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How to Make a Flat Design Birthday Cake in Affinity Designer

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Whether you’re making a birthday card for your nearest and dearest or you want to congratulate yourself, this tutorial is for you! You will learn how to make a simple yet detailed flat-style birthday cake in Affinity Designer, using basic shapes and operations. 

Once you start making this festive birthday cake, you’ll feel that you can’t stop until you make the whole flat birthday set! And the following techniques are a must-have for creating various flat icons, such as those you can find at Envato Market.

Let’s get started!

1. Make the Layers of the Cake

Step 1

Let's begin building our cake from the bottom, starting from a plate and the biggest layer or biscuit. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a long narrow horizontal stripe of 350 x 10 px size. This will be the plate that we put the cake on. Fill it with vivid turquoise color, using the color wheel of the Colour panel.

Switch to chocolate-brown color and build the first layer of our cake by making a 270 x 90 px rectangle.

make the first layer from rectangle

Step 2

Add another rectangle of 270 x 17 px size on top of the chocolate layer and fill it with pink color, forming a thin stripe of strawberry cream.

To do this faster, you can simply Copy (Command-C) the chocolate layer and Paste (Command-V) it on top. Then recolor it, and either squash the shape manually while pressing Command to make the shape smaller, or set the desired size in the Transform panel and move the new shape while holding the Shift key in order to move it straight vertically, so that both shapes remain perfectly aligned to each other. 

add a stripe

Step 3

Let’s add another strawberry layer to our cake. You can either create a shape with the help of the Rectangle Tool (M) or use the same technique as in the previous step: Copy (Command-C) the chocolate layer, Paste (Command-V) it and place the copy beneath the chocolate layer (Command-[). Then either change the size from the Transform panel, setting it to 195 x 155 px size, or hold down the Command key and squash the shape manually, making it taller and narrower.

Add another layer of 140 x 205 px size, filling it with biscuit yellow color and Moving it to Back (Shift-Command-[).

add a second pink layer with rectangle

2. Add Details to the Cake

Step 1

Let’s decorate our cake with birthday candles on top. Arm yourself with the Rectangle Tool (M) and form a 6 x 40 px shape of pink color for the body of the candle.

Now add the flame. Take the Ellipse Tool (M) and make a squashed oval of orange color. Convert it to Curves by clicking the appropriate button in the control toolbar on top. Now you can edit and adjust the shape. Take the Node Tool (A), select the top node, and make it pointed by clicking the Sharp button in the Convert panel on top.

make a candle

Step 2

Duplicate (Command-C > Command-V) the shape and shrink it down, making it smaller. Make the copy lighter, depicting a stylized flame.

Now, let’s decorate the candle. Make a small stripe of about 6 x 2 px, using the Rectangle Tool (M). Select both the candle body and the stripe and Align both objects to the Center in the upper control toolbar.

Select the stripe, hold Alt-Shift and drag it down to make a copy. Make more copies, covering the candle with stripes.

make a candle flame and stripes

Step 3

Let’s add more stripes to the biscuit top of our cake. Make one stripe and create more copies by holding Alt-Shift and dragging.

In order to make the distance between the stripes even, select them all and head to the top control toolbar. Open the Arrange drop-down window and click Space Horizontally.

add more stripes

Step 4

Let’s take the Ellipse Tool (M) and make a 30 x 30 px circle for the berry. Add a smaller and lighter circle on top for the highlight. Group (Command-G) the parts of the berry and place it on top of the chocolate layer. Make more copies, decorating the cake with glossy berries.

make berries from circle

Step 5

Let’s add a liquid topping to our cake, starting from the chocolate layer. Duplicate the chocolate layer and shrink it to 270 x 40 px size by dragging its bottom part up with the Move Tool (V). Fill it with lighter brown color.

add a chocolate layer

Step 6

Now we’ll form the liquid drips of chocolate. Make a rectangle of about 7.5 x 27 px size and make its corners fully rounded by setting the Corner radius to 100% in the upper control toolbar.

make chocolate drips 1

Step 7

Fill the drip with the same light-brown color as the shape beneath, using the Eyedropper Tool from the Colour panel. To do this, click the eyedropper icon and drag it over the color you want to pick until you see a magnified area. Then click the color circle next to the eyedropper icon in the Colour panel to apply the picked color.

Add another rounded rectangle of lighter color, placing it right next to the first one.

make chocolate drips 2

Step 8

Hold Alt-Shift and make more drips, covering the whole length of the biscuit. Then select some of the brown drips and squash them, making the shape shorter.

make chocolate drips 3

Step 9

Let’s vary the length of the light drips. Make some of them shorter and the others taller.

make chocolate drips 4

Step 10

Now let’s merge the brown parts of the topping. Select both the brown drips and the rectangle beneath it, head to the Operations panel on top and press Add, this way uniting the elements into a single shape.

make chocolate drips 5

Step 11

And now we’re going to form the liquid chocolate by cutting out those light rectangles. Select them together with the chocolate shape that we’ve just formed and use the Subtract Operations to cut the shapes out.

make chocolate drips 6

Step 12

We’ll be using the same technique to form the liquid topping for the strawberry layer of our cake. Duplicate the pink layer and shrink it to about 195 x 39.5 px, placing the copy at the top of the strawberry biscuit and filling it with lighter pink color. Add two rounded rectangle shapes of about 9 x 30 px size, starting from the left side of the cake.

make strawberry pink drips 1

Step 13

Alternate the colors of the drips, filling some of them with the same light-pink color as the base. Then vary the length of the drips, making some of them shorter than the others.

make strawberry pink drips 2

Step 14

Use the Add Operation to merge the pink drips with the pink shape beneath them.

make strawberry pink drips 3

Step 15

Vary the length of the light rounded rectangles and now let’s cut them out, forming the drips. Select all the light drips together with the pink shape and hit the Subtract button in Operations panel, cutting out the shapes.

make strawberry pink drips 4

3. Give It a Finished Look

Step 1

Now that all the decorative elements of our cake are ready, let’s add a gentle shadow to give our illustration more of a flat-style look.

Let’s group all the elements of our cake (Command-A > Command-G) and make a copy on top (Command-C > Command-V).

Select the copy, right click and Ungroup all. Keeping the ungrouped elements selected, apply the Add Operation, merging the elements into a single silhouette.

make a flat shadow 1

Step 2

Fill the created silhouette with light-yellow color and switch it to Multiply Blend Mode in the Layers panel.

Take the Vector Crop Tool and shrink the shape, so that the shadow covers only the right half of the cake.

make a flat shadow in multiply mode

Step 3

Finally, let’s add a simple background to our cake. Take the Ellipse Tool (M), make a light-beige circle and place it beneath the cake (Shift-Command-[). Duplicate the circle, varying the size and color of the copies.

add a circle background

Congratulations! Our Flat Festive Birthday Cake Is Ready!

Great job! You’ve learned how to use the simple shapes and operations of Affinity Designer to make a fancy birthday cake in flat style! You can continue adding details to make it even more festive. And you can also add a simple blue background which will turn your image into a minimalist and stylish congratulation card. Just add the text, and there you have it!

If you want to inspect the source file from Affinity Designer in order to see how it was made, or if you wish to get a vector EPS, AI or raster version of the whole set, don’t hesitate to grab this festive birthday pack on Envato Market.

Feel free to use these simple techniques for your new designs. Good luck!

Flat Festive Birthday Cake is finished
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