6 Beautiful Ways to Top Off a Cake

When you’re ready to take your cake decorating to the next level, let’s top off your cake with a beautiful finish!

6 Beautiful Ways to Top Off a Cake

Do you ever struggle to know how to finish off your cake once you’ve added the buttercream frosting all around it? It can be hard to know what will actually end up looking good until you’ve already put the decoration on your cake. I’ve tried so many different ways to decorate a cake and there seem to be several that I always come back to because I love how they turn out in the end. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your cake decoration, here are 6 beautiful ways to top off a cake!

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One thing you could always do with each cake you’re making is to think about what ingredients you’re putting into the cake and how you could use some version of them to decorate the top of your cake at the very end. You can do a bit of brainstorming beforehand, so you have an idea of what you want to do before the bare cake is sitting in front of you!

If you’re doing simple flavors like a basic chocolate or vanilla cake, you could think of flavors that pair well with either of these and use them on top of your cake (even if these flavors are not in between your cake layers). With that, let’s get into the 6 beautiful ways to top off a cake!

Table of Contents
  1. 6 Beautiful Ways to Top Off a Cake
  2. Cake Topping #1: Border Decoration
  3. Cake Topping #2: Chocolate Drip
  4. Cake Topping #3: Naked
  5. Cake Topping #4: Cake Fillings (Delicately) Piled onto One Side
  6. Cake Topping #5: Fresh Fruit
  7. Cake Topping #6: Buttercream Swirls & Sprinkles
  8. 6 Beautiful Ways to Top Off a Cake

Cake Topping #1: Border Decoration

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Adding a border decoration is a classic way to top off a cake. But the secret is knowing how to actually place all the different elements in a way that elevates the cake rather than drowning it with toppings. For example, in my Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cake, I took each cake filling and sprinkled it around the border one at a time. This cake has a lot of different fillings, so this one could easily be one to add too much on top, but if you’re technical about it, it should end up looking amazing!

The reason you want to sprinkle each filling at a time (rather than mixing them together and putting it all on at once) is so you have more control of which toppings go where. Do you see how my coconut flakes are delicately around the edge of the border decoration? You can do things like that when you sprinkle one topping at a time. 

Cake Topping #2: Chocolate Drip

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Have you ever tried the chocolate drip technique before? I love the way it makes a cake look! And you can add some other toppings to the cake to go with it, as you see here with my Cookies and Cream Cake. (This one is a crowd favorite!) If you’re new to trying a chocolate drip, check out my post HERE where it shows you the 5 steps to adding chocolate drip to your cake.

Cake Topping #3: Naked

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You can never go wrong with a naked look for a cake. This look is timeless and classy. If you do end up going with this look, feel free to play around with how you add your buttercream. Just like in my Cream Cheese Danish Cake, I decided to go with more of a rustic look and an uneven edge on the cake, so it had some type of decorated element to it. This type of cake decoration would be great for a wedding, anniversary party, work party, or any occasion where it is a bit fancier than a casual event. 

Cake Topping #4: Cake Fillings (Delicately) Piled onto One Side

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The cake you see in the example above is my Biscoff Strawberry Cake. As you can see, I piled together a handful of fresh strawberries and sprinkled some Biscoff cookie crumbs and freeze-dried strawberries all around the fresh strawberry pile. I left the green stem on the strawberries to help add some color, so don’t be afraid to do that sometimes if you’re wanting to add a little bit more variety to your cake!

When I added the crumbs, I made sure to get a handful and add a small amount at a time. It’s always best to start with a little bit because you can always add onto it, but it’s a lot harder to take some away!

Cake Topping #5: Fresh Fruit

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Adding fresh fruit to the top of your cake is one of the easiest ways to top off your cake. I often use the fresh version of the fruit I’m incorporating into the cake layers to decorate the top of my cake. The fresh fruit also adds a nice flavor combo with the actual cake. Just like in my Chocolate Blackberry Cake you see here, adding the fresh blackberries on top helps balance out the sweetness of the chocolate in the cake. So while the cake topping is very heavily reliant on the look of the cake, you can still be thinking about how the toppings will enhance the flavor of the cake too!

Cake Topping #6: Buttercream Swirls & Sprinkles

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I love a good buttercream swirl! These are super easy to do and a great way to finish off a cake. And, of course, the only way to make it even better is to add a few sprinkles. I used this technique for my Black and White Cake, and I love how it turned out! I simply added the swirls all around the border of my cake and then carefully added the sprinkles on top of each one. Check out the full post HERE to see how I added the triangle shapes to the sides of my cake!

6 Beautiful Ways to Top Off a Cake

Which of these 6 beautiful ways to top off a cake will you be trying first? I’d love to know of any other ideas you have when it comes to decorating a cake! Come let me know over on Instagram. Send me a dm and we can chat! Be sure to give me a follow too @cakebycourtney to get the best tips and recipes on all things cake!


Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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