This month Matante Jeanne wrote an article on cake styling tips for FBC. Learn with Jeanne, a food styling expert on how to decorate a cake with fresh rosemary, cranberries and chocolate.

Whether you are a food blogger, photographer, home baker or overall food enthusiast, odds are you’ve enjoyed your fair share of delicious and beautiful desserts in person and online. I know I have! I love creating my own beautiful desserts to share with my friends and loved ones as well as with this amazing online food bloggers community.  Here are some of my all time favourite cake styling tips to decorate your favourite desserts. 

Chocolate cake with cherries

Your Favourite Cake 

First things first: choose your favourite cake.  Choose a cake you love to eat or share with your loved ones.  It can be store bought, a cake mix, a family recipe…all great options, as long as you are enjoying your favourite dessert!

My favourite? Chocolate cake with mascarpone whipped cream frosting: somehow it’s decadent and light all at once, is that even possible? I dare say it is when you follow my recipe.  

Cake isn’t your thing? That's totally ok. Go with your favourite pie, tart, pot de crème, cupcake or smoothie bowl and add a pretty decoration to your preferred treat.

Pie with fruits

Fresh Rosemary 

Fresh rosemary makes for great cake decoration with its forest green hues, woodsy scent and sturdy sprigs that stay fresh once cut. Start by rinsing your rosemary under fresh water and letting it dry on a clean towel. 

You can use long rosemary sprigs to create a wreath that runs along the top edge of your cake or along its base.

Use long rosemary sprigs (approximately 10cm in length). If possible, find those that have a slight curve to make it easier to style.  For an 6 to 8 inch round cake, you will need 3 or 4 sprigs. If you choose a mini-dessert option, trim your rosemary sprigs to 3-4 cm lengths and follow the method below.

Trim the base of the sprig (the sturdier part closest to the root) with scissors, making a diagonal cut, and remove any wilted leaves.  

Fresh rosemary twigs

  • Pro Tip: 

Can't find fresh rosemary? Substitute with fresh thyme sprigs for a slightly more delicate but oh-so-leafy wreath. Wait, you have rosemary and thyme in your fridge or garden? Use both and enjoy the elegant variety of leaves, greens and scents.

  •  Styling: 

Place a first sprig, on its side, on the top of your cake so that it runs along the edge.  You can always add a little extra frosting to keep it in place, but that's optional.  Add a second sprig and hide the base of its stem under the leaves at the top of the first sprig.  Repeat with the other sprigs until you have a rosemary wreath running along the outer edge of the top of your cake. Using this same method, you can also create a wreath that runs along the base of your cake. You can also do both (along the base and top edge), depending on your preference.

  •  Styling Extras: 

Sprinkle some gold dust or gold leaf on the wreath and add cranberries or mini chocolates here and there between the rosemary sprigs (more on these options below).

Cake with white frosting

Cake decorated with rosemary and fruits

  • Zero Waste Tip:

Keep your rosemary trimmings (all those bits and pieces that don’t make it on your cake) in a clean towel in the fridge to add to your broths, vinaigrettes, marinades, roasted veggies or braised meats.  Rosemary will keep many days in the fridge, or you can chop it up and freeze it in ice cube trays in water or olive oil.  If you have loved ones that like crafts and DIY projects, take advantage of the winter weather to turn the leftover rosemary into outdoor ice decorations. You can find many fun ideas online. 


Fresh cranberries are the prettiest decorations, and they stay bright and fresh once added to your cake. Start by rinsing your cranberries under fresh water and letting them dry on a clean towel.

  • Fresh Cranberries:

Choose firm cranberries, and cut them in half to reveal their beautiful white inside.  Try a few different cuts to see which look you like best!

  • Frosted Cranberries:

Brush your fresh cranberries with egg white, roll them in granulated sugar and let dry for a few hours on a sheet of parchment paper. They will keep for a few days, at room temperature, in an airtight container.

