Easy Cake Decorating Techniques for Rustic Weddings

If you’re doing a simple wedding and want to decorate your own cake, or if you’re having a smaller wedding and don’t need something really elaborate, these casual rustic wedding cake decorating techniques fit the bill.

They’re not fussy or formal, and they’ll fit into a lot of wedding themes.

easy cake decorating techniques for rustic weddings

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The key for these cake decorating techniques is that they don’t make you create perfectly smooth buttercream icing.

That’s a lot harder to do than it looks, and for beginners it’s better to avoid that look because it will make you frustrated!

Do a rustic icing technique that could include swirls, ridges, or even a naked cake. It’s much easier than doing perfectly smooth icing, and your guests won’t think that you cut corners.

You can get my comprehensive 44-page guide to making your own simple wedding cake here: How To Make Your Own Wedding Cake

For an article about wedding cakes with ruffles, click here.

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Naked cake with fruit.

This photo is a before and after of a naked cake that I decorated with fresh fruit. It had nothing on it when I delivered this, and fruit when I was done. 

I obviously wasn’t going to put the fruit on it until I had it sitting in one place, those berries would have rolled all over the place if I tried to move it.

Using fresh fruit is a really, really easy way to decorate a simple cake that will still look delicious and inviting to guests. 

Don’t wash the fruit before you place it on the cake because that can make it weep colored juice. Choose organic fruit for that reason!

naked cake before and after

For reference, this was a 6-8-10″ tiered cake, and I used a quart of blueberries, a quart of raspberries and two quarts of strawberries on it. 

I also put some white chocolate roses on it to act as anchors for some of the fruit so that I could pile it a little higher on that section of the cake.

This is also a good example of when to NOT bother covering a cake board. 

I realized that I was going to be covering the whole thing up anyway, and I didn’t want to put a ribbon on it that would end up stained with fruit juice, so I left the board naked to match the cake.

Simple buttercream ridges.

rustic wedding cake with lavender purple gumpaste peonies

This cake had vertical ridges in the buttercream, fondant pearls at the base of the tiers, and lilac-colored gumpaste peonies on the tiers.

I added some white gumpaste lilacs as filler because I wanted to keep the colors simple and not add any green leaves.

Rustic icing techniques

rustic wedding cake with yellow gumpaste daylilies

This buttercream wedding cake had horizontal ridges on the buttercream, which is one of the methods that I showed in the video posted above. 

It’s really easy to do, and if you mess it up you can smooth the icing out a little and do it over.

The key to doing these designs is all in using an offset spatula so that you can angle it around and drag it in the icing to make the textures.

You can see offset spatulas here on Amazon: Offset spatulas

Semi-naked cakes.

three wedding cakes display

This trio of small cakes is a good way to incorporate multiple cake flavors and styles, and they make an inviting-looking display for the reception.

The rosettes cake is made with a large star tip and buttercream icing piped in swirls. 

The center cake is a “semi-naked” style where you cover the cake with icing but don’t try to smooth it out or cover up the entire cake so that you can still see the surface of the cake through the icing.

The tier on the right is a naked cake. All three together make a cute display and you can find some nice vintage cake stands to show off, too!

For wedding cakes with fresh flowers, click here.


Vertical buttercream ridges.

rustic wedding cake with pink gumpaste flowers

This simple wedding cake had vertical strips of buttercream and scattered pink hydrangeas and pink peonies on the tiers. 

I did the vertical stripes by dragging a spatula up the side of the tiers.

Rustic swirly icing.

little rustic cake with pink gumpaste peonies and lilacs

If you’re having a small reception you don’t have to forgo a tiered cake. 

small rustic cake with large gumpaste magnolia

Smaller diameter tiers will give you a two to three-tiered look that definitely says “wedding” but won’t leave you with way more cake than you need.

rustic square cake with gumpaste strawberries

This cake had gumpaste strawberries on the outside and sliced strawberries on the inside. 

I made the strawberries in an eight-step process…Make the berries on wires, make the leaves on wires, make the flower centers, put the flowers on the wired centers, dust the leaves and berries, steam the leaves and berries, apply the caps on the berries, and wire them all together. 

You could skip all of that and use real strawberries and fresh herb leaves for the greenery.

This cake went to a wedding that had a barn reception, so the rustic icing and berries fit into the surroundings perfectly.

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