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  • Writer's pictureRachel

Four Ways to Decorate Carrot Cake for Easter

With Easter right around the corner, you may be feeling inspired to add a festive dessert to the menu. Carrot cake is a classic springtime dessert, but just because it’s traditional doesn’t mean it has to be boring.


A few years ago I did some recipe testing and tried my hand at some fun cake decorating styles. I was super pleased with the results—both the look and the taste. Some techniques were more advanced than others, but with the right tools, any home baker can give them a go!



So no matter your skill level, there are plenty of fun ways to decorate your Easter dessert. I’ll break down step-by-step guides for four carrot cakes I’ve baked and decorated in the past, including recipes and simple variations. We’ll start simple and work our way to the ones that require more tools, skills, and patience :)


And if it doesn’t come out the way you want it to, don’t worry too much. Cake is like pizza. There’s no such thing as a bad slice!


Simple Swirl (Beginner)



What to know: First up, we’ve got a real classic: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Cream cheese frosting presents a bit of a challenge because it is much harder to decorate with than buttercream. It’s not as stiff and tends to have a thicker consistency, which makes it harder to seamlessly blend edges for a clean look.


But don’t fret, there are still ways to add a bit of charm to your cream cheese frosting-covered carrot cake. Take, for instance, the Simple Swirl.


Tools you’ll need:

  • Offset spatula (substitute: knife)

  • Bench scraper/cake smoother (substitute: knife or rubber spatula)

  • Cake turntable (substitute: cake stand)


How to decorate:

  1. Atop your cake turntable, completely frost the cake, following recipe instructions

  2. Smooth the frosting on the outside edges using a bench scraper for a cleaner look or a knife for a more rustic look

  3. Add ¼-½ cup of frosting to the top of the cake and smooth out with an offset spatula

  4. Starting in the middle, place the tip of the offset scraper at a 45-degree angle and press into the top of the frosting about a ½-inch

  5. While maintaining consistent pressure with the offset spatula, slowly turn the cake turntable while gradually moving the spatula toward the outer edge of the cake

  6. Once you reach the outer edge, smooth over any uneven areas and you’re done!


Pecans and Dollops (Beginner-Intermediate)



What to know: Another cake with cream cheese frosting means we’re a little more limited in what we can do, but we can still get the piping bags involved! This uses the same recipe as the Simple Swirl, but incorporates the toasted pecans, which I omitted for the first design.


Tools you’ll need:

  • Offset spatula (substitute: knife)

  • Bench scraper/cake smoother (substitute: knife or rubber spatula)

  • Cake turntable (substitute: cake stand)

  • Piping bag (substitute: ziploc bag)

  • Large round piping tip (substitute: piping bag or ziploc bag without tip)

  • Baking sheet (substitute: plate or large baking dish)


How to decorate:

  1. Atop your cake turntable, completely frost the cake, following recipe instructions

  2. Smooth the frosting on the outside edges using a bench scraper for a cleaner look or a knife for a more rustic look

  3. Add ½-1 cup of frosting to piping bag with circular tip inserted (if using)

  4. Pipe dollops about 1-inch round and 1-inch high around the top edge of the cake

  5. Place cake turntable on baking sheet—it will serve to catch fallen pecans as you add them to the cake

  6. Sprinkle pecans to fill in the top of the cake, as desired

  7. Gently press chopped pecans into the side of the cake, covering the bottom 1-2 inches

  8. Enjoy!


Piped Carrots (Intermediate)



What to know: This may or may not be mind-blowing information, but carrot cakes don’t HAVE to use cream cheese frosting. Anyone else’s life changed by this? Just me? Ok.


Anyway…carrot cakes made with buttercream are equally (dare I say, if not more) as delicious as they are with cream cheese frosting. This recipe is case in point.


So what does this mean? It means lots and lots of fun decorating possibilities await us! Take, for instance, this Piped Carrots design.


