How To Create Striped Buttercream Cakes With A Cake Comb

striped cake tutorial

Ever since I picked up this set of Wilton Cake Combs from my local JOANN, I have been absolutely obsessed with making striped buttercream cakes. Before cake combs became part of my life, I was getting the striped buttercream look using piping bags, but my hands aren’t the steadiest so I’d always end up with stripes that were uneven and a bit wonky. Being the perfectionist I am, I’ve been loving how these cake combs do all the hard work of creating perfectly spaced stripes for me! And after a few rounds with them, I’ve learned all the secrets of ensuring flawless buttercream stripes, every time. 

striped buttercream cake tutorial

This Cake Comb set comes with three combs that are double sided, meaning you can get six different looks in one little set. You can use any of these combs on your buttercream finish to get a cool, textured look that’s picture-perfect. For this tutorial in particular, the comb with the square cutouts is exactly what you need for stripes. As you drag it through your buttercream, those little squares will carve out ridges that can be filled with any color you want, then smoothed all together for a flawless striped finish.

wilton cake comb set
striped buttercream cake with sprinkles

Here’s a quick video of the process, and I’ll share everything you need to know about creating striped cakes from start to finish below. Be sure to read all of the tips in each section, because there are a few hacks I’ve learned along the way: 

You Will Need:

  • A 6-inch cake that’s been crumb coated and chilled
  • 2 batches of vanilla buttercream 
  • Icing Smoother
  • Angled Spatula 
  • Wilton Icing Comb Set
  • Food color gels of your choice
  • A piping bag

Step 1: Frost And Smooth The Cake

With your crumb coated cake on the turntable, frost a layer of buttercream onto the top of the cake and smooth it with your angled spatula. Then, add a thick layer of buttercream to the sides of the cake and use your icing scraper to smooth it until the sides are even. 

how to frost a smooth buttercream cake

The layer of frosting on the sides of the cake should be thick and deep enough for your cake comb to pass through and create ridges, about ¼ inch or more. Don’t worry about creating the sharp edges on the top of the cake just yet, only focus on getting those sides nice and smooth.

Step 2: Create Ridges With The Cake Comb

Next, hold the cake comb next to the cake at about a 45 degree angle towards you and gently turn the turntable. You’ll want to gradually create these ridges, so be sure to only apply a tiny amount of pressure at first. Each time you go around the cake, clean your cake comb completely by holding it under running water and drying it. You want it to be free of any buttercream bits to create perfect ridges.

how to use a cake comb
cake decorating with icing comb

If you find that there are holes or gaps in some of the ridges, fill them in with buttercream and go over them again with the cake comb. Also, if your ridges are tearing when you pass over the buttercream with the cake comb, it most likely means that your buttercream is too stiff. Luckily there’s an easy fix! Simply add a little bit of room temperature milk to your buttercream and mix it with your mixer for a thinner-consistency buttercream. Then, add the buttercream wherever your ridges have ripped and smooth them over with the cake comb.

how to use wilton cake comb

Keep going around the cake until your ridges are more than ⅛ inch deep. Once you’ve reached the ideal depth, use your angled spatula to create sharp edges on the top of your cake. Swipe the buttercream from the outer edges toward the center of the cake until those edges look sharp and the top of the cake looks smooth and even. 

how to make a combed buttercream cake

Step 3: Chill For 30 Minutes 

This step is critical to creating evenly spaced buttercream stripes, because if you skip this step and the buttercream is too soft, the stripes can spread and look uneven. Simply pop the cake in the refrigerator and chill the buttercream for at least 30 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch. 

striped buttercream cake tutorial by sugar and sparrow

Step 4: Fill The Ridges With Color

Add your favorite food color gel to the remaining buttercream and mix it up. I used the Wilton Color Right Food Coloring System from JOANN to mix up this deep fuschia color (using the pink and blue colors). Add the colored buttercream into a piping bag and snip off about ¼ inch opening on the end. With your chilled cake on the turntable, pipe the colored buttercream into the ridges. 

how to make buttercream stripes

It’s best to overfill the ridges rather than underfill them – you want to make sure that the colored buttercream reaches every space within the ridge. 

