How to ice a petal cake

How to ice a petal cake

This easy frosting trend is totally achievable – even for icing novices. Use it to upgrade a store-bought cake, or a box-mix cake.

Petal cakes – in all their incarnations – think rainbow petal cakes, mermaid petal cakes and ombre petal cakes – are all over Instagram. And they’re easier than they look!

What equipment do you need to ice a petal cake?

It helps to have some basic items, however, most of them can be substituted with common pantry items:

1. A scraper – this helps to create a smooth underneath layer, or crumb coat. Don’t feel the need to invest in one? A fairly large plastic lid will do the trick.

2. A piping bag. Piping bags are inexpensive, but if you’re not planning on heading to the shops before embarking on this project, a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off will work just fine.

3. A palette knife or wide butter knife

4. A turntable. This is not essential at all, but helps to keep a smooth flow.

What icing should you use for this cake?

You can use ordinary butter icing, however, we used Abigail’s condensed milk icing which has a wonderful flavour and is made just from butter and condensed milk. (Get the recipe here.)

How can I create complex icing colours like the trendy ones I’ve seen on Instagram?

Muted colours are all the rage online, and we’re loving the sophisticated look. Normal food colouring will create very bright colours, so to knock those colours back a little, Abigail recommends using a dot of brown food colouring – or even cocoa powder. Keep a little extra white icing on hand in case you make it too subdued.


  1. Allow your cake to cool completely. Dollop icing all over (we used Woolworths vanilla icing mix) and then spread out smoothly with a knife. Once evenly applied, use a scraper to create smooth sides. This is called a crumb coat, and will trap any errant crumbs, so that they don't ruin the final cake.

    Step 1

  2. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.

    Step 2

  3. Place a piping bag in a glass, with the edges over the side, and fill with icing. If your icing has been in the fridge, soften it by massaging the bag. (We used Abigail's condensed milk buttercream for this layer). Find the recipe in the text above.

    Step 3

  4. Pipe a row of even-sized dots vertically down the side of the cake. When piping, place a finger underneath the nozzle to steady your hand.

    Step 4

  5. Using a palette knife, or wide butter knife, smooth out each dot to the side. Repeat around the whole cake and on top.

    Step 5

  6. Top with your favourite sprinkles - we used Woolies cream soft-centred pearls.

    Step 6

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