Starry Night Cake




About: I have been sewing and crafting for several years, my children are grown so now I have lots of time to be creative. I enjoy photography, cooking, cake decorating, painting and sharing my projects with others.

Vincent Van Gogh painted "The Starry Night" in June 1889. It is one of the most recognized paintings of all time.

The famous painting is now at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Looking closely at the painting, it appears to me that the brush strokes look like piped frosting so I thought the design would be simple enough to create some edible art. Don't get me wrong, it was time consuming, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process. It took me about 4 hours from start to finish.

This same technique can be used to make other art cakes, think about some works by Picasso! What about a Jackson Pollack cake? The possibilities are endless! The most important thing is to have fun!

Step 1: Ingredients & Supplies

For this instructable you will need the following:

Cake mix

3 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 bag powdered sugar

3 tubs canned frosting

vegetable shortening

food coloring


9" x 13" cake pan

quart size freezer bags, decorator bags, piping tips, star tip for shell border

Print-outs to refer to for design and colors, I was able to find a coloring page.

Step 2: Bake Cake

Grease and flour a 9" x 13" cake pan.

Bake cake according to package directions.

Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely before frosting.

Step 3: Frosting

Frost cake with a thin layer of white frosting.

Step 4: Outline

Print out the black & white copy of design.

Fold the paper into fourths and draw lines onto the fold lines.

Place a toothpick in the center of cake so it will be easier to trace 1/4 of the cake at a time.

Using another toothpick, outline the design onto the top of cake in the frosting.

I used store-bought canned frosting for the design

Use food coloring to dye frosting into these colors into 9 separate containers:
light yellow, medium yellow, dark yellow,

light blue, medium blue, dark blue,

black, grey and green.

I purchased a blue and black tube of frosting because it can be difficult to get dark colors.

Place dyed decorator frosting into quart size freezer bags.

Step 5: Outline Areas With Frosting

Cut a very small corner off of the bag of blue frosting.

1. Outline the sky area with dark blue

2. Outline the moon and stars

3. Outline the cypress trees on the left side of cake with black frosting.

4. Outline the mountains and village and shrubbery with black frosting.

Step 6: Sky and Mountains

Fill in sky and mountains with different shades of blue frosting.

Step 7: Village & Shrubbery

Fill in the buildings with gray and blue

Fill in the shrubbery with green frosting

Place a few dark yellow dots in the village windows for light.

Step 8: Cypress Trees

Fill in the Cypress trees with grey (and/or brown) frosting in vertical lines.

Step 9: Shell Border

The frosting for the shell border needs to be thicker so it will hold it's shape so canned frosting wont work for this.

Make a batch of white frosting for the shell border using the following recipe:

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup water

Mix until combined, add a small amount of water if you need it.

Place frosting into a large decorator bag.

Using a large shell tip, frost a shell border around top and bottom edges of cake.

Another option would be to use a wide flat decorating tip and dye the frosting brown, then make a brown "Frame" around the top edge of cake. Use your imagination!

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    15 Discussions


    Question 4 months ago on Introduction

    Can I please clarify how you actually transfer the image onto the cake? Is it just free-handed with a toothpick, one quarter at a time? Or are you 'punching' it through the paper?

    2 answers

    Answer 4 months ago

    I drew the design free-hand using the print out as a guide.


    Reply 4 months ago

    Great. Thank you for the reply. Beautiful work!


    2 years ago

    If he were alive, Van Gogh would be impressed with your masterpiece!

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Why oh why would you create this stunning design on top of a chemical box cake?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    This Instructable focuses on the decorating of the cake. You are certainly free to bake your cake with whatever recipe you choose.


    2 years ago

    This is so beautiful!!!!! :)


    2 years ago

    This is a beautiful painting...


    2 years ago

    You are so talented! I've made decorated cakes for the kids for years, but nothing like this. My favorite Van Gogh painting, too!


    2 years ago

    this is amazing :)

    Slippery arm

    2 years ago

    So beautiful if I get to judge this contest I will definitely try and get you on the ballot