One thing I’ve always wanted to do was try my hand at cake decorating.

Sure I’ve frosted many 9×13 cakes in the pan.

But a two or three or four layer cake?  Never!

Until now!


My First Time Cake Decorating :: We Tweaked a Cake Mix ::


I frosted a five layer cake!!

With a real frosting bag and decor tips!

Thanks to my friend who loves to decorate cakes.


It all started with my friend’s co-worker who was concerned that there wasn’t enough cake ordered for her niece’s wedding.

Being the wonderfully kind soul she is, my friend volunteered to make more cakes for the wedding reception.   Two layer cakes and a half sheet cake.

Since my friend was short on time, I volunteered to help.  I may be slim on experience, but usually I am pretty handy in the kitchen.  At least I can follow behind and wash dishes and clean up.

Instead, my friend allowed me to frost the simpler layer cake.  And place the beautiful roses she created on the cake, too.

She filled in behind with pretty leaves and such.


My First Attempt at Cake Decorating ::


When we were finished and the cakes were all boxed, and there was plenty of frosting remaining.  My friend said to me, “It’s too bad we didn’t think to bake another cake so you could try your hand at decorating.”

I asked if it was possible to bake another cake anyway and she thought it was a great idea.

I chose two smaller cake pans that together hold a single cake mix.

And then I learned a sweet little secret!

If you want to make an ordinary box mix taste extraordinary…tweak it with a few ingredients:

  • Add an extra egg
  • Replace milk for the water
  • And double the amount of oil with butter.  So, if your mix calls for 1/2 cup of oil, use 1 cup of softened butter instead.

These small changes really make for a richer cake.

Once my chocolate cakes were baked and cooled, I sliced them in half horizontally so that I had four layers.  We did have a half layer of white cake left over from the wedding cakes, so I decided I would add that to my layers to make five layers and a little surprise when sliced.


Cake Decorating and Tweaked Mix ::


I’m probably the only person who has never decorated a cake before, but I did have a wee level of confidence from watching Martha Stewart frost a cake a bazillion years ago on TV.

The frosting was piped on each layer and smoothed before adding the next layer.  When it was finished it looked like this.  Seriously, I like this rustic look.  And if I should ever make a layer cake like this again I might be a little neater and serve it this way.


Decorating a Cake - Tweaking a Cake Mix -


Next I smoothed the cake with a skim of frosting.  I was feeling good….my cake was starting to take shape.

The cake then received her finish coat of frosting and she was ready to put on her fancy spring dress.


Frosted Cake - Tweaked Box Mix


There was plenty of white and green frosting left over for decorating, but an additional color was needed for my flowers.   I chose a violet.  The photos make it look a bit bluer than it was.  Since we’re pretending it’s springtime (Mother Nature the calendar says it’s springtime!), I wanted my cake to have flowers that reminded me of violets.

For my first attempt without much practice, I am pretty pleased with how the cake turned out.

There is no question, I will not be making money selling decorated cakes.

But, if you come for dinner, I could serve it for dessert without embarrassment.

And, it tasted pretty good too.


 Cake Decorating for the First Time ::


When I first embarked on this little bit of cake decorating fun, I hadn’t thought about taking photos.  If I did, I probably would have chosen to place my cake on a plate rather than the cardboard base which you see.  But, for a rookie…the cardboard base was a good thing.  It just isn’t quite as photogenic for my smaller size cake.  Then again, my cake isn’t exactly magazine worthy so it’s okay.  Right?


After all this, I discovered that my Craftsy affiliate has online cake decorating classes that I need to take.  They have some free classes and many other reasonably priced classes as well.  Here’s a link to the eGuide: Not-So-Basic Buttercream Decorating Ideas  [Note: I will make a commission on any purchase you make through the Craftsy links.]


  • Do you do your own cake decorating or do you usually order decorated cakes?
  • If you’re like me….what’s kept you from cake decorating?
  • What’s your dream cake?
  • And…do you have a favorite way to tweak a cake mix?


Thank you for stopping by today.
I appreciate you and your sweet comments make my day.

May your day be extraordinary!


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Online Cake Decorating Class


  1. Your cake is beautiful! Great job and I love the colors…I hear lavender and purple are the hot new colors for spring and summer…

  2. Laura says

    So pretty! You did a great job, it doesn’t look like you are a beginner at all. I bet it tastes yummy too 🙂

  3. Babette says

    Hi Diane
    You did an awesome job decorating your cake! So pretty!!! I tried to decorate some cakes a couple of times when I was living in Mexico, It was fun but I only had a few diffterent pieces to use. Some day I would love to really learn. I have a friend who lives in Wisconsin and her daughter does amazing things with cakes. I hope you do some more and post them so we can see. Lots of love and hugs. God bless you!!


  4. My first thought was: BEAUTIFUL!
    My second thought was: TALL!
    Diane, you are hereby invited to EVERY party we ever have at our house! :O)

  5. Awesome and looks yummy!

  6. Wow, this is really impressive for your first time! Obviously you should be doing more of this 🙂

  7. Cindy says

    What a beautiful cake. You have done a wonderful job and you are very talented. It looks so good. Everyone is posting about cakes tonight and it’s really making my mouth water.

