I have this slightly strange personality trait that makes me believe I can do anything. Maybe it’s because I’m an Aries sun, Leo rising (translation: me first!), but I’m not one to get intimidated by an “impossible” task. This is precisely how I began my journey of baking professional cakes at home. A few social media accounts have popped up lately that are dedicated to these decadent (and aesthetic-AF) confections. Each cake influencer has their own distinct style of cake-designing (different piping styles, heights, pastel color palettes, but one thing is the same across the board: they’re all utterly Instagrammable.
With the help of some visual inspiration that I spotted on my favorite account (@thegeminibake, @coven_bakery, and @aprilsbakerlondon in case you’re curious) I decided to try and make my own Instagram-inspired cake for my best friend’s birthday. TBH, I had never thought of myself as a baker (frankly, I had never even baked before)—and definitely not a dessert influencer—so I had a lot of research, prep work, and shopping ahead of me.
Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
Look, I knew I’d never be able to make a cake to look good enough for the ‘gram if I didn’t have a proper piping kit, but I also wasn’t trying to go all out and drop serious coin for my first attempt, either. Thankfully, Amazon had my back, and I found this simple, 21-piece piping kit on Amazon for only $9.99—not bad right?
Muywa Piping Kit
This affordable set comes with 14 different piping tips, two piping bags, and a few icing scrapers—everything I thought that I needed.
I didn’t realize until later that the pro-cake decorators put their creations on spinning cake stands to ice their gorgeous cakes with ease and precision. So, if you’re ready to commit to artisanal cake baking, for a few bucks more you can get an even bigger kit that has all the fixings: piping kit, cake scrapers, icing knives, and a swivel cake stand.
Massugar Springform Pan Set
These non-stick and leak-proof pans are perfect for staying on budget, and they’re anything but flimsy.
Once I had the necessary supplies I needed to sort out, then I had to decide on a shape for my cake. Most of the Insta-cakes I saw online were either cylindrical or heart-shaped, and I thought heart-shaped would help my cake look automatically cute with minimal effort. The only baking dish I own is a casserole dish (I know, way to adult, right?) and TBH, I probably stole from my last roommate, so I started shopping for some cake pans.
There are so many fancy options that seemingly make it impossible to screw up your cake (my confidence was building!). Now, baking dishes have side openings so you don’t have to wriggle your cake out of the pan and risk ruining the whole thing before you even get started icing it. I wasn’t ready to get ~that~ fancy, so I found a three-piece silicone pan set for just $13.99 and was sold. I also felt like stacking my cake could automatically make it look fancier, so I went with this option that lets you make three different layers.
SheBaking Heart Shaped Silicone Mold
Now, I was finally able to get started, so I bought a store-bought mix (I was really more into the decorating aspect than the ingredient list) and decided to make homemade buttercream frosting that I decided to add food coloring too. All of the Insta-cakes have pastel colors, so I found this brand that strayed beyond traditional red, yellow, green, and blue options.
McCormick Nature’s Inspiration Food Colors
These work like a charm, and aren’t full of weird chemicals you can’t pronounce.
I had an old, cheap kitchen stand mixer that I used to mix up my cake ingredients, but it broke after one use. If you want to invest in a stand mixer, I’d suggest KitchenAid stand mixers. They’re a bit pricey, but according to Kris Jenner, they’re an iconic kitchen staple, so I felt the purchase was justified.
KitchenAid Artisan Series Mixer
This retro-inspired cake mixer is not only impossibly chic, but it also performs like a dream.
The key to a perfect Insta-cake is smooth frosting, but even the experts don’t get it 100 percent perfect. Just make sure to scrape the excess frosting off of your scraper and into a separate bowl so you don’t mess up part of the cake you just scraped. Then comes the fun part — piping! I had never piped anything before, but I thought of it like practicing handwriting. My Aries brain told me that if I can write in cursive, I can surely use a piping bag, and I wasn’t wrong. I do suggest practicing a few pipes (do real bakers call it that?) on a plate so you can get comfortable with it and then just go to town.
Another thing all Insta-cakes have in common? Bright red cherries. Adding cherries is a super-easy way to dress up your cake and add a pop of color that makes it even more photogenic (see above for evidence). The best part? You can just pipe a little glob of frosting and plop a bright red maraschino cherry right into it. Voila! You’re done.
I made a two-tiered cake for my friend’s 30th birthday and she absolutely loved it. It was so fun to try something new and do something thoughtful for my bestie. Of course, I also didn’t mind all of the stunning faces partygoers had when they saw my creation. Like a true Aries ram, I came, I saw, and I conquered. And now I have a skill I can whip out whenever I need it — and yes, I did it all for under $40.