Tessa Huff


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DIY Frosting: Shell Cake

DIY Frosting: Shell Cake



I know I say this a lot, but I think this one of my new favorite cake designs.  The rustic feel is perfect for fall, and the shell design makes for a cake equally appropriate for a fancy celebration or just a casual gathering.  With some fairly simple instruction and tips, you can make this cake to share over the upcoming holiday season.

I love playing with textures.  There are some designs that work better with fondant and some with buttercream.  For all you buttercream lovers, here is the perfect cake to celebrate any occasion with.  I wanted to keep things a bit casual and whimsical, so I came up with this interlocking buttercream shell design.  Make a quick cake for a special birthday or display several on fancy pedestals for a wedding or Thanksgiving dinner.  Today, I am so excited to share how to make this easy DIY Frosting Shell Cake.




1. Crumb coat your cake with the same icing you plan to decorate your cake with.  Finish off the top with a bit more icing and a swirl. 2. Fit a pastry bag with an open star tip.  I used Wilton 4B. 3. Fill the pastry bag with buttercream or icing of choice.  For this cake, I picked Pumpkin Chai Buttercream (recipe coming soon!) 4. Pipe a continuos shell pattern all the way around the base of your cake. 5. Begin the next row by staggering the start of your shell.  Start this row by placing the tip where the shell overlaps the tail of the previous shell.  Continue around, being sure to stagger your starts so there are not any gaps. 6. Continue the rows until you reach the top. 7. At the very top, I had a bit of space left.  For the top row, pipe along the edge so half of the shell falls on the side and the other half on the top of the cake.

That's it!

Simple, right?

For those of you looking for more practice or piping tips, here is a quick pictorial on how to pipe the shell boarder.


1. With your pastry bag fitted with an open start tip and filled with frosting, hold your tip about 1/4" above your surface with the bag at a 45 degree angle. 2. Apply pressure to the bag, and build a small mound of frosting.  Once a small bulb of frosting is out, carefully release the pressure and drag the bag away to create a tail. 3. To create a continues shell boarder, start the next shell just slightly on top of the tail of the shell before. 4. To create the interlocking shells, start the next row by starting the shell staggered to the shells of the previous row.


- Do not fill the party bag to the top!  Fill the bag about 1/2 - 3/4 of the way for my control and less mess. - Be sure to not place the top directly on stop of your surface, or there will be no where for the icing to build. - Let go, and release the pressure before trying to create the tail. - Be sure not to drag the tail into the surface. - It's all about controlling the pressure, and practice, PRACTICE!

Oh hey, remember early when I mentioned PUMPKIN CHAI BUTTERCREAM?  Well yes, you certainly read that right.  If you were wondering what the spice-flecked orange buttercream I was using to decorate the cake was, well you will soon find.  Check back next week for the full recipe on PUMPKIN CHAI BUTTERCREAM!


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