Cake Dusting

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Cake dusting is an easy cake decorating idea that can be used on unfrosted or frosted cakes. Some cakes are made with a cake filling recipe where you want the flavor of the filling to dominate; cake dusting is a perfect choice for adding a decorative touch to these cakes.

Using powdered sugar for cake dusting is fairly common and is a great cake decorating choice for dark colored cakes, such as chocolate cake recipes. There are many other ingredients you can use for dusting light and dark cakes, whether they are frosted or unfrosted. The information below provides you with some ideas of what cake dusting ingredients you could use and gives some helpful information on how to make this cake decorating idea easy to do.

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Cake Dusting Guidelines



  • Cake dusting can be done directly on the cake or it can be done on a frosted cake. The most common ingredients used for dusting are powdered sugar and cocoa powder, but other ingredients, such as cinnamon, sugar, and finely chopped nuts, can also be used.
  • When using powdered sugar or granulated sugar, do not dust until it is close to serving time because the sugars will eventually dissolve on the cake and disappear.
  • Be sure to select a cake dusting ingredient that will show up on the color of cake you are working with. Powdered sugar shows up great on chocolate cakes and other dark colored cakes; cocoa powder or cinnamon will show up nicely on lighter colored cakes or frosting.
  • Be sure to use a dusting ingredient that has a flavor that will go with the flavor of the cake.
  • Cake dusting can be done just as an overall coating or a stencil can be used to create a pattern on the cake. An doily or store bought stencil can be used or you can cut your own pattern out of a light weight cardboard.
  • If you are using a stencil on a frosted cake, freeze the cake for 15 to 30 minutes so the frosting is solid before placing the stencil on it so it doesn't stick. Dust and remove the stencil as quick as possible.


Cake Dusting with a Stencil

  • The cake should have a wax paper lining around it to protect the cake plate or it should be placed on a rack over a cookie sheet with sides to catch the overflow when dusting.

  • If you are using a stencil, lay it over the cake so that the pattern is centered over the top of the cake.
  • Note: An actual doily works really well as a stencil. Because it is soft and flimsy, it lays down nicely on the surface of the cake and creates good detail to the pattern.

  • Use a sifter, sieve, or small shaker to apply the dusting ingredient in the open areas of the stencil.
  • If you are not using a stencil, dust the surface evenly with an allover coat. Apply as heavily as desired.



  • Be sure to dust evenly over the entire pattern of the stencil. Once the entire surface is coated, lift the stencil up off the cake to reveal the pattern.
  • Remove the wax paper by carefully sliding it left to right as you gently pull it out. Do not just pull it out towards you because you will run more of a risk of damaging the bottom edge of the cake.

  • The cake should be served shortly after dusting is completed if you are using powdered sugar or regular sugar because the moisture in the cake will begin to dissolve it after a few hours.

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