting should fold over and over again.
8. Fleur de Lis Border
This eye-catching border is surprisingly easy. Begin by piping an upside-down teardrop, then add smaller curved teardrops on either side. Repeat until you've circled your cake.
9. Ruffle Border
Ruffles are fashionable and oh so pretty. Use a straight petal piping tip with the fatter end touching the cake. Place the piping tip a little higher up the cake than normal. Pipe a ruffled skirt around the base of the cake, going a bit faster than normal to get the ruffle action going fluidly.
10. Droplet Border
Won't take you long to pipe these droplets out. Use a plain round piping tip, either small or large cupcake size. Pipe a round dot and quickly swipe your bag and tip upward to create a teardrop-like shape.
After you've got the basics down, you're ready to play. Try different types of frosting or ombré patterns or combine borders. You'll have a blast — and create unforgettable cakes!
Photos by Juniper Cakery