Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cake Decorating Tip: Buttercream polka dots

This weekend, I was coincidentally asked to make both Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse-themed birthday cakes.  These cakes were for two separate parties for two different birthday celebrants!

When thinking about this Disney pair, what comes to my mind apart from the round black ears and Minnie's big bow is the polka dots. Cutting circles from fondant would make the perfect polka dot, but since I don't use fondant anymore, I had to think of a way to make them as good with my Swiss meringue buttercream. Using buttercream usually meant that the dots would look like small mounds or would have peaks and that was not what I wanted, of course.

Let's take a closer look at my polka dots again....

Yes. that's buttercream! Perfectly flat, perfectly round.  There is a super simple way to achieve this and I'm going to teach you how!

1. First, find a polka dot template online.  There are lots of free ones you can print out.  Choose the polka dot size that suits your need.  Mine were about 1/2" circles. This is what I used.

2. Position your printout on top of a tray or board.  Cut parchment or baking paper of about the same size and place it on top of your printout.  Secure both with tape.

3. Fill a piping bag fitted with a round tip (I used a #12) with buttercream.  Using the template as a guide, pipe rounds by holding your bag straight up and just about 1/4" away from the surface.  Don't place your tip too high or your dots will be fat!  Stop squeezing when you achieve the right size then pull away.  To flatten the mounds slightly, moisten your fingertip with a little water then pat them down gently.  Pipe as many dots as you need!

4. Place your tray in the freezer and use only when your dots are completely frozen and your cake has just been frosted.

5. To remove a dot from the baking paper, gently lift it out with a small spatula or just simply peel it away carefully.

6. Turn your dot upside down to reveal the flat side!  This is your right side now.

7. Now go crazy and place your dots on your freshly frosted cake! (Note: I say "freshly frosted" because the buttercream should be soft so the dots will stick and also, so you can push them down a bit.)

Hope this cool little tip helps!


  1. Hi Corinne, just wondering how do you trace your image on the cake before you pipe it? Thanks in advance... Godspeed...

    1. I trace my image onto baking paper and then use that to trace the image on my chilled cake. Some details I just eyeball and draw freehand.

  2. Que lindos!
    E dão água na boca!

  3. Corinne can you teach us the step by step to in decorating this cake pls its so nice i want to learn this... thank you

  4. hi corinne, i have trouble writing on cakes. what icing should i use? or any suggestions. Thank you

    1. It doesn't matter what kind of buttercream you use. What's important is the consistency of the icing. If it is too stiff, it will break as you pipe. Maybe watch some videos on youtube. They will help you get the right technique.

  5. Hi Corrine I'll be making a Minnie Mouse themed cake soon. I know your using SMBC can I ask how did you achieve the red colour on your cake. Thank you so much

    1. I use Americolor super red. You do need a considerable amount to achieve a deep red.