Cake Decorating Terms

April 29, 2011  |  Outer Banks Wedding Cake

There are many different techniques and design details used for cake decorating.  Ever wonder what a “dragee” is?  Don’t have a clue what “ganache” is?  Well wonder no more, here is a list of the most common cake lingo.  Enjoy!

All Over Dots OR Swiss Dots

A piping technique that forms tiny dots in random patterns that resemble a fine dot swiss fabric.


A piping technique that features interwoven vertical and horizontal lines (like a wicker basket).

Beaded Border

A piping technique that forms “beads” at the base of the tiers of the cake.


A smooth, creamy icing that stays soft so it’s easy to cut through. It can be colored and/or flavored. Also used to create piping, swags, and other borders, as well as decorative rosettes. It can be used as filling too.


Round, edible sugar balls coated with silver or gold and used for decorative purposes.


A sweet, elastic icing made of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin that’s literally rolled out with a rolling pin and draped over a cake. It’s a smooth, firm base for gum paste flowers, decorative details, and architectural designs, and has a porcelain finish.


A sweet, rich chocolate, denser than mousse but less dense than fudge, which can be used as icing or filling.

Gum paste

This paste of sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin is used to mold realistic-looking fruits and flowers to garnish a cake. Gum paste decorations are edible and will last for years as keepsakes, but, say some, they don’t taste as yummy as marzipan.


A paste made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites, used to mold edible flowers or fruit to decorate the cake. Marzipan can also be rolled in sheets, like fondant, and used as icing.


Separators used in a tiered cake. They can be made of plastic or wood in several lengths to achieve the desired look.


Decorative technique created using a pastry bag and various metal tips. Piping details include leaves, borders, basket-weave patterns, and flowers.

Royal icing

Made of egg whites and confectionary sugar, this icing starts life as a soft paste piped from a pastry bag to create latticework, beading, bows, and flowers.

Trio Dots

Similar to “All Over Dots” or “Swiss Dots” but the dots are piped onto the cake in threes, thus called trio.

All Over Dots Or Swiss Dots

Basket Weave

Beaded Border and Trio Dots

Buttercream Icing

Fondant Icing with Fondant Icing Bows and Ribbon

Chocolate Ganache Icing

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