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How to Make Ruffled Buttercream Cakes

Chances are, you’ve noticed ruffled buttercream cakes in magazines; now you can learn to make them! Don’t worry, these cakes are much easier to create than they look. Call them an optical illusion if you wish, because you are going to love making these cakes to wow your friends and family. They are fast, fun, easy to learn and everyone loves them!

Ruffled Buttercream Cakes

Before we get into decorating the cake, let’s talk about buttercream. Not all buttercreams are created equal; I think we can all agree on that. My advice is to use a Swiss Meringue Buttercream, Italian Meringue Buttercream or a very stable American Buttercream. I have made a ruffled cake using cream cheese icing, but it doesn’t come out with the same definition. If you or your customer are bent on having cream cheese icing, you can mix your cream cheese icing 50/50 with Swiss Meringue Buttercream. You will still get a great cream cheese flavor, but with the stability of Swiss Meringue.

Ruffled Buttercream Cake Supplies

  • A cake that is crumb coated. I generally put a second coat on as well, so that the cake can not be seen through the buttercream, in case you end up with a gap in your buttercream ruffle.
  • The cake plate or board you want your cake to be displayed on. Once the ruffles are on, it would not be good to transfer it.
  • Buttercream of your choice
  • A flat rose tip in the size you wish. I went with a medium size (Wilton 104) for this cake.
  • A round piece of parchment paper the size of the cake
  • Toothpick and/ or long wooden skewer
  • Small offset spatula

Rose Tip

Here is the rose tip I used, it is a Wilton 104. Notice how it has a wide end and a thin end, this will come in very handy later!

Cake Transfer

Transfer your cake to your cake plate or prepared board. If you are doing a 2+ tiered ruffled cake, now is the best time to stack your cakes.

Also, if you are using a colored buttercream for your ruffles, do a thin coat of the same color over your crumb coat because sometimes ruffles don’t touch, leaving a gap. And having a white background against a dark ruffle only makes the mistakes stand out more.

Buttercream Cake

Now we want to prepare the cake and give ourselves a guide to follow when piping the ruffles. This step will give you a much cleaner look and save you a lot of frustration later.


Take your parchment paper that is the size of your cake and fold it in half; now fold it again the other way. Keep folding until you have the size of ruffles you want on the cake. Open it up and place the parchment on the top of the cake. You now have perfectly spaced markings!


Using a toothpick, mark the buttercream at each fold in the parchment.


Now, using a long skewer or stirring stick mark a faint line all the way down the cake. This will help you stay in the lines as you move up the cake.

Buttercream Cake

Remember how I told you the wide and thin side of the piping tip would come in handy…well, here it is. Make sure the wide side of the piping tip is against the cake!

Starting at the bottom, start piping across the the next line, then back to your original line. Continue going back and forth up the cake until you reach the top of the cake, then start on the next row.

Buttercream Columns

Continue your columns around the cake.

Once you have finished the sides, you can start on the top. It is best to begin in the center of the cake. If you have a turntable, this is a great time to use it!

Buttercream Ruffles

The trick is to shake the bag slightly up and down while turning the cake at the same time. You want your ruffles to be standing up on the cake, not lying down the way they are on the sides.


Continue spiraling out until you reach the edge of the cake.


For the final ruffle around the edge you want to lay it down just slightly to cover the top of the columns and to blend better with them.

Ruffled Buttercream Cake

And voilà, you now have a beautiful buttercream cake that will bring joy to any party! If you want to learn more about using buttercream, check out Joshua John Russell’s FREE online mini-class Modern Buttercream.

Come on back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow to see beautiful sweet 16 cakes!


Sandi Hodnett

Love the ruffles. I have a ruffle ombre cake to do for a June Wedding in Texas. What recipe for butter cream do you recommend since it gets so hot here? It is an indoor reception.


The best buttercream if you want it stiff is use less liquid i.e. water or milk. The milk makes it more whipped and the water more stiff and more powder sugar. Add a little more almond to cut the sweetness thou.


So cute!

Sharon Brown

Would love to know how to make Swiss Merigne Buttercream. Love the ruffles! Thank you for sharing!

Lynn eubanks

would love a reciept for swiss meringue buttercream.


Very nice but I could use some buttercream recipes.

Jackie King

I love that ribbon cake, my daughter’s sweet 16 is coming up in 6 months and I want her to have something to remember for a long time. So I am so excited to see the sweet 16 cakes


I would use a good buttercream made with butter and hi-ratio shortening then add icing stabilizer to it. It will hold up very well. I use this in the summer in the high humidity for outdoor cakes her in New Jersey.


WOW, very impressive! thanks!


Thank you everyone! I am so glad you like the tutorial! For a great Buttercream recipe and to learn more about working with buttercream, you can check out Joshua John Russel’s FREE mini class, Modern Buttercream. Thanks again!


Thank you so much for the instructions. The wax paper cut out/line marking is brilliant.


wendy! awesome tutorial! i missed this one … love it! ^__^

fatoba bola kate

tnks for d tutorial, i will try for my son


Hi there,
I am doing a similar styleruffle on a 5″, 7″, 9″ & 11″ and have no idea how much ganache i am going to need?
Please help!


I have never made ruffles with ganache, so I am not sure if it will work. I would whip the ganache so that it is fluffy and keep it cool. You will need a lot of ganache, I would guess. It takes at least a double batch of butter cream to cover a 9in round cake with ruffles.
Good luck! I would love to see pics when it’s done:)


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