Icing Cakes

1. Background Info

2. About Sugarpaste

3. Preparing Sugarpaste for Rolling Out

4. Rolling out Sugarpaste

5. Icing a Round Cake

6. Icing a Square Cake with Panels

7. Icing a Square Cake

8. Icing a Round Cake Wrapping Around

9. Fixing Common Problems

10. Icing a Double Barrel Cake - 1. Preparing to Ganche the Cake

Paul takes us through each step in great detail covering cutting, ganaching and creating sharp edges with sugarpaste. A must watch for any new cake designer.

11. Icing a Double Barrel Cake - 2. Ganaching Part 1

Paul is adding dark chocolate ganache to this cake but of course for children especially you may want to use milk chocolate ganache. If you are unfamiliar with ganache then click here for an indepth tutorial on using ganache. You will need a large palette knife to apply the ganache to the side of the cake and don’t hold back. Put plenty on and once you covered the whole side of the cake get a metal cake scraper, wet it and then place against the cake card and apply equal pressure as you scrape around the cake. Remember and create a nice tall lip at the top as this will help you in the next section. To test whether it is equal all the way round just place the scraper against the card and see if you can see any uneven gaps between the cake and the scraper.

12. Icing a Double Barrel Cake - 3. Ganaching Part 2

You will now see why you needed that lip at the top of the cake. This helps you create a nice sharp edge at the top of the cake. Get a jug of hot water and dip your clean palette knife in it and make sure at least half of it is wet. each time you cut away a section of the lip. You may find it handy to have a turntable for this section to save you having to constantly maneuver around the cake. When using the metal ruler at the top of the cake think of a plane taking off from a runway as you near the edge and slowly bring it up to create a slight ramp.

13. Icing a Double Barrel Cake - 4. Ganaching Part 3

This is the final stage of ganaching the cake and it is so incredibly satisfying. This will surely convert all buttercream users! Again you will need a jug of hot clean water and an equally clean palette knife. Dip the palette knife in the water and then gently go around smoothing the ganache. Once you have done this get a clean pastry or large soft brush and dip it in the water and go around the cake smoothing it even further.

14. Icing a Double Barrel Cake - 5. Covering the Cake

In this lesson Paul uses 1.5kg of sugarpaste which ends up giving a lot spare but it actually makes the whole process easier as it creates longer and easier to work with pleats as you will soon see. Paul also advises that rolling out the sugarpaste to about 3mm in thickness will be thin enough to create a sharp edge and thick enough to not be damaged too easily. When creating the sharp edge if you are feeling confident and have clean hands you can even use your index fingers to sharpen it even more. Just be careful not to dig into it too much.

15. Icing a Double Barrel Cake - 6. Stacking the Cake

In this lesson Paul gives some further advice on stacking the cake showing where to place cake card and dowels to add support to a tall two tiered cake. We hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and stay tuned for some more fantastic tutorials.

Icing cakes is an essential skill for anyone who wants to learn cake decorating and here Paul provides a free master class! He will demonstrate step-by-step how to ice a round cake and a square cake using a number of different tried and tested techniques that will serve you well for a lifetime of cake decorating.

Paul Bradford

Paul Bradford

Paul Bradford´s mission is to ‘Empower people to achieve their cake decorating dreams’ by providing a range of cake decorating courses and online tutorials through their website, which currently teaches 195,000+ students.  


  1. Aflow

    Greetings from Malaysia! Thank you so much for your tutorials! Got a lot of great tips from you.
    May I ask what material is your tabletop made of? Doesn’t the surface scratch when you run your knife on it?

  2. onetier

    What I love about Paul is that he’s a human. Things don’t always work out seamlessly yet he shows you how to stay calm and fix them. It’s a breath of fresh air to see that even the professionals can have air bubbles form or fondant tear. Thank you for that.

  3. teresa camargo

    Thanks for sharing your tutorials. I’m from Mexico. This will help me a lot on my business.

  4. DG

    Is there a chart to help guide weight of sugar paste to size of cake in inches/ cm?
    How does one know how much sugar paste to start with for a 6″ opposed to an 8″ or more.
    You said 1/3 more than what you need- what would you start with please?

    • Paul Doffman (Staff)


      We don’t have a chart like this I’m afraid. I think most people just tend to gain a judgement over time and of course if you don’t have enough you will find out when you roll it and you can simple and more and re need it. If you add too much then you can put the left over in a air tight bag and store it.

      You might want to see what advice people give in our Q&A http://www.designer-cakes.com/questions/

      Hope that helped a little


  5. DG

    You’re amazing!! You make it look so simple. Thank you for being so informative.
    Watching you makes me feel eager to decorate a cake and test my skills…hehehe 🙂

  6. lane

    Olá bom dia!
    qual a melhor marca de pasta americana para trabalhar , aqui temos da Arcor, Malaverio …seria melhor fazem em casa?

