In today’s tutorial, we will show you how to make a double-barrel cake (extra tall, extended height) with a full video tutorial easily with a quick “messy” icing or rustic buttercream (or chocolate ganache) icing finish.

A lot of people struggle with icing an extra tall cake. It can seem daunting or difficult due to its size but it is actually easy.

This style is elegant and brilliant for engagement and wedding cakes and creates a statement for a celebration.

In this tutorial learn two techniques in this tutorial – how big is a double barrel cake and how to do the “messy” icing finish.

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You will need

  • 2 cakes (each 7-inch round x 3 inch high) I used chocolate mud cake in this tutorial
  • Buttercream (I use this American buttercream recipe)
  • Sugar Syrup with optional chocolate liquor
  • Ribbon + flowers
  • Cake board (10 inch round)
  • Palate knife
  • Cake turntable or lazy Susan (optional)


A double-barrel cake is a double-stacked cake (twice the height as a “normal” cake). While an extended height is about 1.5 times the width of the cake. I call it a barrel cake because it looks like a barrel.

  1. First, cut the 2 cakes in half.
  2. Put a layer of sugar syrup on each cake half.
  3. To layer and stack the cake, put a bit of buttercream on the cake board and put first half cake upside down on the board.
  4. Using a palette knife spread a 1 cm thick buttercream layer between each cake layer. Make sure to give each cake layer a bit of a squish/squeeze down. (Note: use a flat base/bottom of a cake as the top.
  5. To crumb coat the cake, use the palette knife and use a ‘queen wave’ motion with the knife working in an anti-clockwise motion (for a right-handed person). You will still see some of the cake through the icing. You can set and chill the crumb coat in the fridge for 10 minutes, if you wish.
  6. Add a thick second layer of buttercream, at least 1 cm thick, on top of the crumb coat, to later add the messy icing finish. Get a thick pile of buttercream on your palette knife and keep piling onto the cake. Aim to have buttercream overflowing over the edge, as it will make the top easier to decorate.
  7. To decorate the top, pile on more buttercream (you can take some away later, it will make it easier to decorate).
  8. Eyeball the cake and make sure it is evenly covered and can’t see the cake through the icing.
  9. Clean up and tidy the cake board.
  10. To get the messy icing finish is done by how you use your palette knife. Using the tip of the palette knife, using a wave motion to get the effect.
  11. Decorate and finish with flowers and ribbon.
  12. Tip: When inserting fake or fresh flowers into cakes, make sure they are added safely using florist tape and washed and cleaned correctly if this cake is to be eaten (not a display cake).

You can check out the video tutorial here!

Tip: Check out the bloopers + outtakes at 26:50!

Author Bio

Rebekah Allan from Angel Foods has the best job in the world, talking about cakes! She believes anyone can make great cakes + make great money from cakes! Helping food lovers with positive support and a little bit of business know-how to help unlock the passion. Through high quality, easy to understand, actionable, fun tutorials, I teach others how to build the sweet business of their dreams! Find more recipes + tutorials on Pinterest!

Last update on 2022-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API