5 Easy Ways to Decorate Cupcakes

by Amy Bradley

Welcome to the third and final blog post in our sweet series! Making beautiful cupcakes does not need to be difficult. With just a few key piping tips, you can create a wide array of toppers.

This quick video demonstrates five different decorating techniques, using only five piping tips.

What you’ll need:

Preparing your piping bag:

  1. Align your piping tip and the tip of your piping bag to find where exactly to cut off the tip of the bag. Ideally just enough so the end of the piping tip is completely protruding outwards without falling out of the bag.
  2. Fold out the top edges of the piping bag. Fill your bag about half way full with buttercream (or less). Many bags will have a line to tell you where to stop filling.
  3. Close the bag and twist. Hold the top end of the bag firmly closed. Use this hand to put pressure on the bag and force out the buttercream. If you put too much pressure toward the end with the piping tip, the frosting may start to come out the back and get all over your hand.

Note – Removing the piping tip from your bag is messy business. You can often avoid this by using a coupler, which lets you interchange tips as you go along.

Follow along with my video, and check out the additional detailed steps below for each design.

Wilton 1M Rosette

This is definitely one of my major go-to designs for cupcakes. It’s so simple, yet elegant. Just start in the middle of the cupcake, swirl around until you reach the outer edge, and just quickly but gently release pressure and pull away.

Wilton 1M Swirl

My other default design option – same tip, but different look. To me, the rosette is more classy, and this swirl just screams fun. I always add a dollop of frosting in the middle for support, then create my swirl from the outside working in and up. The more pressure you add and the slower pace you take in creating the swirl, the more of a ruffled effect you will get – yet another look from the same tip!

Avant-Garde Design

I was inspired by a few other bakers/bloggers who pioneered this design. I am so grateful for them sharing how they created it, so I want to share that with you, as well. First, create a mini rosette using the 2D tip, placing it a bit off center. Then, create a flowing ribbon or zig-zag using the petal tip 104, keeping the thinner end of the piping tip facing upwards. Finally, create stars using tip 4B to fill in the gaps. Put pressure down, then release and pull up quickly to create small stars.

In this design, I also used multi tonal frosting. This is pretty easy to achieve. All you need is two or three colors of frosting. When adding each color to the piping bag, simply press the buttercream against a particular side of the bag using a rubber spatula. I try to use a smaller size spatula for this. It’s ok if it’s not perfect! Squeeze some buttercream out into a bowl or on parchment until the appropriate color combination starts to appear, at which point you can start to pipe on the cupcakes.

Flower Power Design

This design is extremely simplistic, but I think it has a bit of sophistication to it – especially using white buttercream. I can envision these on a wedding cupcake display. Simply use the 4B star tip, pressing down to create small flowers or stars all over the cupcake. You could use multiple colors in this design, if you wish, to create a more eclectic look.

Ruffle Topper

I was introduced to this Ateco tip (849) thanks to one of my favorite baking bloggers, Sally McKinney of Sally’s Baking Addiction. She used this to decorate her pistachio strawberry cupcakes, and I just fell in love with the look. So girly and delicate! Put the tip of the nozzle against the cupcake, straight up from the middle. As you squeeze the frosting out. Slowly pull upwards, while turning the nozzle side to side in a more rapid fashion to create the ruffled effect. Pull away to create the pointed top.

Again, in this design I used a multi tonal frosting combination- this time using three colors. Refer to my previous notes on how to fill your piping bag with multiple colors of buttercream.

I hope these techniques aid you with any decorating woes from which you may be suffering. And remember, when in doubt, just add sprinkles – instant bedazzling!

What’s your go-to piping tip or technique? Share your favorites in the comments.

Did you try these techniques? Share your creations on social media by using the hashtag #sweetandsavorycouple!
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