In this tutorial, you will learn how to create beautiful, perfect buttercream stripes on your cakes!
This striped buttercream design would be impossible to do with freehand piping, but we've figured out a way to to create the look with a simple cake comb!
How to Make Striped Buttercream
The key players in this tutorial are a butter-based buttercream (like our classic vanilla buttercream recipe), a cake comb, and a bench scraper.
You could try using a spatula instead of a bench scraper, but I am a huge fan of bench scrapers in general for getting a smooth, even coating of frosting around the sides of the cake (and for this method, they are especially helpful).
Don't forget to see our materials & notes below. Enjoy the video!!
Tips for making Perfect Buttercream Stripes
- Choose a butter-based buttercream (rather than shortening-based) so that when you chill the combed cake, the frosting will become very firm. This makes piping the contrasting colors and smoothing (without distorting the design) so much easier.
- Use a comb that has fairly spaced out grooves since you are going to have to go back in and fill all of those impressions with buttercream stripes... this can be time consuming, and you'll want to pipe quickly so that you can smooth over the design while the buttercream is still chilled.
- I like that the cake comb that I used today created fairly deep impressions. This gives you a little wiggle room when you go back in and smooth over your design.
During the process of smoothing with a hot bench scraper, you will be removing some of the frosting from the cake and so with the deeper impressions, you don't have to worry about accidentally removing too much and losing your stripes.
- Have a pot of hot water on standby for heating your metal bench scraper. As we explain in the video, it is much easier to smooth over your design when you are working with a heated bench scraper. That top layer of frosting melts just enough to give it a flawless finish.
There are a couple of shortcuts that you may be able to take for this method.
For instance, after applying a generous layer of frosting to your cake, you may be able to comb the cake with no worries of catching crumbs, etc.
I had to chill mine before adding the final coat but you may not. (*Final coat of frosting remains soft so that you can easily comb.)
Also, in our trial run of this method, I did not have to dip my bench scraper in hot water. But for the video version, I had to.
So, it's best to have a hot pot of water on standby in case your bench scraper doesn't easily glide over & smooth your frosting.
As I mentioned in the video, it is very important that your combed cake is well chilled before piping your lines.
It needs to be firm so that you can do all of your piping and bench scrape the soft frosting into the ridges while the ridges are firm.
I hope that you have fun with this technique!!
Enjoy the Video!
We hope that you have fun with this beautiful technique! The options are endless- you can change things up dramatically based on the colors and cake combs that you choose!
How to Create Striped Buttercream! -Free Cake Decorating Video Tutorial
Learn to make PERFECT buttercream stripes on your cakes in this video tutorial!
- This method can be used on any size of cake. We used a 6 inch double barrel cake, frosted with our Classic Vanilla Buttercream recipe and combed with a Wilton Cake Comb.
- Cake Comb- I prefer combs with fairly deep impressions and ridges that are fairly spaced apart (Less stripes to make!) We used a Wilton cake comb but there are many options!
- Buttercream-Needs to be butter-based (not shortening) like our Classic Vanilla buttercream recipe. Butter becomes much firmer when chilled.
- Bench Scraper
- Coloring Gels: We used Wilton Rose & Wilton Leaf Green
- Piping Tips: Wilton 10 and Ateco 869 for piping on top (You can substitute with a Wilton 2D or other large star tip if you don’t have a large french tip), Wilton tip 4 (Bead Border)
- Crumb coat the cake in a (preferably) butter-based frosting.
- Freeze for 10 minutes to firm up the frosting, then apply a second coat of frosting and comb the cake.
- Chill again to firm up in the freeze for about 15-20 minutes.
- Pipe within the ridges using a contrasting color of buttercream. Scrape away the excess with a bench scraper. Fill in any spaces or imperfections as needed and smooth with a bench scraper. (I find heating the bench scraper to use against the cold frosting is helpful in fine tuning.)
- Repeat the chilling/smoothing process until you're happy with the cake. Be careful not to remove too much of your buttercream- you don't want to lose your stripes ;0) -
A butter-based buttercream (rather than all-shortening) works best with this technique because the buttercream will firm up much more quickly when chilled, and will stay firm a little longer as you work.
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Bench Scraper (For frosting around sides of cake- Note that this one is 6 inches.)
Magic Line Pan- 6 inch x 2 inch
Ateco 869 Pastry Tube - French Star - Size 9
Americolor Coloring Gels Set (Check box for list of colors. Colors are sold individually also.)
Wilton Disposable Piping Bags- 12 inch
Wilton Offset Spatula- 9 inch
Wilton Icing Smoother Comb Set-3 Piece, White/Purple
I usually work with Italian Meringue Buttercream and follow Brittany May Cakes who uses Swiss Meringue Buttercream for her striped cakes. I'm not a fan of American Buttercream because it's too sweet. If I am careful to keep the cake going in and out of the fridge do you think IMBC could be used for the stripe method. Brittany May is super talented and puts out beautiful cakes that are mostly stripped but no videos on how she accomplishes this. I would appreciate any advise.
Hi Pam, yes you can do this method with other frostings also. I like to use frostings that contain butter so that I can chill/firm up the combed frosting before going in with the stripes. You shouldn't have any issues. Good luck!