So you found the perfect cake recipe and it calls for you to finish the cake by dusting it — and you have no idea what dusting is or how to do it. It’s really quite simple. Dusting a cake means that rather than icing the cake with frosting, you decorate the cake by sprinkling a thin layer of confectioners sugar, cocoa powder or ground nuts over the top to enhance the cake’s flavor and appearance. Even a novice can dust a cake with powdered sugar with the right equipment.

Things You'll Need

Lay a cooling rack across the sink and place the cooled cake gently on top of the rack. Dusting over the sink makes cleanup a breeze because all you have to do is rinse the sink. If you prefer, you can dust the cake on a countertop or table.

Pour some powdered sugar into a bowl and stir it to remove clumps and separate the particles.

Pour the sugar into an empty sugar shaker, sifter, sieve or a fine strainer. Do this carefully because it tends to make a mess. If you are pouring it into a sifter or strainer, hold it over another clean bowl to catch the excess.

Hold the sifter or strainer over the cake and then gently shake out or sift the sugar onto the cake until it is evenly covered with a fine layer of sugar.

Carefully lift the cake onto the serving plate.


  • Place a stencil or doily on top of the cake before dusting to give the sugar a design. Carefully remove the stencil before serving.