A Piece of Cake Decorating Idea

Cake decorating done in minutes with help from the dollar store. 

I am no Bakerella, and Joy the Baker has no need to fear as I hardly ever enter my kitchen to cook or bake. I do make a good cup of tea though and frequently throughout the day need to enter the kitchen to “put the kettle on” as my Irish friend, Neve says :)

Image that shows two cakes on cakes stands decorating with curling ribbons.

All kidding aside, from time to time I need to turn on the oven for more than a frozen pizza when I need to bake a cake and decorate it in a festive way to help celebrate certain occasions.  Recently I was reminded of a way my mom used to decorate cakes and immediately wanted to share it with you.

Nine times out of ten every cake I have ever made comes out a bit – sad, lopsided, or burnt on the edges. It never looks like something you would see on a food blog or in a magazine.

After it cools, I say to myself  “Oh, I will just disguise all the imperfections with lots of icing”, but then as I begin to ice – the top slides off – yes it has happened, or the crumbs from the cake, mix in with the icing – not pretty.

My mom wasn’t a baker either, but she always wanted everything to look nice and festive. One year when I was a teenager, she came up with the easiest way ever cake decorating idea for my younger sister’s birthday.

My mom found a curled ribbon gift toppers at the dollar store and used them as the perfect way to decorate a cake when you are not a cake decorator, have no time to get out piping bags and food coloring, or want to do something a little different.

Curling ribbons from the dollar store.

The dollar store carries every color imaginable of these curled ribbons so you are sure to find a color to fit any occasion or theme.  I used  three to make each cake topper shown in the photo above.

How to Attach the Curled Ribbon Topper To the Iced Cake

Option 1: My mom attached the curled ribbons to the top of the cake so it was secure by gluing the center of the curled ribbons to the little white plastic risers that hold up the inside center of a pizza box so the pizza cheese doesn’t stick to the inside lid.

When the glue is dry,  she pressed the legs of the pizza box riser into the center of the cake to secure the ribbons.

Option 2:

The pizza box risers are hard to come by nowadays, so I used what I had plenty of – birthday cake candle holders

Colorful plastic birthday cake candle holders.

They are much smaller, but work just as well. If you don’t have any – all you need is something that has a flat surface to glue the ribbons to and a thin section to press into the cake.

How to glue candle holder to curling ribbons.
  1. Glue the curled ribbons to a birthday cake candle holder.
  2. Center first section of ribbon onto a candle holder. Use hot glue to secure. Hold it in place until glue is cool and then press into the top of the cake to secure.
Showing where to place candle holder under ribbon.

2. Add the second bunch on top of the first, but in the other direction so the center of each bunch of curled ribbons intersects on top of the candle holder.

Glued on candle holder to curling ribbons.

3. Glue the last bunch on top of the second, but on the diagonal so that the ribbons are evenly placed around the candle holder.

Two cakes on plate stands decorated using curling ribbons instead of fancy time consuming icing embellishments.

4. Once the glue is cool, press the candle holder into the center of the cake and arrange the ribbon curls if necessary.  All imperfections hidden, just festive and ready to WOW the crowd.  When it is time to cut the cake, simply remove the ribbons and place around the sides of the cake plate so the cake still looks festive.

Note: If the cake is for a birthday, use tall candle birthday cake candles so the flame will be high above the ribbon.

Image graphic of two cakes plainly iced and decorated with curling ribbons.

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  1. Norma Rolader says:

    Awww what a cute and adorable way to decorate a cake

  2. Soz, I meant mauld by many an unclean hand…………………

  3. Out of the box creativity has always been My favourite!! Just worry about whether it is sanitary……..Non of these ribbons come in packages and may have been maid by many an unclean hand before it is set atop Your cake……….
    I would prefer to purchase wrapped ribbon to create My own curls and know it is sanitary and clean. Wonderful repurpose idea though!!

    xo M

  4. Linda Weeks says:

    Yay! Ribbons I can do! Thanks, and happy holidays!

  5. Wow, wonderful use of ribbons. I would never have thought of that. Thanks for sharing it!

    Here’s a good book on how to decorate a cake I found on Amazon,
    It’s especially good for beginners.

  6. Great idea!!! Totally Pinning this!!! Thanks for sharing, visiting from Serenity Now blog :)

  7. Designed Decor says:

    Wow, great idea. I love to bake and never learned how to decorate a cake. This I can do!

  8. You always have such fabulous ideas that are so easy. Thanks so much for sharing on your blog!

  9. Helengrey says:

    Adorable, icing is so challenging for me so this is perfect! Hope you stop by my blog. Thank you!

  10. I did this for our son’s 2nd birthday. I used multi-colored curling ribbons on chocolate icing with a “2” candle in the middle. I cut a piece of 1/8″ dowel rod and attached ribbons and candle to it before inserting in 3 layer cake. I wrapped the base of the cake with a coordinating 3/4″ wide satin ribbon and secured with straight pin [removed prior to cutting]. I served on a glass pedestal cake stand and let the curling ribbon hang over the edge.

  11. Festive and fun! That is a fabulous idea!

  12. Patricia in Denver says:

    Once again, so simple yet so cute and impressive!

  13. Great idea! It’s gorgeous and you don’t have to do any writing on the top!!! Hmm … wonder what else these ribbons might be good for??? :)

  14. Cindy August says:

    I’ve always enjoyed your blog – and this just confirms you are BRILLIANT. What a great idea to dress up a cake for ANY occasion.

  15. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    How clever. I have always loved curling ribbons for gifts and now a new use. My mom would always put tooth picks down around the cake far enough to hook the top to the bottom to keep them from sliding off. And the experts say to to two coating of frosting, the first being to secure the crumbs. I don’t bake anything often enough to say I am good at any of such. I really like the ribbons better than the icing as decoration.