10 Easy Ways To Frost A Cupcake

10 ways to frost a cupcake

When I first started baking cupcakes, frosting them was as simple as using a butter knife to heap the buttercream on top. Sure, you can do some cool stuff with a butter knife (can you really?), but the right piping tips and techniques make all the difference when it comes to decorating cupcakes that look uniform, professional, and sometimes too pretty to eat. My very first piping tip was the ultra-versatile Wilton 1M, and it’s still one of my go-to’s for creating buttercream designs on cupcakes. Today I’m going to talk about four of my favorite piping tips for decorating cupcakes, the 1M tip included, and 10 easy (and eye-catching!) looks you can create with them.

Here’s a little video I whipped up to show you all of the different looks you can create in minutes. Take a look for inspiration, then I’ll show you the step-by-step.

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You Will Need:

Rosette

Using tip 1M (you could alternatively use 2D to get a similar look), pipe a swirl starting in the center of the cupcake and ending on the outer edge.

how to pipe buttercream rosette

This one is so classic and totally ends up looking like a little buttercream garden rose.

rosette cupcakes by sugar and sparrow

Open Stars

Using tip 4B, pipe open stars over the surface of the cupcake.

how to decorate cupcakes

This is my all-time favorite design, and I often use a few different colors with this technique. It never fails to impress.

pink cupcakes by sugar and sparrow

Basic Swirl

Using tip 1M, pipe a swirl starting on the outer edge and building upon each turn until you build a little mountain of a swirl. It should end up looking like a soft serve ice cream cone.

how to pipe a swirl on cupcakes

This was the very first technique I learned and it’s still such a timeless look.

how to pipe swirls onto cupcakes

Open Star Swirl

Using tip 4B, pipe a swirl starting on the outer edge and ending in the center. It looks best when you build upon each turn to create a swirly little buttercream mountain.

ideas for frosting cupcakes

This look can be further enhanced with a few pretty sprinkles on top.

how to pipe frosting onto cupcakes

Pom Pom

Holding tip 104 vertically with the skinny end pointed upward, pipe a few squiggles in a swirl in the very center on the cupcake. Continue to add ruffley piping in a circular pattern around the center swirl until you reach the edge.

how to make buttercream carnation cupcakes

This is a very similar technique to buttercream carnations, and it ends up looking like a pretty little pom pom that looks great in any color!

cupcake decorating techniques by sugar and sparrow

Ruffles

Holding tip 104 flat against the cupcake with the thinner edge pointed outward and the larger edge pointing to the center of the cupcake, pipe a row of ruffles around the outer edge by moving the tip slightly up and down. For the next set of ruffles, hold the tip at a 45 degree angle and pipe the next row so that it stands a little bit taller. For the final and innermost set of ruffles, hold the tip at more of a 75 degree angle so they stand taller than the previous set.

how to pipe ruffles on cupcakes

This look is really amazing when you use different colors for each row, especially in an ombrè color scheme.

ruffle cupcakes by sugar and sparrow

Spatula Swirl

Using a small icing spatula, place a dollop of buttercream on top of the cupcake and work it around until you’ve got an even bulb of buttercream, then use the spatula to create a swirl in the center as you slowly rotate the cupcake.

how to frost cupcakes without piping tip

This one doesn’t involve a piping tip, but it’s such a classic look that many renowned bakeries still use on the daily.

how to frost cupcakes by sugar and sparrow

Rounded Spikes

Using tip 1A, pipe dots all over the surface of the cupcakes. Easy as that!

cupcake piping techniques by sugar and sparrow

When I brought all of these cupcakes over to a friend’s house, this was the one all the kids were pining over.

how to decorate cupcakes by sugar and sparrow

Round Tip Swirl

Using tip 1A, pipe a swirl starting on the outer edge and building until you get to the center.

best piping tips for cupcakes

This one is super simple and can be always be classed up with some pretty sprinkles.  

cupcakes with a swirl by sugar and sparrow

Ruffled Swirl

Using tip 1M, pipe a swirl starting on the outer edge and working your way to the center, only move your hand back and forth to create a ruffled look as you pipe and build upon your swirl.

how to pipe buttercream onto cupcakes

It’s amazing how a simple move of your hand as you pipe can create such different results than a basic swirl.

ruffled swirl cupcakes by sugar and sparrow

The right piping tips and techniques make all the difference when it comes to creating flawless cupcakes. These are definitely the easiest looks to create, but they’re still some of my go-to’s when it comes to cupcake decorating.

cupcake decorating techniques by sugar and sparrow

Which one is your favorite look? Let me know in the comments below!

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