Tins: For two or more tiers use a 20 cm cake tin for the bottom. I made a tin for the next tier by cutting down an A10 or catering size tin- (ask a local café, or retirement home if you can have an empty one from their recycling). Use a hack saw or tin snips to trim off the top two thirds, file off rough edges; what remains is a perfect little 15cm, ½ size tin. For a third tier I use a dumpy 425g tuna tin – it’s worth making a fish pie just to get the tin
Flowers: gerberas are funky, bright and last well, white roses and daisies look fine against a chocolate cake but can look “dirty” against a pale one so artificial flowers are a good option. Try spotlight and $2.00 shops. Buy readymade icing flowers from cake decorating shops. Arrange Marshmallow slices in an overlapping circle with a dab of icing and a mini MM in the centre for cute edible flowers.
Buy readymade Pettinice icing available in supermarkets and cake decorating shops, colour, roll and cut with cake-decorating cutters to make icing flowers and shapes.
Lollies: heaping cascades of jelly beans or smarties are very effective, the brilliant colours are really attractive and you don’t have to worry about the smoothness of your icing – the same goes for chocolate money just use lots and pile it up. M&M lollies can also be arranged in easy but funky designs – flowers, swirls etc
Ribbon: Check out fabric shops or a local emporium for wired ribbon, wind around the rolling pin to shape into soft coils. With Organza ribbon allow for a double layer if using in bands around a cake.
Sparkle: Edible glitter and edible paint are easy to apply and go a very long way. Choose a colour that you are likely to reuse.
Bought Cake: buy it a day ahead. Older cake is less likely to shed crumbs through the icing as you spread it.
Candles: Coloured alphabet candles on short spikes are available in $2.00 shops, look for Happy birthday or I love you.
Wired stars or hearts: use florists wire and readymade icing.
Pettinice or other brand readymade mouldable icing available in supermarkets; it dries to a hard edible finish.
Several days ahead, roll out icing, colour with food colouring and cut stars or hearts from the icing using a cutter.
Wind the pieces of florists wire around a pencil to make a spring and insert a wire into each icing shape, leave in the airing cupboard until completely dry and firm.
The icing can be coloured with food colouring before you cut the shapes or painted with edible paints when the shapes are dry.
Poke wires into the cake or cupcakes so the shapes appear to “spring” out of the cake.
Ready rolled icing options: lie a piece of lace over the icing and roll with a rolling pin, cut into shapes with cutters or stamp with stamps to make an impression in the icing. Roll or cut into flower shapes- cutters are available in cake decorating shops or raid the kids play dough cutters. Tint the icing with food dyes – a little at a time.
Fresh Flowers: Seasonal flowers are pretty, inexpensive and can be very decorative. Cascade them down a tiered cake or arrange with ribbons, or other decorations. Crystallised flowers are simply brushed with egg white and dusted with caster sugar.