Hello fellow cake makers!!  I am excited to share some quick tips to take your plain, buttercream cakes to the next level.  Although I highly encourage learning how to create a smooth buttercream finish, adding textures is an easy way to change up the appearance of an ordinary cake.



I quickly made these fun, textured buttercream cakes with a few everyday tools from my cake kit.  Starting with a fairly smooth, evenly iced cake, I changed up the look with these easy tricks.



This effect reminds of subtle waves and ribbons.  Holding a metal spatula perpendicular to the turntable, place the tip of the spatula to the bottom of an iced cake.  While spinning the turntable, carefully spiral the spatula around the cake by moving the spatula up the height of the cake.  “Push” any excess frosting over the edge of the cake and finish off the top with a spiral.


Using a spoon, drag the rounded side up the height of a smoothly iced cake.  Use the width of the spoon to create the ridges that define the stripe.  A regular, teaspoon size should suffice on any medium-sized cake.  Continue around the entire cake and finish off the top by pulling in any excess frosting on the top edge.



The opposite side of my cake smoothing tools is ridged.  While holding this “comb” portion perpendicular to the turntable, gently touch the ridges to a smoothly iced cake.  Spin the turntable while keeping the comb still.  Finish off the top by pulling any extra icing towards the center of the cake.  If the ridges on the cake start to clump or become undefined, make sure your icing is not too thick and clean the comb between spins.



Although this texture might look effortless, there is some strategy behind it.  I always start with a semi-smooth finish to make sure there is an even layer of icing on the cake.  You will want it to look rustic and “home-made,” but not messy.  Once the buttercream is already evenly applied, use a small off-set spatula to give it some natural-looking swirls and strokes.  Finish off the top with a clean, fun spiral.

17 Responses to Cake It Pretty: Easy Textured Buttercream Cakes

  1. lyndsay says:

    awesome, tessa! ^__^

    every one is so cute… i love a pretty and rustic buttercream cake!

  2. elaine says:

    My favorite is the combing effect. Seems so simple with the right tool, but I’m still a rookie decorator at best.

  3. […] Rustic Buttercream Cake How to create textured and rustic buttercream iced cakes.For full “Rustic Buttercream Cake” recipe click here […]

  4. divine fingerz says:

    Am in to cakes,wish to learn more,like your icing.

  5. diana says:

    Hi!! Love all the different designs!!! I just have a question. Is that crusting buttercream? I have a wedding cake coming up where I have to give it a rustic look and just wondering what kind of buttercream you used. Thank you!

    • Tessa says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I use a meringue-based buttercream, usually Swiss or Italian Meringue Buttercream. They tend to be much silkier and smoother. For a rustic finish, an American buttercream would probably work too.

  6. Candice says:

    Hi Tessa,

    I was wondering where you purchase your pastry bags, tips, and frosting combs? I am interested in purchasing the same products. Thanks!

    • Tessa says:

      You can usually find most pastry bags, tips, etc at Michael’s or other craft stores these days. There are plenty of online shops too, if you don’t have a local store in your area.

      • Candice says:


        Do you use the vinyl or cloth bags? I have used the plastic bags before and am not a fan. I’m looking for something more along the lines of commercial grade. Any suggestions?

        • Tessa says:

          I use both. If I am working with royal icing or just a small/quick project, I use the disposable ones. The canvas/cloth ones are great for frosting larger cakes and a big order of cupcakes at one time. Plus, they are re-usable!

  7. maria says:

    Hi Tessa Thank you for the tutorial above on the buttercream textures. I am not a professional cake maker I only make cakes for my family. I was asked to make a cake for a family member for her engagement. It’s a 3 tier chocolate mud cake. The cake is a rustic look painted in gold. I use the swiss buttercream for frosting my cakes which I love but in this cake I am reluctant to use because the whether is hot and I am not sure if it will hold. Do you have any suggestion on anything else to give me that look. Thank you

    • Tessa says:

      I tend to favor Swiss meringue buttercream even in hot climates… I guess it depends on how hot you are talking about. I used to ice all my wedding cakes in SMB when I lived in Northern California, even in the summer. Definitely better than sometime like cream cheese or whipped cream. Best of luck! =)

  8. […] Instructions: Style Sweet CA […]

  9. Ainsley says:

    Great tutorial! I’ve been thinking of making the cake for my son’s birthday and want to copy the texture on this cake I found. Do you think I would have to do something similar to the rustic cake?


    • Tessa says:

      Thank you! Yes, you could certainly start with the rustic finish and play around a bit until you achieve a pattern you like.

  10. Brittany says:

    Awesome cakes!!!!! I am doing a cake for my soon to be sister in laws bridal shower this weekend. She loves the rustic look. She asked if I could use cream cheese butter cream to ice the cake. Would it work?

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