Icing Cupcakes (the easy way!)

Perfectly Frosted Cupcakes
Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

I spent a long time thinking that beautifully iced cupcakes were out of my reach. Sure other bloggers and bakers could do it, but me and my lack of artistic talent sure couldn’t. Imagine my surprise when I realized that it’s really not as hard as it looks! In fact, it’s even easier than using a knife to spread the icing on.

Perfectly Frosted Cupcakes

All it takes is a pastry bag and the right tip. It took me a long time to figure out that the missing key was the right tip. For big swirls like you see on these cupcakes, you need a tip with a big opening.  Eventually I went to Michael’s, stood in the cake decorating section and pondered my choices. I finally figured out that the easiest thing to do was search a decorating book for the look I wanted, find out what tip the decorators used, and just buy what they recommended.  My tip of choice for what you see here is a Wilton 1M tip, but any star tip with a large opening will work.

Perfectly Frosted Cupcakes

To get the look of the above cupcakes, first attach your tip to your pastry bag and fill the bag with frosting. (I like to hold the bag loosely in my hand and fold the excess out over my hand to make it easier to fill.)  Then, simply start from the outside of the cupcake and make a swirl of frosting around the top of the cupcake, working from the outside to the center. If you think it seems complicated, it’s actually much easier than it sounds. It might take one or two cupcakes to practice, but I promise you’ll have professional looking cupcakes in no time.

Perfectly Frosted Cupcakes
Mini Colorful Chocolate Cupcakes

To make the icing “roses” you see above, I did the same thing I just described, but started the icing in the center of the cupcake and swirled out around it. Still simple, and it gives you a slightly different, daintier look.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any other tips for fancy icing!

If you’re looking for more inspiration, Katie from Good Life Eats posted a great kitchen tip on cupcake piping last week, and Jen from My Kitchen Addiction has a great picture tutorial for frosting cupcakes. I learned the “rose” design from Amanda from I am Baker who has a great rose cake tutorial on her site – can’t wait to try that one!

Perfectly Frosted Cupcakes
Black Magic Cream Filled cupcakes
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18 Responses to “Icing Cupcakes (the easy way!)”

  1. 1

    Sweet Bella Roos — February 23, 2011 @ 3:28 am

    Ahhhh the vanilla chai cupcakes look yummy! I have to make those- I think I actually have all of the ingredients on hand from a 'chai crunch' I made last fall. Thanks for the tips!

  2. 2

    Priyanka — February 23, 2011 @ 4:51 am

    Lovely cupcakes…U r seriously very good with baking :)

  3. 3

    Eliana — February 23, 2011 @ 6:01 am

    Hmmm – these could not look more gorgeous! And delicious!

  4. 4

    Blog is the New Black — February 23, 2011 @ 11:42 am

    Great job- so pretty! :)

  5. 5

    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — February 23, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

    I am horrible at icing cupcakes, I am saving this for future reference:-)

  6. 6

    Brenda — February 23, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    I'm saving this for future reference too, thanks Megan!

  7. 7

    Elle — February 23, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

    Beautiful! It always seems more complicated than it really is, doesn't it? Thanks for sharing!

  8. 8

    A Cooks Quest — February 23, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    I want cupcakes now….mmm

  9. 9

    Rachel @ The Avid Appetite — February 23, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

    I am god-awful at icing cupcakes and basically decorating any baked goods in general. Thanks for these tips!

  10. 10

    Happy When Not Hungry — February 23, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

    Thanks for the icing tips! You just made me really hungry too :-)

  11. 11

    Julie — February 24, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    The 1M tip has changed my life. Or at least my cupcakes. If you ever see any of the other 1-level tips like 1F out there in the wilderness, snatch them up. I found one at Goodwill once and it makes for a cute look too.

  12. 12

    Ellie Sue — February 24, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    I absolutely love love your blog!! I have been looking for someone to show me how easy piping can be, just got tips and bags from Micheals and I am ready to roll!! Thanks!!!


  13. 13

    yummy supper — February 24, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

    Hey Megan, Thanks for stopping by Yummy Supper so that I could find your blog! I am drooling over the cream filled cupcakes!

  14. 14

    Barbara — February 24, 2011 @ 4:50 pm

    Nice tips, Megan. I'm always so jealous of the beautifully decorated cakes and cupcakes!

  15. 15

    Medifast Coupons — February 24, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    Great decorating tips, always appreciate all the help I can get.

  16. 16

    julie — February 24, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

    I just bought a 1M for my churros a few days back. I absolutely love that tip! Great post Megan!

  17. 17

    pajamachef — February 24, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    great tips, megan. i'll definitely have to revisit this in the future. :)

  18. 18

    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — February 25, 2011 @ 4:49 am

    Yours look so great! You make it look easy, thanks for the tip!

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