Arrange store-bought meringues around the edge of the cake for a crunchy alternative to piped-frosting rosettes.
Find more great ways to dress up your baked goods with Real Simple’s collection of cake decorating techniques.
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Spread several vanilla wafer cookies with frosting and top with colored sprinkles. Cluster on the cake and form the balloon strings with licorice shoestrings. (Knot them for extra effect.)
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Thinly slice 1 quart of fresh strawberries. Starting from the outside perimeter, place a ring of strawberries around the cake, points facing out. Continue layering concentric rings around the cake until you reach the center. Carefully brush with ¼ cup warm seedless raspberry jam.
In a small saucepan, bring ¾ cup water and ¾ cup sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 thinly sliced lemon and simmer until tender and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and let cool completely on a rack before placing on the cake.
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Lightly dust a work surface with granulated sugar. With a rolling pin, roll 3 gumdrops to a thickness of ⅛ inch, then cut the rounds in half crosswise. Roll 1 piece into a tight bud and pinch it at one end to form the center of the flower. Place the remaining pieces around the center, overlapping them slightly and pressing them together at the base. Trim the bottom to form a flat base before setting it on the cake.