  7. Salnoni

    Ready made sugar paste on the supermarket shelves in my country is almost like a fairy tale! I still make my sugar paste from scratch. It is a lot of hard work as you have to be very careful and get the ingredients just right. But the numerous design options for my cakes that come with it make all the risks and hard work worthwhile. Your teacher who taught you in college and made it from scratch is a real pro (oh,and so are you) 😀

  8. eric

    Great set of videos.
    One Question I have is cake storage.
    I believe sugar paste does not like being in a fridge where fondant requires to be stored in a fridge.
    How are the cakes stored?


  9. michala-dench

    I have had a calamity last night and decided to pull the whole lot of this morning so this was a great help. But my ganache underneath the sugarpaste was sticky and made the sugarpaste sticky as well. Why is this? I ganached my cake yesterday and in the fridge but left it out last night covered with the sugarpaste that had a rip in it at the bottom. Or is it the actual ganache, I used long life cream from the chill cabinet.

  10. platamona

    Thank you for the lovely tutorials. Paul could you please tell me what you sprinkle your surface with? It looks like icing sugar.
    I agree with, Onetier, keep up the great work that you do.

  11. Claudia Chaudhari

    Hi Paul! Can you please tell me what kind of cakes are or can be cover with fondant? white, yellow, chocolate? I am learning so much from your tutorials. You are a great teacher!

  12. lincolnleas4

    I am going to make the pepper pig cake using your chocolate cake should I cover the cake with choc butter cream before covering with sugarpaste. Yours looks so smooth is it ganache also do you split the cakes and use a filling as well

    • Andy (Staff)

      Paul uses ganache on most of his cakes for a smooth and tasty finish once the sugarpaste is applied. Splitting the cakes and filling with ganache works great to!

  13. lynne

    Hi Paul

    Just wanted to know could you use a traditional cake mix for a wedding cakes and around the cake add a ganach white sause as you have done with the chocolate sauce, when you did your chocolate cakes, or would that depend on the cake mixture of your wedding cake as to whether the ganache white sauce would compliment the taste of the cake.

  14. rania

    thanks alot for your advice you have amazing way to teach us how to do that

  15. jazcupcakecreationzAUS

    Hey you’ve got me curios about sugar paste and fondant. I live in Australia and I cover my cakes in fondant and use sugar paste for figurines, flowers etc. Would you recommend covering cakes in sugar paste instead of fondant? Is there a difference in our countries?

  16. Nat08x

    Hi Paul,
    As you mentioned the cheaper products aren’t as good as satin ice etc for wedding cakes, would adding some tylose powder or something else to home made sugarpaste make it more elastic?

  17. sondra79

    I have downloaded almost all your videos ..and I find them very easy to follow.
    Me being a babe I’m the business I have the heart and love for cakes, I just
    Needed some direction and with you Mr.Paul .I’ve found it
    Thank you so much

  18. crocake

    Hello Paul, and thank you for this classes. One question, would be OK to use this technique on a wedding cake or it might look not good enough? Thank you.

  19. athena62

    Really enjoying these videos! I was just wondering why you use so many packs of a ready-coloured sugarpaste (which at almost £3 per pack, in my local cakecraft shop, works out quite expensive) when you can use larger packs of plain white ready-to-roll icing and colour it using any of the good quality food colourings? This is what I normally do for large quantities of coloured icing and I use the smaller Renshaw packs for decorations/models etc. Thanks again for such fabulous turotials. I have been designing cakes for a few years so still eager to learn different techniques and ideas. I have my notepad at the ready to jot down any useful tools/equipment/supplies that Paul uses!

    Kind regards

    • Danielle

      Hi Athena,

      Thank you for getting in touch! We often use the ready coloured sugar paste, because it keeps the colour of the sugarpaste consistent throughout the cake, because sometimes the colour and consistency may vary when using food colourings.
      I found more information on the Q&A section of our website which may give more information. (Lots of clever cake masters on there) http://www.designer-cakes.com/questions/purple-paste
      Ps – Thank you so much for the kind comments, we are really happy that you are enjoying the tutorials that we have on offer! If you would like any other information, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
      Thanks! D xx 🙂

  20. sue11

    Extremely good videos with step by step instructions. The problem fixing is excellent too, I know I will use those suggestions! I can’t wait to view the other videos, thanks so much

