How to Cover a Dummy Cake With Buttercream

A dummy cake is great for various purposes, such as displays and practice. Covering a dummy cake with buttercream is the same thing as frosting a regular cake. However, you have the benefit of not needing a crumb layer, which saves time and hassle. 

Hi, there! My name is Michelle, and I love making cakes! I have had to make a few dummy cakes in my lifetime, so I would consider myself an “expert” at covering dummy cakes with buttercream, and I’m happy to share!

Covering a dummy cake with buttercream is super easy and is a great way to learn how to frost a cake. This article will teach you how to cover a dummy cake with buttercream the right way. It only requires a few ingredients and equipment. 

What is a Dummy Cake?

If you have found this article, you likely know what a dummy cake is already. But if you were surfing the net and stumbled across this piece at 3 AM, you might be scratching your head – what is a “dummy” cake?

A dummy cake is also referred to as a “fake cake.” That’s because it is Styrofoam crafted to look like a real cake. It can be frosted and decorated just like a real cake, including buttercream, which we are working on today.  

Dummy cakes can be used for various purposes, including:

  • Displays for places such as bakeries
  • Props for photoshoots
  • Extra tiers for elaborate cakes, such as five-tiered wedding cakes
  • Practicing different frosting and decorating techniques 

What You Need

The best part is, you only need a few ingredients and pieces of equipment to get your fake masterpiece ready. You will need the following items:

If you have to buy all of the equipment, don’t worry. You will likely need these pieces again in the future, especially if you plan to make cakes in the future.

How to Cover a Dummy Cake with Buttercream

When covering a dummy cake with buttercream, you will use the same technique used on a real cake. However, you do not need to start with a crumb layer. Since dummy cakes won’t crumble, you can skip the first layer entirely. 

1. Attach the Cake Board to the Turntable

The first step is to attach the cake board to the turntable using strips of tape.  This will ensure that your cake doesn’t go flying off halfway through the frosting process. Remember – styrofoam is super lightweight, unlike a real cake, so it has a higher chance of sliding off.

2. Attach the Dummy Cake to the Cake Board

Just as it is important to attach the cake board to the turntable, connecting the dummy cake and the cake board is equally important. You can use tape for this purpose, too. However, you can also melt chocolate and apply it like glue instead.

Keeping the dummy cake attached to the cake board is imperative. For added protection, you can use a small weight on the top of the cake. For example, a can of beans or a water bottle can work well.

3.  Start Frosting!

Now it’s time for the fun part – frosting! You will want to use an angled spatula to start applying the frosting to the dummy cake. This video shows how to apply the frosting in layers using a piping bag before smoothing, which is always a wonderful idea.

To make sure that the frosting is evenly coating the dummy cake, make sure to spin the turntable regularly. This will provide a smooth and even application for a more precise finish.

4. Smooth the Frosting

Once you have successfully covered your dummy cake with buttercream (including the top of the cake – don’t forget to remove the “weight” and cover this area, too), it’s time to smooth it out.

The goal of this step is to get rid of any knicks, blemishes, and imperfections. You want a perfectly smooth cake. Even if your end goal is to add textures,  you want to start with a smooth base. Use your cake smoother for this step!

5. Decorate (Optional)

Sometimes, you want to stop at frosting the dummy cake – and that’s fine. If it’s covered and smoothed exactly how you want it, then you can place the dummy cake in the shop window and enjoy.

However, you can also decorate your dummy cake, too. Add more tiers using dowel rods and apply buttercream in the same fashion. Pipe some different designs and decorations onto the cake. Add candies and other treats or spell out words and phrases.

The possibilities are endless and it’s all possible on a dummy cake!


There! Now you know how to cover a dummy cake with buttercream like a champ. But if you’re still pondering about this topic, below are some frequently asked questions you might want to know the answer to. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Can I decorate a dummy cake with buttercream?

Decorating a dummy cake with buttercream frosting is an excellent idea. Buttercream is easy to apply and will provide a realistic appearance for your fake cake. Buttercream holds up very well, too, so it won’t need to be replaced for quite some time.

Can you put buttercream on styrofoam?

Buttercream is a great option for styrofoam dummy cakes. That’s because buttercream has no problem adhering to Styrofoam, especially if it is a stiff crust type buttercream.

How do you preserve a dummy cake?

You can preserve a dummy cake by keeping it away from sunlight and other direct heat sources, as this can cause the buttercream to melt. Some bakers also suggest spraying the entire cake with a layer of hairspray to keep the buttercream intact and looking top-notch.

Can you reuse a dummy cake?

Dummy cakes can be reused, which is one of the many benefits of using them! To reuse a dummy cake, you need to remove all of the frosting and decorations from the styrofoam. Then, wash the dummy cake with mild soap and water. Dry before reapplying.

How much does a dummy cake cost?

Dummy cakes are fairly cheap, making them a great investment for beginners and bakery owners. One tier typically costs around $5-7, and each tier can be reused many times. So, if you have to buy ten tiers off the bat, at least you know you won’t need to buy any more for a while.

How far in advance can you cover a dummy cake with fondant?

You can easily cover a dummy cake with fondant up to three months in advance. Just make sure that it is stored in a cool and dry place to avoid any mishaps.

Final Words

Dummy cakes certainly have a great purpose in the baking world, whether you need to brush up on your frosting skills or want to put your cakes on display. Either way, you frost a dummy cake with buttercream the same as a “real” cake, minus the crumb layer.

Have you ever frosted a dummy cake with buttercream? How was your experience? Share with us below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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