How to Make a Groovy 70s-Inspired Shag Cake
Create this mesmerizing design with just a grass piping tip (and a little practice).
Just like the retro rugs, this groovy cake is decked out in shaggy swirls of psychedelic colors. Follow these simple steps to build your own. It might take some practice, once you get into a groove (ha!) with the piping, you'll be well on your way to nailing this design.
Alana Jones-Mann is the creator of this incredible technique — we're thrilled to have her share her expertise here. Follow her on Instagram to see more of her inspired cakes.
Here's What You'll Need
- Four 6-inch cake rounds, cooled (any recipe you like)
- Vanilla buttercream frosting (use the large batch recipe here or 4 store-bought cans)
- 6 cups (12 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 pounds (1 bag) confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- Food coloring palette of your choice (We chose golden yellow, orange, mint green and avocado hues for truly 70s-inspired palette.)
- Serrated knife
- Offset spatula
- Plastic piping bags (and rubber bands to close them)
- 4 x Decorating couplers
- 4 x Grass decorating tips
- Optional: Flat decorating tip
Bake the Cake
Follow your recipes instructions, but here's how we baked off a standard vanilla cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line four 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Prepare your choice of cake mix as directed; divide the batter between the pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Allow the cakes to completely cool before you begin decorating.
Prepare the Buttercream Frosting
While the cakes are baking, make one large batch of buttercream frosting. Beat the butter for a few minutes on medium speed, preferably using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. On slow speed, gradually add the confectioners' sugar 1 to 2 cups at a time, allowing each batch of sugar to incorporate with the butter before adding the next. Increase the speed to medium and add the vanilla, cream and salt. Beat for an additional 3 minutes.
Choose Your Colors
Divide the frosting into four (or more) bowls and color the frosting to your desired palette.
Grab Your Decorating Tools
For each color of frosting, fill one piping bag.
To start, remove the ring from a decorating coupler base and insert the coupler base into a plastic decorating bag. Cut off the end of the piping bag so that the opening of the coupler comes through. Place a grass piping tip onto the base of the coupler, then secure by placing the ring over the piping tip and twist the ring until it is securely fixed in place. Once your four bags have been prepped with the piping tips, fill each bag 3/4 full with frosting. Use a rubber band to close each bag.
Why couplers are helpful: Couplers are most commonly used to easily switch between a variety of tips while decorating a cake. However, even though you’ll just be using one tip for this cake, couplers are helpful since the grass piping tips can often get frosting blockages in their small holes. Using a coupler allows for easy removal of the tips when they need to be washed out.
Working on a cake plate or board, stack the cake rounds, adding a layer of frosting in between each cake layer. We made this one extra over-the-top, by using a flat decorating tip to pipe alternating colors in stripes.
Switch It Up
Alternate between darker and lighter tones of frosting for the layers. If necessary, use a serrated knife to level any uneven cake rounds.
Frost the Outside
Once layers have been assembled, frost on a crumb coat to the exterior of the cake using the lightest color of frosting in your palette. Smooth with a spatula. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set.
Add the Shag Frosting
Start towards the bottom of the cake and pipe on small sections of colored frosting using the grass tip attachment. Alternate the colors and shapes to keep the pattern fluid.
Note: If you notice that the tip has clogged or is not adding on clean lines of frosting, remove the tip, wash it out with hot water, and dry it before re-applying it to the bag.
Finish and Chill
Continue working until you’ve covered the entire cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the frosting to set.