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Cake Decorating

Explore the sugar art of cake decorating with Jenny McCoy as your expert guide to the essential tools, materials, and techniques for professional-quality results.
Cake Decorating is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 6.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome tutorial! I just finished this subtle pink ombre cake for my daughters birthday. I loved the methodical steps Jenny instructed so I could literally recreate what she was making. Very informative and highly recommend!
Date published: 2021-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great class! I followed the instructions and made a chocolate cake with piped flowers and leaves. It was great fun! I highly recommend Jenny's classes.
Date published: 2020-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Solid instruction and demonstrations This course essentially competes with hundreds, even thousands of free "instructional" videos on YouTube. So why bother? First, this course is genuinely *instructional* and not an attempt at a Food Network show. The pace is methodical, the directions articulate, and the camera work serves only to help the instructor demonstrate, not get likes and shares. There's no time-lapse photography of the whole project, no banter about the vlogger's personal life, and no meaningless ooh-ing and aah-ing over the food. The instructor instead reminds you that the results will not be perfect on the first try, and provides an abundance of hints and shortcuts while you work. That's a good thing. Second, the course is genuinely geared towards novices, even people that feel uncomfortable with baking. There are countless YouTube or blog recipes and tutorials out there labeled as "foolproof" or "for beginners" but are in fact anything but. Trying to self-teach that way can be equally demoralizing and frustrating. This course will get someone with no experience or comfort with frosting and decorating desserts feeling much more confident in the kitchen. If there's a downside to the course, it's that the basic cake recipe provided in the guidebook isn't very good. I'm not sure if the cooking time is too long (the recipe calls for 45-55 minutes when most cakes bake for 30-35) or the ingredient mix isn't quite right. Of course, cake recipes are ubiquitous, and even a packaged cake mix will work's the frosting and fondant that are the stars of the course, not the cake. The course doesn't earn full marks as compared with the fantastic Culinary Institute courses. But it's an easy recommendation if you're a newcomer (as I am) to cake decorating. Simply getting comfortable with Swiss meringue buttercream instead of the stuff we all grew up on is worth the price of admission.
Date published: 2020-02-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Simple and exact ;0) Course was a bit too beginner for me. Saying that it is a good course for anyone who knows nothing about making cakes. The icing recipe needs to be redone. It tastes awful! Not sure what is wrong with it?.... wrong measures??
Date published: 2018-04-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Love the information but bombarded with emails Love the information but asked to be removed from the email list of solicitations due to almost daily emails. Was warned from a previous review about the amount of emails but did not heed the warning. When I am ready to order more courses I will consider a different source. Very sad since I enjoy the products offered from Great Courses.
Date published: 2018-02-14
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Ready to sweeten up your skills? Explore the sugar art of cake decorating with Jenny McCoy as your expert guide. In this comprehensive beginner's class, you'll learn how to bake and construct a variety of one-tiered frosted cakes with professional-quality results. Along the way, discover essential tools, materials and techniques, including fondant and buttercream, sugar flowers, piping, hand modeling and much more.


Jenny McCoy

I describe cake decorating as the art of taking a delicious cake and transforming it into a work of visual art.



As a pastry chef with more than 10 years of experience in some of the country's finest kitchens, Jenny McCoy has learned to transform classic techniques into inventive and exceptional desserts, many of which you'll find in her book, Desserts for Every Season. Jenny's philosophy on baking is simple: By combining the best ingredients available and a personal creative touch, anyone can expand their repertoire to create expertly refined recipes and original pastries with ease. A truly approachable expert, Jenny's detailed lessons are both inviting and inspiring.

By This Expert

Cake Decorating
Cake Decorating


Introduction to Cake Decorating

01: Introduction to Cake Decorating

Ground yourself in the fundamentals of cake decorating as Jenny discusses the elements that make up a decorated cake. Discover a few basic tools, plus the timeline for making your first cake!

6 min
How to Bake a Cake

02: How to Bake a Cake

Get right into action by learning to make a yellow butter-based cake. Find out how to prepare the pans, mix the batter, and bake it to a beautiful golden brown. You can use the same recipe to make a chocolate version, too!

19 min
Making Swiss Meringue Buttercream

03: Making Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Jenny shows you how to make her favorite decorating frosting: Swiss meringue buttercream. It's a step up from the traditional one-bowl, powdered sugar-and-butter variation.

12 min
Constructing a Single-Tier Cake

04: Constructing a Single-Tier Cake

Trim your baked cakes so they're uniform and level every time. Find out how to stack up the layers, fill them with frosting, and frost the entire cake with a crumb coat. You'll add a final coat for a sharp-edged flat finish that will get you ready to start decorating.

52 min
Buttercream: Textured Finishes

05: Buttercream: Textured Finishes

Discover three techniques for texturing cakes with buttercream: horizontal ridge, vertical stripe and a simple-yet-beautiful brushed finish. These finishes are not only beautiful and on trend, they're also great at covering up anything that's less than perfect.

7 min
Buttercream: Preparing to Pipe

06: Buttercream: Preparing to Pipe

Set yourself up for piping success by learning to color buttercream for endless customization. Jenny shows you how to fill a piping bag with buttercream and pipe a line of frosting.

23 min
Buttercream: Simple Designs & Borders

07: Buttercream: Simple Designs & Borders

Once your buttercream is colored and in a pastry bag, practice making a few simple designs with two different tips: round and star. You'll see how to turn your designs into borders.

46 min
Buttercream: Piped Roses & Leaves

08: Buttercream: Piped Roses & Leaves

Continue to work on your piping skills by learning to pipe the classic buttercream rose with Jenny's step-by-step instructions. Don't worry if you mess up; since these beauties are away from your cake they can go right back in the frosting bowl.

19 min
Fondant: Handling & Coloring

09: Fondant: Handling & Coloring

Conquer the pliable sugar dough known as fondant as Jenny shares her best tips for handling, storing and coloring to make gorgeous, professional-looking decorated cakes.

16 min
Fondant: Rolling Out & Covering a Cake

10: Fondant: Rolling Out & Covering a Cake

It's important to give yourself a pristine, clean canvas for decorating. In this lesson, learn how to roll out fondant and drape it beautifully over your cakes. Jenny will also walk you through some common problems and explain how to fix them.

34 min
Fondant: Cutouts

11: Fondant: Cutouts

See how to make a variety of fondant decorations from just a few simple cutters and place them securely as you make a cute and easy "Happy Birthday" cake. Plus, learn Jenny's secret no-stress method for writing messages on cakes.

23 min
Fondant: 3-D Roses

12: Fondant: 3-D Roses

Here, Jenny introduces sugar flowers, then goes over a few basic techniques for hand-modeling petals to create a classic fondant rose.

39 min
What's Next: Design Ideas & Inspiration

13: What's Next: Design Ideas & Inspiration

In this final lesson, find out how to mix and match the above techniques to create new designs and cakes for any theme or occasion!

4 min