  21. valeria521

    Olá sou sua mais nova aluna. Moro no Brasil, em São Paulo. Não entendo seu idioma, eu apenas assisto as aulas. Agora encontrei estas aulas com legenda e fiquei muito feliz, porque eu copio o texto e traduzo no Google, para poder entender melhor. Dá muito trabalho mas é melhor para mim. Seria muito bom se as outras aulas tivessem legenda.
    Estou gostando muito. Obrigada Valéria
    Hello I’m your newest student. I live in Brazil, in Sao Paulo. I do not understand your language, I just watch the lessons. Now I found these lessons with subtitles and I was very happy because I copy the text and translate with Google, in order to understand better. A lot of work but it’s better for me. It would be great if other classes had the caption.
    I’m really enjoying it. Thank you Valerie

    • Danielle

      Hi Valeria,

      Thank you for getting in touch and for the fantastic feeback. In the future we hope to have subtitles, I have passed this information onto the team to look into!

      We are so glad you are enjoying the lessons! xx 🙂

  22. IssaCAKE

    Some tips here, that even as a self taught cake decorator (for over 15 years) that will help me with that all important, professional finish. Sometimes it really pays to keep checking back on the basics .. Thanks Paul

    • Danielle

      Hi IssaCAKE!

      I completely agree, there is nothing more effective than popping back and looking over the basics! – We are happy that we were able to be of help to you!
      D xx

    • Danielle

      Hi Cake Lady!

      Sorry to hear that you are unable to view his work on the cake. If you select the square button on the far right corner of the video, this will expand the video to full screen to allow you to view all of the video. I hope this help! Thanks Danielle:) xx

  23. Ladyabc85

    Watching this really made me understand what I have been doing wrong. I really like the idea about smoothing out the “pleats” in order to get the sugarpaste not to have bumps and tears.

    • Danielle

      Hi Ladyabc85. Thank you for the lovely feedback. I am glad you found this tutorial useful:) Enjoy the rest of the tutorials !! x

  24. Licklelady

    Could you show us how to cover a really tall cake please? I have just done one that was only 6 inches in diameter and about 5 inches high (Rainbow type cake). I had so many pleats in it, it looked rubbish. I would really like to know the best way to go about covering one like this for next time.

  25. Aysha767

    Hi, thnx a lot for such a precious online course.. M loving it. How can we make this sugar paste at home? Pl tell the ingredients with quantity as I am from Pakistan and didn’t get in stores over here.

  26. laberryuk

    Hello there, although I am enjoying the videos of how to ice a cake, I would’ve liked them to include how wide to roll the sugarpaste to ensure it fits and also what weight will be needed for each size cake.

    • Danielle

      Hi Laberryuk,

      Thank you for the feedback. I will certainly pass this onto the team to see if this is something we can include in the future.
      D xx

  27. NatashaMcQuillan

    Hi!! Loving the free classes. Fab and Thank You. I’ve been doing cakes for a few years and can’t believe techniques etc that I wasn’t aware of. Learning loads. Such a good teacher Paul! Once I work through the freebies I would like to get full access. Can it be paid for monthly as I see it says “billed annually”?? Thank you, Natasha 🙂

    • Danielle

      Hi Natasha, Thank you so much for the fantastic feedback! I am so glad you are enjoying the tutorials and you like the way Paul teaches! Hopefully we can welcome you as a member really soon! We have a monthly option available, which you can join for only £9.95 a month, this gives you access to over 250 online tutorials, with a new one being added every week. You can find out more about it here – http://www.designer-cakes.com/membership-options 🙂 Any questions, drop me an email at [email protected]
      Enjoy the rest of the free membership! xx

  28. Leah

    What would be your tips for covering cakes with fondant in hot and humid climates (I’m in Queensland Australia)? Tips such as best frosting (butter cream/ganache) to put under the fondant in this type of weather and storing the fondant covered cake.

    • Danielle

      Hi Kimmi! Thank you for the feedback! Hehe!! Many people love Paul’s accent! Glad you are enjoying the tutorials 🙂 x

  29. LordFoppington

    This is quality teaching! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge! I’m a beginner from Germany and since we do not have any comparable tutrioals here (at least not as good as these), this was really really helpful!
    However, I was wondering if I will need some sort of mat or silicon underpad if I do not have a marble counter top / surface at home?

  30. libra256

    I’m a virgin at using sugarpaste or fondant. I’ve always been afraid to touch the stuff it’s really good to know Paul gets air bbubbles so when I do it, it won’t defeat me.

    • Danielle

      Hi Libra256,

      Once you give it a go once, and have practiced a few times, you will get used to handling it. Everyone gets airbubbles so do not fret when you do! Best of luck:) x

    • Danielle

      Hi there,
      No problem, we are very glad that you enjoyed it! We hope you will enjoy many more of our tutorials:) D xx

  31. seriouslycake

    Is using ganache the new way forward? No more butter icing? Where have I been. I’ve only taken up baking and decorating cakes six months ago. Only just about able to use sugar paste, now this. Oh please help me.