  8. Mel says

    This is your first attempt?! Wow….I know what my first attempt looked like. LOL…and you’ll have to trust me when I say NO photos were taken FOR A REASON. Something about crumbs that I could’t hide, no matter how much frosting I slathered on. LOL…it’s all good…I make one mean cheesecake in a spring form pan! No frosting and loads more calories. Hahaha.
    Yours is quite lovely….and tall….and a cake lovers dream. 😉

  9. germaine says

    excellent job! good for you!! and looks scrumptious!

  10. Well, I have done 100’s of cakes, I used to do catering, and yours is right up there! Just beautiful!

  11. Tim Miller says

    And it was soooo good we didn’t even need ice cream!!!

  12. Your cake is gorgeous. I just invested in piping tips and I will be practicing.

  13. Gwen says

    The first cake before spreading the frosting looks like my childhood storybook cake from the Little Red Hen. I’ve always wanted a cake that looked just like that!!
    I’ve never tried “decorating” cakes. I felt it was not my thing. Not something I’d want to labor to learn. Now looking at your cake I’m thinking, hmmm…looks kind of fun!! I like how tall you made the cake!! I never would have thought to add all that to a cake mix but that must be delicious!!
    My daughter and I add bananas to white or yellow cake mixes but you add baking soda and then I forget!! Cut back on water? It’s almost like banana bread!!
    I have made that dump cake when you just used a cake mix and a cherry pie filling can and that’s all. We baked in a microwave bunt cake pan.
    I have grated apples into my white or yellow cake mix with a bit of cinnamon. That’s good. I think I added a bit less water too.
    I’d better stop. I’m trying not to indulge in cake for awhile!!!!

  14. Looks great! I love cake decorating 🙂

  15. Jean says

    Your cake looks amazing! My first attempt was not anywhere near that pretty. Actually, neither were my 2nd, 3rd, 4th,…you get the idea. I took a cake decorating class with my sister many years ago and while I enjoyed it, my talents simply are in other areas.

  16. Visiting via Craft Frenzy Friday – what a stinkin’ beautiful creation! Love your tips for richer cakes too! Can I ask a question, new blogger and I see how you put in your sharing links at the bottom of your post. Do you have a process for that..I link up with just a few and it’s worth it, but takes time! Would love any tips you have to share!

  17. Oh my, my, my, this is gorgeous! It’s beautiful and looks delish! If I didn’t know you I’d say you were fibbing, is this is your first attempt, you have just found your calling!

  18. Pat says

    This, dear one, could be the start of something BIG!!!
    Oh, my goodness!!!
    When I saw the photo of the inside of your five layer cake. . .I wanted a taste!!!
    I only have one suggestion. . .go out and buy yourself a cake plate stand!
    Keep those cakes coming!!!

  19. Janet says

    That is a gorgeous cake. I your color choice. So delicate and perfect for spring. Very impressive. You have a future decorating cakes my friend and it looks delicious too.


  20. This turned out gorgeous … you did such a great job. I’m impressed that it’s your first attemp!

  21. Wow! Great job for your first time. I like to add a box of instant pudding to my cakes, they taste super yummy with that little addition, but I will have to try your version as well. Coming from #SitsGirlsSharefest

    • Diane says

      Thanks for taking the time to pop over Heather. 🙂
      I have heard of adding pudding mixes to cakes. I’ll have to Google it to see how the recipe is changed with the addition of the pudding mix. I bet it would be super rich and yummy.

  22. It’s gorgeous! You did a splendid job! I recently took a cake decorating class and loved it. The biggest cake I have made was 3 layers – kudos on 5!

    • Diane says

      Awww…thanks!! Adding two more layers isn’t any more difficult. It just takes a wee bit more time. And you are right…it is so fun to play with frosting. 😉

  23. Hi Diane,

    You did a beautiful job. It looks delicious too.
    I remember when I learned to decorate cakes,
    you have a lot of fun ahead of you!

    Have a great weekend.
    Bear Hugs,


    • Diane says

      Carolyn, I do hope I have fun ahead with cake decorating. I hope I can just have fun and not become guilty of trying too hard. 😉

      Thanks for your kind words…

      Hope your weekend is extraordinary!

  24. How fun! My Mom and Grandma always decorated cakes and had all of the Wilton’s tools. I used to help out. But I’ve never tried to make a cake with 5 layers! That’s pretty impressive!

    • Diane says

      Oh Rachel….if a first timer can make 5 layers anyone can. 😉 I’m looking forward to making more. 🙂
      Thanks for your kind thoughts.

      Best wishes for an extraordinary weekend!

  25. A first attempt!!? Fabulous!

  26. Diane, you did a great job of decorating…great color that you chose for spring. Cake decorating just doesn’t come natural to me…I want to squeeze the heck out of that bag of icing! I took a class many years ago, but never did much after the course was over, but still have all the tips/bags/etc.
    Have a great weekend.

