Frosting cupcakes are very easy to do than anyone thinks. With the right technique and tools, you can be an expert in making the best decorations on cupcakes using smooth and creamy frosting.
Today I’ll be sharing with you all about cupcakes, especially on how to frost cupcakes the easy way. In my many years in working with cake shops, I have the chance to decorate thousands of cupcakes that graced a lot of festive occasions such as Easter, Christmas, Halloween, Birthdays, and frosting tons of simple everyday cupcakes as sweet treats are also a delight to make even now.
I believe that the techniques in frosting cupcakes in different colors and shapes are all similar and natural. I’m going to show you some basic methods on how to frost cupcakes with my very own buttercream recipe that is extremely easy and always turns out perfectly.
The memories I had in my study in Japan led me to meet awesome people that share the same passion that I have in cake decorating. I had a chance to visit a colleague of mine at the end of the spring in my stay in Japan. It was my first time to visit a Japanese house in my 4 years since I arrived in Japan. It was amazing to see how she worked diligently, and the smell of the house is just so heavenly. With her 10 years of cake decorating experience, her house is like a mini cake shop, and what impressed me was those valuable big piping tips that were neatly placed in a container that she used through the years in cake decorating.
Speaking of piping tips or nozzles, you can start by using star nozzles or plain nozzles in piping your frosting. Still, if you are considering plunging to the world of cupcake decorating, you might as well have a collection of different piping tips. The ones that I am using the most are the 6 wing-star nozzles (Ateco 825, 848, 863) and a plain tip Ateco 807.
Proper techniques are very important in frosting cupcakes, but you don’t need to worry because I am here to guide you along the way, and with practice and patience, you can achieve frosting cupcakes perfectly and enjoy doing it all day long.
Before we get started, here are some tips that you need to take note of.
First, you should make batches of our yummy and creamy best Buttercream frosting! We have the step by step procedures to guide you on how to make this delicious homemade frosting here. American buttercream is the choice frosting that I picked today, which are very easy to make in less time. There is also one frosting that I also like to whip up – the Italian buttercream, which has a shiny look and delectable taste, but unlike the American buttercream, its technique can be challenging and time-consuming. There is also quite an issue when it comes to its storage life.
Second, to decorate a cupcake you need to have your frosting batch, piping bag, tips, or also called nozzles. But the most important is to prepare the piping bags. To do this, you need to cut the end of the bag by using scissors and insert the piping tip down into the bag. Always remember to snip off the end of the bag just enough for the piping tips to get through it. I made a lot of mistakes in doing this before. I used to cut big holes at the end of the piping bag that got too much of the frosting out, and the outcome was a mess! There’s no fun in that I assure you.
I know some folks would have the frosting piped in a ziplock one, but that has never worked for me. I only use it if I am making a quick squiggle, but for something that requires more precision, I use a decorating bag. Some also use reusable and disposable bags. Try whatever works for you.
In filling your bag with frosting, the easiest way is to place your piping bag in a large cup or drinking glass, then fill the bag no more than 2/3 full of frosting then lift it out of the cup. At this point, you need to push down the frosting all the way to the bottom of the bag and then twist the top of the bag where the frosting ends and use a twist tie or bag ties to prevent the frosting from coming out when you start to squeeze it for piping.
Third, when piping always holds the bag straight with a 90-degree angle. Leave about a 1 cm gap between the tip to cupcake then pipe from inside out to make a rose, for example, or reverse way from outside to the middle with a plain tip to design your cupcakes. There are many ways you can play with buttercream frosting.
Let’s get started
1. High Star Swirl
I use Ateco 848 closed star tip on this. I start by piping a dollop at the center of the cupcake. You can do this by holding the bag in a vertical angle to the cupcake. Put some pressure on the piping bag to allow a little frosting to come out, then pull up the bag and away from the cupcake then release the pressure. The dollop will be your guide for the next step, and it will also assist the additional frosting on top not crumble in the center.
Moving around the dollop in the center, you can begin frosting the cupcake around the edge. When you finished a full circle, you can create the next rotation by moving the bag in an inward position then continue piping inwardly until you reach three full rotations then finish off by adding a small circle on top. Once you’re on top, release the pressure and gently pull the bag away.
2. Rosette look – A flat rose
Making this look is pretty much more comfortable than the swirl we just made. I use my Ateco 825 open star tip for this. You’ll start by piping a dot in the center of the cupcake then continue piping around the dot until you have covered the top of the cupcake. Once you reached and covered the edge of the cupcake completely with frosting, release the pressure from the bag and gently lifted it away.
3. High plain swirl circle
This look applies a similar technique to that of the star swirl cupcake, and I used my favorite piping tip Ateco 807. Hold the bag in a vertical position to the cupcake. You will start by piping a full circle at the outer edge of the cupcake. Then as you complete the first rotation, place the piping bag slightly inward to create another circle then continue piping until you reached three full circle rotations plus a small one on top. Release the pressure on the and lift the bag gently away from the cupcake.
4. Frost a cupcake with a knife (spatula knife)
This style is a favorite of mine. I used a spatula knife to spread the frosting that works perfectly to decorate the cupcake. It is very quick and easy to make. You can use also a spread knife, cutting knife alternatively from your kitchen, they works perfect too, as long as you feel comfortable with it.
To begin, hold the cupcake in your left hand and the spatula in your right. This will give you a good view of the cupcake so you can spread the frosting evenly over the entire surface. Scoop out the icing using the spatula knife and place it in the center of the cupcake. Spread outward, smoothing the surface with the edge of the spatula.
One more thing is this frosting style is one of the most important base before starting the other style of decorations such as piping flowers using Russian tips or helping to place buttercream succulents on cupcakes.
5. Frost a thick flat top cupcake
This style gets my vote as the most attractive choice, among others. It is a combination of two techniques – piping and spreading. I love doing them, and I’m sure you’ll have fun doing this also. It is more time consuming than others, but the result looks perfect yet straightforward.
I use the same piping tip Ateco 807 plus a knife for this. To start, I use the plain tip to make the dome onto the cupcake. With the use of an offset spatula, I flatten the top of the frosting and spread it towards the center of the cupcake. The offset spatula is also useful in straightening and smooth-en out the sides of the frosting mound. Usually, I take a little bit of time on this step to make sure I got a crisp edge.
6. Mini stars swirling
Another creative way to decorate your cupcakes, i believe this technique not as hard as you think. Just an on-going piping swirling tips method and no more than that, use #863 for a perfect result
That’s it! I hope you enjoy doing these methods on how to frost your cupcakes. There are so many ways to frost your cupcakes, but I believe the above 6 methods are the simplest way to start decorating beautiful cupcakes. You can be more creative by combining these methods with a few toppings such as smarties, chocolate chips, sprinklers, or some sugar balls and create a specialty themed cupcakes.
Feel free to use piping tips that will suit your style later on. I mainly use the large tips Ateco brand, but you can use whatever tips that will best work for you. If you have any questions, leave us in the comments and I that I can give you a hand.
I hope that this post gave you a little confidence to start decorating your cupcakes. With practice and patience, if I can learn to frost cupcakes, I believe you can too!