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Cake Decorating – Sugar Paste Perfection


You learned how to coat and cover a pre-made sponge with jam, buttercream & sugar-paste. You were shown the easiest way to get a neat professional finish. You then hand crafted a bear that was the show piece for the top of your cake. Practice your writing with coloured royal icing and your cake is complete.

You can remove your bear and keep it as a souvenir forever as it will air dry, or you can just eat him!

*The cake will stay fresh for up to 10days but must not be kept in the fridge.


Cakes should be coated with the thinnest amount of buttercream, if the buttercream is too thick it will cause the cake to bulge and the sugar paste to slip. Remember that buttercream is put simply as “flavoured glue” it is not there for additional flavour, it Is required to hold the cake together, to stick the sugar-paste to the cake and is never put on the same layer as the jam (this will cause it to slide, think of oil and water)

  • Place 1st layer of sponge on cake-board
  • Spread thin layer of jam onto sponge
  • Place 2nd layer of sponge directly on top of 1st layer
  • Spread thin layer of buttercream onto sponge
  • Place 3rd layer directly on top of 2nd layer
  • Spread thin layer of jam onto sponge
  • Place final 4th layer on top of 3rd layer
  • Using palette knife hold vertically and THICKLY paste buttercream around exterior of cake
  • Make sure entire exterior coated
  • Thickly spread buttercream on top of cake
  • Wipe palette knife and dip into hot water (don’t dry)
  • Holding palette knife vertically, ensure tip touches cake board at all times
  • Pull palette knife against the cake and remove all excess buttercream (it will be messy!!)
  • Clean palette knife and dip into hot water (don’t dry)
  • Holding palette knife horizontally pull knife towards you
  • Remove excess butter cream.
  • Repeat steps and remove buttercream from the exterior / top until you are left with a very thinly coated cake.



  • Knead sugar-paste with dry hands and NO icing sugar (enemy!)
  • Roll sugar-paste into tight ball, creases underneath
  • When sugar-paste feels pliable, gently dust table with Icing sugar
  • Small amount of icing sugar on top
  • Using rolling pin, gently roll up (stop before the edge)
  • Roll down (stop before the edge) put rolling pin down
  • Turn sugar-paste from 12o`clock – 3 o`clock (1/4 turn)
  • Repeat rolling action – UP, DOWN, STOP, TURN until sugar-paste is approx. thickness of £1 coin
  • Cut a piece of ribbon or string that snuggly fits one side of cake to the other, this gives you the size of sugar-paste that you need
  • Ensure that the ribbon/string you have cut is smaller than the sugar-pate you have rolled, if its larger, you may have to roll sugar-paste thinner
  • Place sugar-paste over rolling pin and flip edge over the cake
  • Quickly secure sugar-paste to the cake by cupping hands gently round top and side of cake
  • There will be creases of icing, gently open any creases and smooth hands down sides of cake, repeat opening creases if necessary and smoothing down
  • Cut surplus sugar-paste away from the bottom of the cake
  • Rub icing smoothers gently around exterior of cake
  • Step away from the cake and put the smoothers down!

Never keep the sugar-paste in the fridge, it will go back to “wet” and look as though its sweating. It will take 24 hours to dry out and could distort any coloured icing used.


There are many different finishes you can apply to your cake; I like to finish mine by using a crimping tool and crimping the edges of the sugar-paste.

I also like to cover the board with sugar-paste, the easiest way to do this is to:

  • Wet cake-board with damp paint brush
  • Roll long sausage shape of sugar-paste
  • Roll flat, about 6 cm wide (wider if large amount of cake board is exposed)
  • Cut down the centre of the rolled sugar-paste
  • Take 1 section of cut sugar-paste (cut side pointing against the cake)
  • Place edge of sugar-paste directly against cake resting on the cake board
  • Literally let the sugar-paste cover all of the board and cut any excess (make sure the seam is at the back)
  • Crimp edges of sugar-paste to add a pattern
  • Wet bottom of the cake with a damp paintbrush
  • Attach coloured ribbon of choice around the cake (seam at the back)

Experiment with different crimping or embossing tools or try your hand at piping.


  • Knead brown sugar-paste until pliable
  • Roll into thick short sausage shape
  • Cut into 9 equal parts
  • Place part 1 where a hat would go
  • Place part 2 & 3 where a head would go
  • Place part 4,5 & 6 where a body would go
  • Place part 7 & 8 where legs would go
  • Pull part 9 in ½ and place where arms would go
  • Roll the body into a tight ball and taper the top so it is now a pear shape
  • Place just off centre on top of cake
  • Secure onto cake by pushing skewer through the top of the body, until it touches cake board
  • Leave 2.5cm skewer visible and cut the excess off
  • Roll the legs into sausage shapes, cut small diagonal piece away from top of each leg (it should look like a letter “V”)
  • Secure the legs by placing the diagonal cut part against the body of the bear
  • Repeat shaping action using the arms and cut diagonal from top to bottom of each arm, gently flatten at each end to make a paw shape
  • Place bears paw on its leg, gently attach top of arm to the exposed skewer, this will create the bears shoulders. Remove any excess
  • Roll head into round and then gently elongate (think new potato shape)
  • Using cupped hand place head on top of exposed skewer, gently push down
  • Take pea size piece of brown sugar-paste (take from scraps or hat piece)
  • Roll round and push against bears face to make its muzzle
  • Take pea size piece of brown sugar-paste roll into a ball and flatten (fruit pastel shape)
  • Cut in half and press the cut size where ears would go
  • Using small balling tool make 2 small eye holes and a nose hole above the muzzle
  • Roll black sugar-paste the size of a small small small pea
  • Split pea in half, roll into a round and gently press in eye sockets
  • Repeat for nose and attach, score bear with any markings/stitching


Cake decorating doesn’t have to be expensive; you can pick tools up relatively cheaply from shops such as

  • The Range
  • Quality Save
  • Home Bargains
  • Ebay
  • Amazon

Start off slowly, learn how to master the basics and then push yourself further.

Next time try and dress your bear with “sugar-paste” clothes

Make a bear for your bear

How about making a bear that hangs over the edge of the cake pulling another bear up?

The list is endless, take photos of your 1st bear and then again when you have made your 8th bear. Look how you have improved, look how different each bear appears. Make boy and girl bears. You can also use different mediums to make the bear.

  • Modelling Chocolate
  • Marzipan
  • Sugar-paste
  • Modelling paste

The bear can air dry and be kept as a souvenir.

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