Tools you’ll need:

  • Offset spatula (substitute: knife)

  • Bench scraper/cake smoother (substitute: knife or rubber spatula)

  • Cake turntable (substitute: cake stand)

  • 4 piping bags (substitute: ziploc bag)

  • Large open star piping tip (substitute: piping bag or ziploc bag without tip)

  • Small open star piping tip (substitute: piping bag or ziploc bag without tip)

  • Small leaf piping tip

  • Small circle piping tip (substitute: piping bag or ziploc bag without tip)

  • Baking sheet (substitute: plate or large baking dish)

  • Orange and green food dye or gel


How to decorate:

  1. Atop your cake turntable, completely frost the cake, following recipe instructions

  2. Smooth the frosting on the outside edges using a bench scraper (you’ll want a cleaner look for this design)

  3. Add ½-1 cup of frosting to piping bag with large open star tip inserted

  4. Pipe dollops about 1-inch round and 1-inch high around the top edge of the cake

  5. Place cake turntable on baking sheet—it will serve to catch fallen pecans as you add them to the cake

  6. Sprinkle pecans to fill in the top of the cake, as desired

  7. Mix ¼ cup of buttercream with orange food gel and ¼ cup of buttercream with green food gel

  8. Add orange frosting to piping bag with small open star tip inserted

  9. Add half of the green food coloring to a piping bag with a leaf tip inserted

  10. Add the other half of the green food coloring to a piping bag with a small circle tip

  11. With the orange frosting, pipe triangular shapes, one dot at a time, to make the carrots

    1. I did two rows of four dots, two rows of three dots, two rows of two dots, and one row with one dot (see pictures)

  12. With the green piping bag with the leaf tip, place the tip at the top of the piped carrots and pipe two leaves in an upward motion

  13. With the green piping bag with the small circle tip, place in between piped leaves and pipe curlicue design moving away from the leaves

  14. Stand back and admire your work!


Orange and Green Stripes (Advanced)



What to know: I’ll be honest, stripes are not easy to master. I tried them many times with varied levels of success. By no means is my Orange and Green Stripe designed carrot cake perfect, but it’s cute and festive and it’s always fun to practice a new skill!


Tools you’ll need:

  • Offset spatula (substitute: knife)

  • Bench scraper/cake smoother (substitute: knife or rubber spatula)

  • Cake turntable (substitute: cake stand)

  • 2 piping bags (substitute: ziploc bag)

  • 2 small circle piping tips (substitute: piping bag or ziploc bag without tip)

  • Baking sheet (substitute: plate or large baking dish)

  • Orange and green food dye or gel

  • Icing comb


How to decorate:

  1. Atop your cake turntable, completely frost the cake, following recipe instructions. You’ll want to make sure the layer of frosting is extra thick

  2. Smooth the frosting on the outside edges using a bench scraper (you’ll want a cleaner look for this design)

  3. Mix ½ cup of buttercream with orange food gel and ½ cup of buttercream with green food gel

  4. Add frosting to piping bags with small circle tips inserted

  5. Place icing comb parallel to the edge of the cake and use light pressure to make approximately ¼-inch indents into the cake

  6. Rotate turntable with your other hand until you have indents from the comb around the whole cake

  7. Pipe orange frosting into all indents except for the one on the top. It is easiest to hold your piping hand in place while rotating the turntable with your other hand

  8. Pipe green frosting into the topmost indent using the same technique as you did with the orange frosting

  9. Using a bench scraper or cake smoother, place it parallel to the side of the cake and apply light pressure, rotate the cake turntable with your other hand

    1. This is going to look very messy at first, but it will get better as you keep going!

  10. Continue to scrape frosting until stripes clearly form

    1. You may need to add touch-ups to stripes on the frosting. This is a process. It is going to take quite a few rotations to get everything looking striped and clean.

  11. Once you’re happy with the stripes, place the cake turntable on baking sheet—it will serve to catch fallen pecans as you add them to the cake

  12. You’ve done it!

Share Your Easter Treats

If you try one of these cakes for Easter or just for fun, be sure to tag us @bellyrubsbakeryblog or shoot us an email at bellyrubsbakeryblog@gmail.com :)

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