  27. Glenda Kremer says

    BEAUTIFUL!!! and very magazine worthy in my opinion! good job! I have never wanted to decorate cakes and have little need for them since my kids are all gone! glad you enjoyed it!
    glenda kremer

  28. I can’t believe it is your first attempt it is amazing – you are a natural 🙂

  29. The cake decoration is absolutely perfect! The cake is delicious … just ate a slice 😉
    Hope you’re having a great weekend:)
    Hugs from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft

  30. How pretty!

  31. That turned out gorgeous! Well done!! I just pinned this to the TTG Thrifty Things Friday Pinterest page! thank you for sharing at TTF!

  32. What a great first attempt! I decorated my first cake last summer. It was an adventure! The skim coat makes all the difference I think. Well done!

  33. Marti says

    Diane….Nope! You’re not the only one who hasn’t decorated a cake like this! I did my first one last year when me and my daughter took a cake decorating class! And she’s 25, so that tells you how long it took me to decorate my first one!! It looks beautiful!

  34. Beautifully done !! I love the colors and and five layers … count ’em 5. Visiting from Marvelous Mondays! Pinning this!

  35. Suzan says

    That is one gorgeous cake – so professional looking ( my daughter is a cake decorator 🙂
    AND I could use a piece of that right about now!
    Visiting from Uncommon designs

  36. I would have never thought that was your first cake. It’s gorgeous!

  37. Looks beautiful! I will definitely try enhancing a cake mix with your tips – sounds delicious!

  38. I love this cake! It is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing at the “From The Farm” blog hop this week!

  39. Kim says

    Wow, you’ve got cake decorating talent, girl! It is stunning! I think we need more blog posts about the ins and outs of cake decorating – now that you’re all experienced and everything. 😉

  40. SharonFromMichigan says

    How beautiful your cake came out. I would buy it if it was in a bakery store window! You have talent!

  41. Jenna says

    It’s gorgeous Diane! I’ve never fancy frosted a cake either, I would love to! I did know about the cake mix tricks, you can also add 1 cup sour cream, replace liquid with buttermilk, add a box of instant pudding mix and add an extra egg~ Happy Baking!

  42. Thanks for sharing your beautiful cake! Really, gorgeous!!! I appreciate the tips for making the batter/cake taste better too.

  43. Beautiful! Much prettier then my first attempt at a flowered cake. Drool worthy too, once you sliced into it. That’s a cake! Hugs from Bacon Time.

  44. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    I think your cake is beautiful and quite professional looking! And I love the height and mix of layers!

  45. beautiful cake. I love the blue flowers and the green just offsets that perfectly. Very good especially a first attempt.
    I have tried before with not a lot of success. I like to use Royal icing. Yum but for homemade butter frosting I like to decorate cupcakes. .I want to try again,

  46. Wow, I cannot even believe this is a first attempt. Your cake is absolutely gorgeous, inside as well! Thank you for sharing; it’s just stunning!

  47. Wow! Are you sure you didn’t sneak-practice somewhere along the way? Your first attempt looks professional, girl!!!
    This would be terrific on my blog hop. Would you please come join the party?
    Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop
    Thanks much!! 🙂
    “hugs” Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  48. I’m totally impressed at your first cake decorating attempts. You could easily make money decorating cakes, if you enjoy it. You certainly have a natural talent for it.

    I’ve done some cake decorating, but my first attempts didn’t look nearly as good as yours.

    And to answer one of your questions, I never buy a pre-decorated cake. The main reason I took cake decorating classes was to be able to make my kids some very special birthday cakes. Along the way, I’ve made a few dollars decorating cakes for other people, but my main focus has always been birthday cakes for my own children. And the best part? They really do appreciate it! 🙂

  49. 5 layers! I’m impressed :). Love the flowers on top. You make it look easy!

  50. That’s wonderful. Great job.

  51. such a gorgeous cake!!! thanks for the tip on how to make a mix cake so much better!

  52. Wow…first cake decorating and you look like the pros! I think it turned out beautiful and it looks delicious. Thanks for the great tip for making box cake taste homemade. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. ~Deborah

  53. Your cake looks beautiful for the first attempt. Seriously! You did a beautiful job and thanks for the tips how to make the cake box mix more rich in flavor !

  54. What a great job you did! I love the ideas for tweaking the taste-just pinned it. Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!


  55. Carol says

    I can’t believe this is your first cake decorating foray! It’s simply gorgeous. I am featuring your beautiful cake when my link party opens up tonight.

  56. Kim says

    Congratulations for being featured at What to do Weekends. This amazing cake (and you!) deserves to be in the spotlight!

  57. You did a great job! I love that you tried – and did well! 5 layers – that’s awesome!

  58. Congrats! It looks beautiful and I bet it tastes great too. A piece and a tall glass of cold milk would be nice right now!

  59. I’m so impressed! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful project on The Inspiration Board at homework. You were featured in the spotlight!
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    carolyn ~ homework

  60. Kathy says

    Wow, Diane! Your cake looks awesome! I am delighted to share that I will be featuring your post in this week’s Home and Garden Thursday,

  61. Beautiful! It looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing with us at The HomeAcre Hop!

    Please join us again Thursday at:


  62. Great job for a first timer, it is beautiful and simple. The colors are amazing and the four layered cake looks delicious.


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