Designer Cakes: All in on the Decorations

Designer Cakes: Make no mistake, this truly is art. Temporary art, because you eat it. But art nonetheless. And it’s a skill. One you can learn, but you’d better have patience and a steady hand. And lots of icing (castor) sugar. We’ve got examples of designer cakes you’ve never even thought of: fault line cakes, cut out cakes, floral cakes, cactus and succulent cakes (yes, really), pinata cakes, smash cakes – you name it.

Designer cakes run the gamut from whimsical to refined and elegant. But never fear, you don’t have to make them if it’s not your forte – just check online. There are a multitude of designer cake bakeries out there that will deliver to your door. Be forewarned however and be prepared: several of these are worthy of a glass of champagne to accompany the art you are about to eat.

Fault Line Cakes: Shaking things up

What are they? Let’s start with that, it certainly is a popular style for designer cakes today. A fault line cake is made with crevices around the middle of the cake. This crevice is then filled with rock sugar, sprinkles, flowers, and more (just use your imagination) to create a fault line. Voila.

Simple can be best – but let your imagination run wild.

Fault Line Cakes

Just one look and you can tell why fault line cakes are all the rage in the designer cake space. This strawberry offering is perfect for a spring luncheon. But I don’t know if I could cut into it, to be honest. SugarGeekShow has a great tutorial. The cake is said to be the very first fault line cake, made by Milk Moon Kitchen on Instagram.

Designer Cakes

This crystal fault line cake is incredible. Could you be the one to cut the first slice? The name is The Enchanted Energy Cake from Wilton, with a DIY / How-to on their website. But don’t make this your first attempt at fault line cakes – it’s labelled “Advanced Skill Set” on the Wilton page. Even if the fault line looks like the easy part.

Rose fault line

Check out Katie Rosario’s page for the How-to / DIY on this beginner fault line designer cake. Well, the roses may require intermediate skills. Experiment. Have fun with it. Designer cakes are not an exact science!

Floral Designer Cakes: Heavy on the Icing

Floral desinger cakes

Sometimes, simple is the best. This delicate buttercream icing is pure elegance in cake design. Source

Floral cake three tier

This pressed flower wedding cake is stunning. And of course, they are all edible. Source

Designer wedding cake

This is an incredible cake – and all the flowers are made of icing. From Elena Sunshine Magazine – this cake is a showstopper.

Floral Designer Cakes

Ok, so try to tell me this isn’t art? If you want to reach this level of expertise, you need to take one of the wonderful designer cake decorating courses at Crafty. Particularly the Hand Painting Cakes class!


Designer Cakes


Ice Cream Cone and Unicorn Designer Cakes

Ice Cream cone cake

Use an upside-down waffle cone for all kinds of things on these designer cakes. Great combo with the drip cake icing – looks like a melted ice cream cone! Source

Unicorn cakes

Wouldn’t this three-tier Unicorn cake be fantastic for a kid’s birthday? And you can buy all the unicorn cake accoutrements on Etsy (made from fondant) – horn, ears eyes and more.

Ice cream cone cake

These ice cream  cone cakes are big hits at kids’ birthday parties. And adult parties (thus the macarons). It’s a really clever way to expand on the drip cakes. Most cake shops today have something like this on their menu. Source

Designer Cakes with Themes

Under the Sea

Undersea cake

This fantastic Under the Sea creation is from Kidspot Kitchen in Australia. We love the octopus!

The Yellow Bee Cake Company in the UK has online tutorials. This is the place to learn about creating designer cakes with themes. Or even buy one of their books. Very talented people.


Undersea wonder

The most incredible Finding Nemo cake – how long do you think it took to decorate this one? Source

Designer Cakes: Cacti and Succulents

Succulents and Cactus Cakes

A gorgeous succulent designer cake – from Elena Sunshine Magazine.

Cactus cake

Saguaros decorate the sides of this designer cake – really not too difficult. From Sugar and Sparrow. They have some really incredible cake tutorials on their site, you must visit.

Designer Cakes

The cacti are in full blossom on this designer cake. From Brit & Co.

Split Open Cakes

Split open cakes start with a piece already missing – and they are marvellous.

Cutaway Designer Cakes

This split open berry cake looks delicious. Source

Cut Out Cakes

This Split Open / Cut Away cake from MJ Bakery is one of the best we’ve seen.

Geode fault line cake

This geode cake is really the epitome of designer cut away cakes – from amethyst (rock sugar) to gold (flakes). And that marble icing looks so real. Wow is all I can say.

Pinata Cakes

Just like the real things, pinata cakes are full of candy and treats.

Pinata Designer Cakes

Full of smarties, this cake is almost simple to make. Source


Pinata cake

This is more of a pastel color cake – better suited to an adult birthday luncheon. Find out How To over at Yes Birthday.

Tall Pinata Cake

Then there’s the TALL pinata cake. What a surprise this one would be when you cut it open. Get the recipe at Punch Fork.

Disco Ball Pinata Cake

This disco ball pinata cake, well, it takes the cake.

Smash Cakes

I dunno if I’d call a smash cake a “cake” per se. More like a chocolate ball full of treats. Still, who am I to say? Smash cake seems to be the name (not to be confused with the cakes you let your one-year-old eat with their hands, different thing). So, here they are. I like them. A lot.

Smash Cakes

This is a hollow chocolate shell that you smash open with a mallet to reveal the treasures (chocolate and/or candies) inside.

Designer Cakes

And oh, what treasures. There are instructions to make this here, but really, a lot easier to order. It’s a Rocher Smash Cake or a Nutella Smash cake that you’re looking for.

Smash Cake

They are elegant. This one also has a How to Make This recipe, but it calls for Ferraro Rocher candies inside (which would be a lot quicker).

Crazy Smash Cake

Well, only some of them are elegant. This one is fun. Source

Designer Cakes: Drip Cakes

These were probably the first designer cake to start to trend – and they are probably the easiest to make. Of course, you can add to the simple drip cake and go as fancy as you like.

Naked Drip Cake

This naked drip cake is easy to make, using Betty Crocker cake mix.

Drip cake

This one is a little more complicated. Source

Wedding drip cake

This elegant wedding cake drips in gold. Source

There you have it. And there are still more designer cakes to explore! So take yourself on a journey and find a great cake to bake – or at least order!

Written by Beverley Wood

Beverley Wood has lived on boats in Toronto and Vancouver and in an old hacienda in Mexico. She knows funky when she sees it. She's been writing since she was old enough to pick up a pen and has never shied away from the unusual or the whimsical. Her love of the unique (and sometimes bizarre) led her to Captivatist.