Last Updated on February 15, 2023
Today, we will look at some sheet cake decorating ideas for beginners. While they vary in skill level required, they are all beautiful, fun, and easy!
We will focus specifically on a buttercream frosted decorations and not so much on fondant or printed fondant options. These require more advanced skills that may not be suited at a beginner’s level yet. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eventually try them out either. For now, let’s look at some inspirations!
What Are Sheet Cakes?
If you don’t know what a sheet cake is, once you see it, it will immediately bring back a ton of memories. And believe it or not, while their popularity may have taken a dip, it is certainly making a strong comeback!
Sheet cakes are large flat rectangular cakes. They are usually only about 2 inches tall and only consist of one or two layers. This helps make them easy to portion for large crowds.
A standard-sized sheet cake measures 18 by 26 inches. But, some others are only 24 inches in length. Then, you also get half-sheet cakes which are 13 by 18 inches, and quarter-sheet cakes which are 8 or 9 by 13 inches.
As you can see from the list above, there are many options to choose from. This way, you don’t have to spend hours baking and decorating a full-sized sheet cake when you only need to make a cake for 4 people.
Sheet Cake Characteristics – What You Need to Know
Before diving right into sheet cake decorating ideas for beginners, we will first look at what flavors of cake you need and the type of frosting.
When it comes to the flavor of sheet cakes, there isn’t any one set in stone. Vanilla cake and chocolate cake are probably the most commonly found, but you can make any flavor that you’d like. Pound cake recipes also tend to work the best.
Then, if you have a sheet cake with two 1-inch layers, you can make and add a filling between them. The filling will help add some moisture and flavor. This can be something as simple as more buttercream frosting or something a little more complex like a jam filling. And, if you want to go fancy, you can add some texture here in the form of fruit chunks, crushed cookies, or chopped nuts.
And finally, we get to the frosting. Almost all sheet cakes are fully decorated with buttercream frosting. While you could use something else, you will only be making your life more difficult. Buttercream frostings are super creamy, and fluffy, and can be colored and even flavored in any way that you’d like.
And, what’s more, is that you can make beautiful decorations with this frosting too.
Once your frosting is on, you can proceed with adding your garnishes which can be anything from more frosting to sprinkles, cut fruit, or fondant figurines.
As you can probably imagine, these cakes are incredibly versatile in their decoration style and flavor profile, which is part of what makes them so popular. So, let’s move on and look at some amazing sheet cake decorating ideas for beginners.
Sheet Cake Decorating Ideas For Beginners: What’s Trending?
We will give you some fantastic tricks a little bit later, but first, let’s look at some easy and fantastic sheet cake decorating ideas for beginners.
1. Buttercream Flower Sheet Cake
So, this is one of the prettiest and surprisingly easiest sheet cake decorating ideas for beginners. It looks complex, but it’s not. To make this sheet cake, all you will need is a variety of shades of pink and purple frosting and a piping bag for each. The type of nozzle you use can also vary as well as its size.
Then, simply start piping circles onto the sheet cake, alternating between the different colors and patterns. Eventually, your entire cake will be covered in beautiful buttercream flowers. You can finish the cake off by adding some small white pearls as garnish.
This technique doesn’t just have to be used for flowers. You can make a ton of different color-themed patterns too.
2. Written Message Sheet Cake
Because of a sheet cake’s large surface area, it is easy to write a message – big or small! Use a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle. Then, add some semi-soft buttercream frosting inside or royal icing.
You can write your message however you’d like, in any font, size, or color.
A nice touch is if you add a border of buttercream piped decorations around the edges of the cake. It helps create a clean look. Otherwise, you can just add some decorative details where you’d like.
3. Pixels Sheet Cake
Okay, so by this we don’t mean actual pixels, but we are referring to the concept. This decorating technique uses various piping bags (all the same nozzle size) that each has a different color. This way, you create equally sized-blobs of frosting.
It is sort of a color-by-number technique. You ultimately aim to create a picture using only blobs of buttercream frosting. So, you can make a soccer ball, an ombre cake, a superman logo, or a little teddy bear.
You can even use these dollops to fill in an area around some fondant-printed sheets.
4. Minimalist Sheet Cake
While making elaborate sheet cake decorations is fun, you don’t have to do that. Sometimes, minimalistic is best. And, it will save you a ton of stress. After all, these are sheet cake decorating ideas for beginners. So, if you are not yet feeling up to making symbols and writing on cakes, then you can still go basic.
The key is to use great frosting them. You can either try to make a silky smooth finish on the top of the cake, or you can make it texture and flowy.
Again, if you want to finish off the cake with a frosted border and sprinkles, you can easily do that too.
Sheet Cake Decorating Ideas For Beginners: Conclusion
Hopefully, you feel inspired by these sheet cake decorating ideas for beginners. While we only went into detail on 4, remember, there is no limit to how you can decorate a sheet cake.
If you have any other ideas, let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear them.
Do you frost the top or bottom of a sheet cake?
If you want to leave the sheet cake inside of a baking tray, then you only have to frost the top. But, if you are taking it out, then you will have to frost the top and the sides. There is no need to frost the bottom of the sheet cake.
What is the easiest way to decorate a cake?
The easiest way to decorate a cake is arguably just to cover it with buttercream frosting and add some sprinkles. if you want to do a little bit more than that, add some piped decorations with the frosting. Even just adding a frosted border will make a massive difference!
How do you frost a sheet cake smooth?
The key is in having a great frosting consistency, which shouldn't be very thick or too soft. You first can add a crumb layer and chill it for at least 30 minutes. This layer ensures that you create that initial smooth surface. It traps all of the loose crumbs and fills up holes easily. Then, add the beautiful smooth layer and make sure it is level.
What are the current trends in cake decorating?
Everybody is going back to basics. That means that people are taking a step back from fondant cakes and instead choosing buttercream frosted cakes again. Another super popular trend is using a lot of color (especially unique pallets) and making minimalistic modern cakes.
Funfetti Sheet Cake Recipe
For the Cake:
For the Cake:
- Gather all of the ingredients you need for this recipe and preheat your oven to 350F. You'll also need to grease and flour a sheet pan.
- Grab a bowl and add the following ingredients: butter. Cream the butter for a minute or two. Once smooth, add the sugar gradually and mix.
- Add the eggs individually; only adding the next once the previous has been combined. Then add the vanilla extract, scraping the bowl as you go. Fold in the sour cream.
- In a separate bowl, add the salt, baking soda and flour. Mix well and then in alternating additions, add the butter mixture and milk. Beat until just combined and then fold in the sprinkles.
- Add the batter to your prepared pan and spread evenly. Place in the center of your preheated oven and bake for 22-24 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
For the Frosting:
- To make the frosting, cream the butter for a few minutes, and then gradually add the sugar, milk, salt and vanilla extract. Mix well until you have a smooth, fluffy frosting.
- Once cool, frost your cake and cover with sprinkles. Slice, serve and enjoy!
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.