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Friday, May 29, 2009

How to Make a Polka Dot Cake

Who doesn’t love a polka dot?  And what better place to put a polka dot than on a cake?!  Seriously, how cute is this?

My friend Natalee has been making these cute polka dot cakes lately and I asked her to please share her secret so that I might pass it on to you!  She kindly obliged, so here’s the lowdown on how to polka your cake to the nines.

To give credit where credit is due…our good friened Melissa from ISLY turned Natalee on to this post from inchmark, which is where the original idea came from.  Natalee has provided additional information below, including the recipe for the icing.  Thanks to all of your beautiful minds for providing such a wonderful idea!

Icing for the Polka Dots:
– 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
– 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
– 2 egg whites, beaten

Directions to mix icing: In a bowl, sift together confectioners’ sugar and cream of tartar. Using electric mixer, beat in 2 beaten egg whites for about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to hold its shape.

Click here for the original tutorial. Here are Natalee’s most helpful notes on the process:

I ended up having to water the icing down a little bit, but I think you just have to play with it until it seems right.  It needs to be thin enough that it will pipe into the circle shapes without any peaks, but thick enough that it won’t run outside of the parameters of the circle.  Better to err on the side of too thick.

As far as the food coloring, I’ve found that if you really want GOOD colors, you have to get the cake decorator’s gel paste food coloring which you can find at either Michael’s or Diddams (and I’m sure any party/cake decor store) and online.   All you have to use is a little glob on the end of a toothpick to get the same color you get from an entire bottle/tube of the stuff you buy in the store.  Plus, I’ve found that if you add the whole bottle from the store, your icing tastes like chemicals.

After the icing is colored, you just need to put it in an icing bag with a large round tip (or if you don’t have one you can do what I did and cut a corner off of a ziploc).  Then Rob (her hubby) made a template (click here to download) of different sizes of circles, printed it out on paper and put the template under some waxed paper.  Then I piped right on to the wax paper in the shape/sizes of the circles.   Once they are all piped on, you just let them harden at least 12 hours and then they will come right off and you can put them right on your frosted cake.  I recommend going directly from waxed paper to cake as stacking them for storage causes colors to bleed if there is absolutely any humidity in the air/fridge.

It really is such a cute idea…and look how festive the cake looks on the birthday table!  Happy Polka Dotting!


  1. 1

    i love the look of the that cake. thanks for sharing. maybe someday i’ll take the time to actually decorate one of mine. that cake looks like the life of the party on that table.

  2. 2

    I’ve seen the same thing done with colored white chocolate. You can melt it and spoon it into little circles and then it hardens back up into movable pieces. You’d have to use it on a cake that tasted good with white chocolate, though. Great pictures!

  3. I am going to copy this whole idea next week for my Gracie’s 4th birthday party! Thanks!

  4. 4

    I just finished a polka dot cake and then came across your site – figures. Instead of making the circles first and then transferring onto the cake, I piped directly onto the cake free hand. Then I dipped my finger into some warm water and used it to smooth the circle. This allows you to drape circles around corners and edges of the cake, use semi-circles on the edges, and lets you see the color and size of the circle you want as you place them on. I did do the base cote the night before and let it harden before adding the dots. I found that even if my circles weren’t great when piped, they rounded out nicely when smoothed. Thanks for the info and hope this helps someone.

  5. 5
    Jane Maynard

    very good idea – thanks for sharing, julie!! 🙂

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