10 Modern Looks That Reinvent Buttercream

ombre geometric buttercream cake

If you think of buttercream as just a blank canvas for borders and blooms, think again. Today’s freshest buttercream designs explore a whole universe of incredible textures, styles and effects. Best of all, many are surprisingly simple to create. Cake-makers, prepare to play.

1. Ombré

pink and white ombre buttercream cake

Why pick one color when you can ombré with varying shades? Place the darkest color on the bottom and work your way up to a lighter color. When all the colors are in place, you can smooth it out to finish.


2. Pinstripe

pinstripe buttercream cake

Step away from the piping bag. For this effect, just start with an iced, chilled cake, then run an icing comb along the outside to scrape away some of the buttercream in even lines. Then, apply a different color buttercream and spread it over the cake so it works its way into the indents you’ve created. Scrape away the extra buttercream to reveal sleek, even lines.


3. Painted

painted beige cake

A simple little paintbrush makes a big impact. Start by frosting a cake generously with buttercream and chilling, then move a paintbrush in repeating motions — up and down, side to side, or in arcs — to create a subtle texture.


4. Combed

combed white cake on stand

There are plenty of comb designs out there — use them to make plaid-like textures, stripes and more with barely any effort at all!


5. Stenciled

Ombre geometric cake

Some decorators think that stencils are only for fondant-covered cakes, but they’re flat-out fooling themselves. If you prepare your cake well, you can easily apply buttercream over a buttercream-coated cake. Bonus points for getting creative with color.


6. Metallic Embossed

gold embossed buttercream cake

A minimalist pattern paired with metallics is so hot right now. Here’s how to do it: Make a mixture of metallic luster dust and vodka, dip a cake embosser in the metallic mixture, then press the embosser against a chilled, buttercream-covered cake.


7. Rosettes

buttercream rose details

Buttercream roses are nothing new. But we’re really falling for this cake, which goes WAY over-the-top on texture yet keeps things sweetly subtle when it comes to color.


8. Pushed Petals

Pink petal piped cake

This textured piping technique is effective and deceptively simple to create. Just pipe a dollop of buttercream onto the cake and pull your piping tip in one direction to create the dragged detail. With practice, you’ll be able to cover a whole cake in less than 10 minutes.


9. All-Over Ruffles

piped ridges buttercream tiered cake

This showstopper requires just one simple piping technique: Drawing long strokes with a teardrop tip. It’s remarkably forgiving, so you’ll get a gorgeous, dramatic look even if every detail isn’t exactly perfect. And trust us — it looks just as impressive on a single tier.


10. Watercolor

watercolor buttercream cake

By carefully blending and spreading different shades of buttercream, you can make a wispy colorway that looks almost like it was painted. These watercolor cakes are right on trend, so don’t be surprised when everyone starts asking for one!


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