Decorating a cake is arguably the best part of baking! Not only is it delicious, but for any baking fanatics, playing with frosting or shaved chocolate to make your creation look beautiful is just about as fun as it gets. But what if you can’t use frosting? On flourless cakes, people often cannot or do not want to use traditional frosting methods – but that doesn’t mean your cake has to be boring! Not with this beautiful and simple decorating technique.

When frosting is off the table, there is another ingredient you can use to make your cake extra beautiful and extra delicious: powdered sugar. Usually, powdered sugar acts as the final touch, the cherry-on-top of a perfect dessert. But, in this case, powdered sugar is the star!

To make some really gorgeous powdered sugar designs, like these two designs, you’ll only need a few things. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


For the first design, we’ll be making a checkered pattern.

Start by cutting paper into long strips. Lay the strips down one way across the entire width of the cake. Using your powdered sugar shaker, coat the top of your cake (including the paper strips) entirely. Gently lift up the paper strips (you don’t want to spill some of the sugar, you’ll ruin the striped affect) and clean them off.

You can leave the cake striped like this, or you can lay the paper strips along the width of the cake going the OPPOSITE way. Repeat the same steps, covering the top of the cake in powdered sugar, and gently removing the paper again. You should be left with a trendy checkered look that was so simple to achieve!

Checkered pattern on cake.America's Test Kitchen

The second design is a two-toned, circular pattern.

Start by placing your jar or cup lids randomly over the surface of your cake; make sure they’re scattered about and let some even hang over the edges of the cake. Cover the entire surface in powdered sugar before carefully removing the lids – make sure to lift the lids straight up to avoid any spillage.

Clean off the lids and re-set them, scattering them this time so that they overlap among the circles you originally created. This time, shake cocoa powder all over surface of the cake. When you gently remove these lids, you’ll have an overlapped, two-toned affect that your party guests will love.

Circular pattern on cake.America's Test Kitchen

They’ll never even know how easy it was to do!

Before you do either of these designs, make sure the cake is cooled. In fact, just to be safe, chill the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes. If you try to cover your cake in powdered sugar when it’s warm, the sugar will melt right into the surface of the cake. To get the brightest, most easily visible designs, decorate on cooled cakes only.

What do you think of these powdered sugar designs? Do you make fun designs using powdered sugar? Share your techniques in the comments section below.