How to Make Ruffles on a Cake

Ruffles on a cake? You can’t go wrong. And while it might look like an incredibly intricate design reserved for professional bakers, any at-home beginner baker can create this magnificent look. Whether you’re using buttercream or fondant, making ruffles on a cake is a cinch.

Hi! My name is Michelle, and I love when ruffles are on a cake. It is mesmerizing to look at and even more fun to eat. When I first started baking, I was so nervous about trying to make ruffles on my own. Now that I have conquered it, I want to share my knowledge with all of you.

Are you dreaming about ruffles? Don’t think you need to pay someone else to do it for you. With a few simple tips and tricks, you can create gorgeous ruffles on your cake – right from home! 

Who’s ready to put some razzle-dazzle ruffles on their cake?

How to Make Ruffles on a Cake

Now, as I said before, you can create ruffles using buttercream frosting or fondant. Each has its own technique. Below, you will find the how-to guide for both types. Don’t worry – they are both really easy methods that you should get the hang of in no time!

Method 1: Buttercream Ruffles

Before we get started, I will tell you this: get yourself a cake turntable. This turntable set is a great one because it comes with the turntable plus accessories, like a piping bag, that will come in handy when creating ruffles. A turntable will make ruffles infinitely easier. Don’t hesitate to buy it!

If you already own a turntable or just don’t want one, that’s fine, too. To make ruffles, all you need is a cake (obviously), a petal 104 tip, and a piping bag filled with icing. Then, follow these simple steps for success.

  1. Apply a crumb layer of buttercream to the cake.
  2. As the crumb layer solidifies, apply a second layer of buttercream. This will allow the ruffles to stick to the cake. Applying directly to the crumb layer is not recommended as it will be too chilled for the ruffles to stick. 
  3. Make sure the buttercream is smooth. A flatter surface will be easier for the ruffles to stick and will also look a lot cleaner.
  4. Fit the petal 104 tip onto the piping bag.
  5. Fill the piping bag halfway or less with icing (don’t fill to the top).
  6. Hold the tip of the piping bag so it is at a 45-degree angle. The narrow part of the petal should be facing downwards.
  7. Use a swaying motion to create ruffles. Make sure that you keep the correct angle so that it creates a ruffling effect. 
  8. Continue to use the swaying motion up and down along the cake. Don’t leave any parts of the cake untouched!
  9. When you’re ready to end a ruffle, stop putting pressure on the piping bag and pull the tip away abruptly.
  10. To return to creating ruffles, overlap with the existing end of a ruffle to create a seamless look.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of different ways to create ruffles. This is just a simple way to make buttercream ruffles on your cake. If you want a vertical design, you should start at the bottom and work your way up in a straight line. 

If you want layered ruffles, start at the bottom of the cake. Apply the ruffles by squeezing and releasing the icing in an up-and-down motion while slowly spinning the cake. Then, continue the same technique until you’ve reached the top of the cake. 

Whichever technique you use, remember, it’s all in the wrist. Here’s a video that shows you how to do all three techniques for a fabulous-looking finish.

Method 2: Fondant Ruffles

The most difficult part about making fondant ruffles is that it is pretty time-consuming, especially compared to buttercream ruffles. However, making fondant ruffles is so easy. Once you get started, you will find yourself in a routine that will speed up the process greatly.

To make fondant ruffles for your cake, you will need some plunger cutters. You can use circle, square, or petal cutters, but the petal cutters are going to be the most time-consuming and difficult to work with. I recommend sticking with a circle or square.

When using fondant, a 50/50 mix of fondant and gum paste. This way, you can roll the fondant super thin while still being manageable. While most of the ruffling effect can be done with pinching, you may also want to bust out the fondant ball tools for more precision.

When you are all set and ready for action, do the following:

  1. Roll the fondant out, so it is incredibly thin.
  2. Use your preferred cookie cutter to cut out hundreds of shapes.
  3. Pinch the fondant to create a ruffled appearance.
  4. You can also use the ball tool to design the ruffles, using an “S” motion.
  5. Stick the fondant ruffle onto the cake.
  6. Enjoy a delicate and beautiful cake.

It really is that simple. Just make sure that your base fondant cake is entirely dried before trying to apply ruffles. Otherwise, they may fall off. Also, make sure that you’re performing clean edges. Nobody wants shaggy-edged ruffles. 

Check out this great video that shows three different techniques using fondant: circle, square, and petal.


Now you know how to create gorgeous ruffles on a cake like a professional! Still have some questions? Then keep reading. Below are some frequently asked questions about this topic that you will want to know the answer to.

What tip do you use to make ruffles on a cake?

The tip that makes the cleanest, most beautiful ruffles on a cake is the petal 104 tip. Sometimes a 124 tip is used if you want wider ruffle patterns.

How do you make large ruffles on a cake?

Creating a cake with large ruffles is easy, too. In fact, it may be easier than trying to achieve petite ruffles. To create a wave-like ruffle, you will use somewhat thick strips of fondant. Apply in layers. You can see how it’s done here.

How do you make rose ruffles on a cake?

Creating rose ruffles on a cake will require more time, handiwork, and creativity, but it isn’t impossible. You will start with strips of fondant cake. Using the ball tool, create some texture on one side. When applying to the base cake, swirl it into a rose.

Can I put fondant ruffles on buttercream?

It definitely is not recommended. Since fondant is on the heavier side, applying fondant ruffles to a buttercream base would likely lead to the fondant ruffles slipping and falling. Thus, your cake would be ruined. Try to stick to fondant on fondant for the best results.

Final Thoughts

I love ruffles on a cake. So delicate, so sweet, and so fun! While they look incredibly challenging to create, ruffles are actually simple whether you’re using buttercream or fondant. Buttercream can be done in a lot less time, but there is something so stunning about the structured fondant.

Do you put ruffles on your cake? How do you apply them? Share with us in the comment section 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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