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How to Make a Shell, Flower or Beaded Border for a Cake

How to Make a Shell, Flower or Beaded Border for a Cake

Every decorative cake should feature a border along the base to hide the very edge of the cake board. Each tier of the cake also needs its own border along the base, to cover the seam between the tiers. Here are four easy methods that anyone can use to create a border for a wedding cake, birthday cake or other decorative cake:   


A cake with a layered shell border and basketweave frosting along the sides

Method 1: Clamshell Border

  1. For a ridged clamshell, attach a small French star or open star tip to your pastry bag. For a smooth clamshell, use a plain round tip instead.
  2. Gently apply pressure to the pastry bag. Do not touch the tip to the cake. Instead hold it about half of an inch away.
  3. Move along the border, backtracking to create the layers of shell, using a gentle side-to-side motion. This will create layers and layers of shell around the base of your cake tier, all in one
    smooth motion.
  4. When the border is complete, apply pearl dust as needed along the ridges of the clamshells.

Method 2: Layered Shell Border

  1. Attach an open star pastry tip to your pastry bag.
  2. Put pressure on the bag, holding the tip at about a 45° angle from the cake, about a half inch away.
  3. Apply the frosting to the cake, then lift up and release pressure on the bag to stop the flow. This should create a tear-drop shape, where one end is larger than the other.
  4. Start again at the smaller end of the first shape, and repeat the process. Continue layering until you have created a shell border all around the base or tier of your cake.
  5. Apply luster powder to the shells for added shine and shadowing.

Method 3: Curlicue Border

  1. Attach an open star pastry tip to your pastry bag, or a French star tip. Tip #17 is a good size.
  2. Hold your pastry bag at about a 45° angle to the cake, and squeeze gently to begin the border.
  3. As you apply the frosting, circle gently to the right, then back to the left, then right again, etc. Apply it all in one smooth motion.
  4. Allow the frosting to dry, then add pearl dust if shine or shadowing is desired.

A cake gets a decoration of orange beading on the base.Method 4: Star Flower Border

  1. Attach a closed star tip to your pastry bag. Any shape of closed star tip should work well.
  2. Holding the bag about ½ inch from the edge of the cake, squeeze gently.
  3. Pull directly outward as you release the bag, creating a single star-shaped flower on the border area.
  4. Continue all along the border until it is filled with these star-shaped flowers.
  5. Use a tiny food-safe brush to apply pearl dust or luster powder onto the flowers. This will add shine and shadowing to the border.

Method 5: Beaded Border

  1. Attach a plain round tip to your pastry bag. Use a large tip for large beads and a small tip for smaller beads.
  2. Hold the pastry tube about ½ inch from the cake surface and squeeze gently and briefly in a dot at the base of the cake.
  3. Release pressure on the pastry bag, creating a bead on the base of the cake.
  4. Work around the cake, repeating these steps to create beads right next to each other all along the base of the cake.
  5. If desired, apply luster powder to the beads until they look iridescent. This will create a pearl-like effect.


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