    • Danielle

      Hi Seriouslycake, it is entirely up to you what method you use. Paul prefers ganaching as it is easier to play with, to get sharp corners and it tastes good too!
      Certainly give it a go and see if it is right for you:)
      If you have any cake related questions, feel free to head over to the Q&A section of our website where fellow cake decorators will be willing to offer their help xx

  32. Mishelle22

    You have an amazing talent! You are the Guru of Fondant! my Yoda!! So glad you made these tutorials, thank you from South Philadelphia PA, USA

    • Danielle

      Hi Mischelle22, thank you for the lovely comments. I am so glad you have found the site and are enjoying it! Best of luck with your cake decorating:) xxx

  33. anuradhabanerjee

    Simply fabulous videos …content is clear n instructions are precise and easy to follow. I am so glad to have stumbled upon this site…I would love to see a video on tempering chocolate. Thanks!

  34. Romina

    Hello… I’m from Argentina. can I see de videos in Spanish? I whant to learn but I don’t understand nothing. Sorry, My English is very poor.

    • Danielle

      Hi Romina,

      Thank you for getting in touch.
      Unfortunately we do not have Spanish tutorials only English.
      Kind Regards,

  35. Roz.

    Hello Paul, have you got any tips on icing number cakes? I am trying to get a ’50’ done… how to ice the centre of the ‘0’ neatly etc!!


    • David Brice

      hi Roz,

      Paul doesn’t cut out the middle of the zero. He covers the whole cake then creates the centre of the zero with black sugarpaste (assuming the rest is white).
      Kind regards

    • David Brice

      Originally posted by Madeitwithlove on our Q&A Page
      Could it be perhaps you’re rolling out slightly on the thick side and the weight pulls a little causing tiny cracks which become more visible when the icing dries? Darker colours are much wetter and sticker and liable to stretch. I find rubbing a tiny amount of trex into my hands and also on the work surface when rolling can help reduce cracking. I knead my icing the evening before required, it helps settle it down and be less wet and stretchy. Have a look at the revamped beginners section on icing cake here http://www.designer-cakes.com/online-cake-decorating-courses/1-icing-cakes-overview Paul explains everything about sugarpaste, how it behaves, how to knead and which ones give better performance. I’m sure you’ll find it very helpful as I did. x

  36. DGauciHampton

    Hello all the way from Malta (Europe). I have found your tutorials very essential and I have learned a lot from them. These tutorials are very detailed and informative, a very good point of reference.
    I have a question. Every time I ice a cake, I end up with the sugar paste to crack at the edge on top before I start smoothing it down. This happens all the time and I end up removing again the sugar paste from the cake and redo it but it happens again. Is there anything I can do? Does this happen because perhaps I am using an inferior quality sugar paste or because perhaps I am doing something wrong? I buy my sugar paste from a local wholesaler, but unfortunately I don’t know the brand of the sugar paste as I buy by weight and not pre-packed.

    Thanks a lot for your guidance

    • David Brice

      Hi Daniela,

      Cracking or elephant skin as it’s known is very often down to the quality of sugarpaste and the amount of time the sugarpaste may be sitting (and drying out) before the cake is covered.
      Paul’s top brand of sugarpaste now is Massa Ticino, which never dries or cracks so whilst more expensive it does save time and money as you get it right first time.

      To get access to all our members viws and opinions it’s always best to post your questions on our Q&A page….

      Hope this helps.

  37. Debs_Coachhouse

    Hi, when Paul talks about using Renshaws Regal Ice, is that what is now called Renshaws Ready to Roll sugarpaste? & do you use this paste for covering say 5 inch high sharp edged cakes?

    Many Thanks

    • David Brice

      Yes – Renshaws regal ice rebranded and is now called Renshaws ready to roll. It’s the sugarpaste (fondant) that’s most often used to cover cakes.

  38. Merril

    Hi, Does Paul ice cold cakes? or are they room temperature? Also, does he wet the ganache before applying the fondant to make it stick?

    • David Brice

      Paul would apply ganache to the cake at room temperature. He would then place in the fridge for around 5mins to allow the ganache to set then smoothes the finish with a brush dipped in hot water.

  39. Merril

    Thanks for your reply David, However I was actually was asking about the fondant though – Does Paul apply fondant to cold cakes or room temperature cakes? Thanks

    • David Brice

      Sorry to hear that you are having problems viewing the courses. It all seems to be working ok at our end.
      Please try the solutions below, but if that doesn’t resolve things PLEASE CONTACT SUPPORT AT: [email protected]

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