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pink flowers painted in buttercream on cake on turntable
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5 from 12 votes

How to Paint a Cake with Buttercream

This easy tutorial shows you how to hand paint beautiful floral art onto a cake using buttercream frosting, palette knives, and paint brushes! 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 Painted Cake


  • 1 Frosted Cake
  • 1 batch Buttercream Frosting
  • Food Coloring


  • 1 Cake Turntable
  • Palette Knives
  • Paint Brushes
  • Acetate Paper optional


  • Sketch out an idea for your design
  • On a plate, in a bowl, or on cookie sheet add about 1/2 cup of frosting for each color.
  • Add your food coloring to each color and mix well.
  • Once you've mixed your colors, practice painting your design on flat surface
  • Once you're happy with your design, paint on a very well chilled cake
  • If at any point the cake becomes too soft to paint on, put it back in the fridge to chill and firm up.

Pink Flower Cake

  • Starting with a round palate knife, add a bit of pink buttercream. In a downward motion make the first petal, like you are wiping the buttercream off the knife and onto your surface. Repeat in a circle for 4-5 leaves, making sure you are are always swiping inward.
  • Using a small palate knife, add green frosting. Move downward from the bottom of the flower to the bottom of the cake. Clean the palate knife and highlight with the lighter green. For the leaves use the same palate knife and stroke outward in a leaf shape. You have to play with the angles a bit to get your desired thickness, and it can vary depending on what palette knife you're using, that's why practicing helps.
  • Continue making flowers and leaves around the cake.
  • Add flowers on the top of the cake. Use a small paintbrush for leaves.
  • Using your finger, gently press sanding sugar to the center of the flowers. Using tweezers or your hands, add sugar pearls to the center of the flowers.


  • Practice your design. I did my design one day and the next day, when I went to paint it on the cake, I  had to re-practice until I got the hang of painting the design again. 
  • Make sure your cake is very well chilled or it will be hard to paint on.
  • You can also paint directly on a marzipan or fondant covered cake.