Step 5: Smooth The Stripes 

Finally, use a clean icing smoother to go around the cake several times and remove the excess colored buttercream. You’ll want to clean the icing smoother every time you go around the cake to ensure that you’re removing as much of the colored buttercream as you can. 

perfect buttercream stripes tutorial
small buttercream stripes tutorial

This step requires a bit of patience, but as you carefully smooth and remove excess buttercream, you’ll see those perfect stripes start to peek through. Continue this process until all of the excess buttercream has been removed and those stripes look perfect!

pinstriped buttercream cake tutorial
striped buttercream cake by sugar and sparrow

From here, you can continue decorating the cake if you wish. To get this look, I added some Sweet Tooth Fairy sprinkles, a buttercream border using Wilton Tip 1M, and turquoise gumballs. All of these pretty decorating supplies can be found at JOANN! 

striped cake with sprinkles and gum balls
pink and white striped cake

The best part about this technique is that you can use any stripe color combination you want! Just follow the above steps and you’re good to go. I hope this tutorial gives you more confidence in creating buttercream stripes and you’ll find everything you need to get the look at JOANN. And the best part is, if you download the JOANN app, you’ll get tons of coupons to get these cake supplies at a discount. Happy cake striping! 

pinstriped cake with sprinkles

Disclaimer: I was compensated by JOANN for my work of creating this project, styling, filming, photographing, and writing about their products. As always, all opinions are honest and my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Sugar & Sparrow.


  1. Right now it looks like Movable Type is the best blogging platform
    out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

    • Yay, Lyndsay!! So happy you’re finding these tips helpful and can’t wait to see your stripey cakes in the future!!

  2. You make it look so easy, and I’m crazy about that blue sprinkles blend! This is a really cool technique.

    • Aw thanks, Anna! It took lots of practice to figure out these tips, so hopefully they make it easy for you too! 🙂 and YES! Those blue sprinkles were the perfect contrast for this color scheme.

  3. Looks so good! I’m wondering if this will come out nice with dark blue and grey

  4. Will I have to worry about the colors blending if I frost the night before needed? I am doing white and black.

    • Hi McKayla! Not at all. Once the stripes have been created they won’t bleed into one another or start to blend. In other words, the cake finish will stay as-is once you’re finished frosting.

  5. Hi. I need to do a red base on the cake and have blue stripes but I’m worried that the red and blue will “blend” together and give me purple. Have you ever done stripes with a non-white base?

    • Hi Lindsey! Yes, I’ve done yellow and black before and was worried about the same thing (colors blending) but as long as you follow the instructions on chilling the cake after creating the grooves you shouldn’t have to worry about colors blending at all!

      • Amazing. Thank you so much (and thank you for such a quick response) 🙂

  6. Sorry, I actually have one more question. Would you recommend doing my crumb coat in my red base colour, or should I do it in white?

    • As long as you refrigerate the cake for at least 20 min after crumb coating, it won’t matter what color you use since it will be set and covered up entirely with your final finish. So whichever color is easiest for your workflow!

      • Amy Wilkinson

        I’m so excited to try to make this cake this weekend… How many layers is your 6-in cake? Yours is so beautiful!

  7. How did you get the pink color smear out of some of the white stripes? I noticed when you used the scraper some of the white stripes had slight pink smears. How did you get it out?

    • Hi Nati! My camera actually stopped recording before I was finished (so frustrating!!). I just kept smoothing the buttercream until the pink smears were gone is all. Hope you get a chance to try this!

  8. Anne-Marie

    Hi! Can you freeze your cake with the candy/sprinkles?

    • Hi Anne-Marie! I have never personally frozen a cake before, but I have seen it done with sprinkles. I would do a little research on how to freeze a cake to see for sure though.

  9. Thanks for this. I have been looking and this is the only tutorial I’ve found! I see lots of people doing it, but no explanation. Thank you!!

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