Ask Nancy

Do You Have a Question?

I'll be answering ten questions each month... and if your question is chosen, I'll post a personalized response!

Submit Your Question

I am new to cake decorating, and I want to start making birthday cakes for my daughters. What are the basic tools I need to start decorating with? Keep in mind I am starting from scratch.

Paula - from Morgantown, KY

For icing your cake, you should have a large and small metal spatula – either angled or straight; it’s personal preference!

The most important investment is decorating bags and tips. Featherweight bags cost a bit more than disposable bags, but they are re-usable; simply wash in warm soapy water or place in the dishwasher. Both can be used whether you will be using a tip and coupler or just a tip alone.

The most common tips used in decorating are: a smaller round (tip #3 or 5), a star (#18 or 22), a leaf tip (I like tip # 352), and a petal/ruffle tip (#102, 103 or 104). Since you are creating cakes for little girls, you might also find a drop flower tip (#2D, 106 or 109) handy. It's nice to have extra sizes of rounds and stars.

If you will be using a variety of tips with a single color of icing, a coupler is a lifesaver. Simply switch out the tip to whatever you need to create your cake design.

Concentrated icing colors are best because they tint icing in vivid color without diluting or thinning the icing. You can purchase a set of 8 or 12 colors, or buy them in individual jars as you need them for specific projects.


Return to all questions

The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.