  • Plant-Based Alternative for Frosted Cranberries: 

Use light corn syrup instead of egg white for your frosted cranberries. 

  • Styling:

Arrange cranberries (fresh, frosted or both) of different shades and sizes along with cranberry halves, if using, to create a wreath along the top edge of your cake.  If you opted for the rosemary wreath described above, either on the top or base of your cake, add cranberries alongside your rosemary sprigs. 

  •    Pro Tip:

Can't find fresh cranberries? It happens relatively often where I live, and in fact, I couldn't find any as I was writing this article! In a pinch, substitute fresh cranberries with fresh raspberries or fresh pomegranate seeds.  I don't recommend frosting them, but they are a very festive alternative with a sprinkling of gold dust. 

Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, raspberries, figs.

Cake with cranberries

  • Zero Waste Tip:

Leftover fresh cranberries? Freeze them, first on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then transfer them to a container or freezer bag, removing as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn.  You can then use them to make a sauce or jam, or add them to muffins or cookies. I don’t recommend using thawed cranberries to make the cake decorations above however, they won’t be firm enough to frost or cut into pretty halves.  


I love chocolate, so naturally, I’m inclined to add pretty chocolate shapes to my cake styling options.

  • Small Chocolate shapes:

Choose the shape that works for you: small chocolate hearts are a classic but there are so many more: chocolate stars, shells, and woodland themes.  I recently received the prettiest chocolate pine cones with gold, silver and pink hues, and honestly, they were perfect. 

  • Homemade Chocolates:

If you have heart-shaped silicone moulds at home (or any other shape you like), make your own chocolate shapes by melting your favourite chocolate (dark, milk or white) in a water bath and pouring it into your moulds.  For a shiny and consistent finish, you can temper your chocolate, i.e. let it cool to 50-55 degrees Celsius for dark chocolate, 40-45 degrees Celsius for milk and white chocolate before adding it to your moulds. Let the chocolate set and voilà!

  •  Pro Tip: 

Brush a little gold dust in your silicone moulds before pouring the chocolate for an extra sparkly finish. 

  •  Buy Local:

No time or equipment to make your own? Encourage your local chocolatiers and buy some pretty chocolates in seasonal shapes and sizes.

  • Styling:

Arrange the chocolates along the top and base of your cake, to create a circle along the edge. If you opted for the rosemary wreath described above, either on the top or base of your cake, add chocolates alongside your rosemary sprigs. 

  •  Styling Extras: 

Sprinkle gold dust or decorate with gold leaf to add some sparkle to your chocolate shapes.  

Chocolate cake topped with raspberries, white chocolate

  • Zero Waste Tip:

Keep your chocolate in the freezer to extend its lifetime; I use this tip mostly for white chocolate chips and chocolate shavings since I don’t use them as often as dark chocolate. 

Your Cake Styling Checklist

You’ve made it this far, and hopefully you’re thinking about trying one (or all!) of these cake styling tips yourself.  Here’s a checklist with all you need to create the designs above: 

  • Essentials:  

Your favourite cake or dessert

Fresh rosemary sprigs

Fresh cranberries

Egg white (or light corn syrup)

Granulated sugar 

Dark, Milk or White Chocolate (if making homemade shapes)


Small Chocolates from your favourite local chocolatier

  • Alternative herbs and fruit:

Fresh Thyme

Fresh Raspberries

Fresh Pomegranate seeds

  • Extras:

Gold dust

Gold leaf

Buttercream or Royal Icing 

  • Kitchen Tools:


Clean towel

Cutting board

Pairing knife

Small bowls (2-3, for frosted cranberries)

Kitchen Tweezers, Spoons and/or Latex gloves

Silicone moulds (if making homemade chocolates)

and your favourite apron to decorate in style!

Shaved chocolate. 

How to Decorate a Cake is written by Matante Jeanne. Jeanne shares seasonal food styling ideas using fresh herbs, flowers and berries on her blog: Matante Jeanne. Follow Jeanne on Instagram.


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