Create any Cake Design with a Star Tip

Want to learn the super easy way to add any graphic to a cake? Using a toothpick, a star-tipped pastry bag and any stencil, you can make a pretty confection for your next cake-worthy affair. This elephant number was from Quinn’s Animal Party. Let me walk you through the simple-dimple steps of star-tip decorating.

First take a look at our How to Ice a Cake tutorial. It will tell you how to make your cake, layer it, add a crumb coat, fill your pastry bags and ice the cake where desired; ie, whatever part of your cake will not have stars. I iced the sides and then did all stars on the top but you could ice the entire cake and then only do stars in your decoration areas (ie. “2” and the elephants.)

1. Ok, so your cake is all prepared. Now you need stencil(s.) You can use any shape traced onto parchment paper and cut out. I’m lazy so I let my Silhouette cut out these adorable elephants and a “2.”

2. Arrange your stencils lightly on your cake. Leave enough space around the edge for a decorative border.

3. Use a toothpick or pin and trace around the stencils in the icing. If your icing is very dry and breaking up a bit, try just poking holes (but there is a way to fix it later as well.) If you have interior designs (like the ears, but without holes in the paper) poke through the paper with a pin to make a guide.

4. This is what it will look like with the stencils removed. If you have some crumbly icing, lay a piece of parchment paper over the outline and smooth lightly with your fingers to flatten.

5. If you haven’t already, color your icing for the design. I used two drops of electric orange and one drop of electric pink Gel Paste to create this melon color.

6. Pack it up in cellophane “rolls” as shown in How to Ice a Cake.

7. Load up your pastry bag with a #16 star tip. Since pastry tips are so inexpensive, it is really helpful to have a tip & bag for each color. In this case I had a bag of white and a bag of orange.

Now you are ready to start piping stars.

8. Starting at an edge, hold the star tip directly over the surface of the cake and squeeze the bag but do not lift up. Let the icing squeeze out to the sides until it is the desired size (about a pea) and then pull up as you release the pressure on the bag so you get a nice little point, like a Hershey’s kiss. Not a bad idea to practice a few. If you have a bad one, you can also scrap it off with the tip of a cake spatula.

9. Work around the outline of your shape so it has a nicely defined edge. Make sure your stars are touching. Since we have a crumb-coat (or full icing as the case may be) it’s ok if there are little bits uncovered by stars but if you are doing one of those shaped cakes with no icing underneath, you must cover every last bit of cake with icing. It seals the cake and keeps it fresh. If you see a little space, just squeeze the star tip in there and add a little star, no one will notice.

10. Oh but wait! We have an eye and ear that need to be iced in white so before we get too far we need to add them. Just one star for the eye and a nice row of tight stars for each ear. They really could/should have been done first.

11. Continue with the stars. Arm getting tired? Take a break rather than getting sloppy with those stars. You want nice pretty points! If it’s hot and your icing is getting soft, pop it in the fridge for a bit.

Phew! One elephant down.

Two elephants!

And now a number “2”

Looking good! If you had fully iced your cake before you started, you would be finished! Just add a pretty piped border.

Alas, I wanted all stars on top so the piping continues.

And continues.

Until it’s done! Yay! Now you just have to add a piped border around the edge. Of course if you never iced the sides of your cake, you should do that first. HA.

And then I channeled Jaime and added a little banner that I created on my silhouette. I covered some bamboo skewers with Japanese tape and then taped the ends of my little bakers twine banner to the top and stuck it in.


Yum! This is the first decorating method that I ever learned in a cake decorating class so it’s a good place to start if you are new to decorating. Very forgiving and impressive results!

Add circus peanuts (or something less gross-tasting) around the bottom to hide your cake board.

Any questions? Feeling good about trying this method for your next cake? Wouldn’t it all be worth it to see this look of joy on your baby’s face?

Leave us a comment and you could win a humongous balloon and paper straws (also featured at Quinn’s Animal Party) from Bake it Pretty!




I hope that's not really her look of joy. Haha… That cake is so awesome. I can't imagine how tired your arm and hand must have been, or how long it took to finish! Hours? Worth it though, it's so cute!


When I read the words "Forgiving" in the description, I felt immediately drawn to try this. πŸ™‚ Wonderful tutorial. Thank you for the adorable projects. Now I'm off to make a mess.


Thank you for explaining the Star tip trick so well. The cake was adorable (of course), but please, could you tell me what "Japanese Tape" is? Am I missing out on a super wonderful, magical, asian invention that will complete my life? I will be so sad. . . I guess I will go squirt icing from my piping bags into my mouth. That will make me happy ;o)

Melissa Lewis

I have to be honest, when I think of star tip decorated cake, I think of those cheesy grocery store cakes. BUT…. oh my goodness, I love this cake. It is so cute! Great job and thanks for sharing with us.


Wow, that looks awesome!!! And after reading thru your step-by-step tutorial, I think it's something I could actually do!! THANK YOU!!


Thank you for the tutorial. My son is turning 1 in September (I know I have load of time) but I've been dreading buying a cute cake. Now I can make one!!


Now I need to dig out that cake decorating set I have had sitting in the cupboard since I had no idea what to do with it!


How clever! Oh my goodness my husband had elephants on his second birthday cake and I just missed the opportunity to do it for my daughter. Boo.


That is one great look of appreciation on her face;) I am totally going to try this now though. I always thought making pretty cakes would be so difficult but you made it look so easy. We'll see how my arms hold up. Maybe I'll try it on some birthday cookies this weekend!


This is absolutely amazing!!! I can't imagine the time that went into this. I'd get too eager and just eat it.

mrs. olson

Don't you love what bums kids can be about things like birthdays? My son was such a weirdo during his birthday party last month, he couldn't handle it I guess. Silly kids!

Meg Ring

This makes me want to make my daughter's birthday cake vs. buying one! Love your creativity and diy attitude! πŸ˜€ Adore Quinn's grumpy face. She's still super cute, even with that pout. πŸ™‚


I am SO excited to plan/do my daughter's first birthday! This is definitely going in the idea folder! (p.s. the cake looks great!)

Kimberly F

I love decorating cakes using stars, but I never thought to use a stencil like that, thank you!
I've never heard of Japanese tape, what is it?


Looks fantastic! I'd almost not want to cut into it…almost. Heh. I'm going to have to try this out next time I make a birthday cake for someone.


I have always wanted to try this method for decorating a cake, but never had the guts to try. My son's birthday is on Thursday, I think I'll give it a try this year!! Can't wait. Thanks for sharing this!!


About how long would you estimate it took you to do this? Obviously, the more skilled you are with decorating/piping bags/etc, the faster it probably goes, but I'm just curious. The result is fantastic – I just want to leave myself enough time! And her face is just priceless!!!

Kelsey Johnson

Awesome cake! In a world of cupcake parties, I liked seeing how neat your basic sheet cake can look with this icing technique. By any chance, did you time how long it took you to complete?


I love this method. I've used it before and it really is easy. I'm NOT too crafty, but I like to dream big when I visit your site! This is actually something I can do!

I like felt

Oh man! That is one cool cake! I loved your choice of colors too. I'm thinking I'll have to come up with a reason to make one soon…is a Memorial day cake too weird.? πŸ˜€


Pretty Cake. I must try this.
I should use my big stash of cookie cutters to make the outlines.


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