Pretty Swirl Cupcakes Anyone Can Make
Shortcuts Are Sometimes Good
Having my little cake decorating business out of my kitchen is no easy task. Not only is production difficult having only one of everything (oven, stand mixer, icing bag, etc) but it's really hard to do big projects working on my own. To have a kitchen like they have on Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes would be a dream come true, but for now I have to settle with working in my little home-bound kitchen.
There have been times where people have ordered a huge cake and eight dozen cupcakes. Obviously I can't make anything too far ahead of time because I'll end up with rock hard cakes and staling cupcakes. Because of the hardships of flying solo, I've been forced to find ways to simplify products.
Take these cupcakes, for example. I was asked to make Monster High cupcakes for a birthday party and at first, I was a little wary about taking on a theme I know nothing about. My days of playing dolls are long gone. But using the shortcuts I've grown accustom to using, I ended up with a nice finished product. They look super pretty, follow theme, taste delicious, and were so easy to make. I decorated four dozen cupcakes in an hour.
Monster High cupcakes I made using canned frosting
Follow the KISS motto
Cupcakes like these with the pretty swirl icing design have come to be known as my signature style. People are always telling me how pretty, elegant, and fancy they look. If they only knew how simple it is!
When decorating these cupcakes, I like to follow the KISS motto: Keep It Simple Stupid
So here's what you'll need to make these:
- white canned frosting - You can use any brand, but you'll want to get "rich" or "creamy". DO NOT get anything "whipped" or "fluffy" as these frostings do not hold their shape as well when being pipped with an icing bag
- confectioner's sugar - a 1LB bag should do
- icing bags - I like the disposable ones from Wilton
- 1M icing tip - Again, I like to use Wilton but I know there's other brands out there like JEM
- Some sort of icing color - and again, I suggest Wilton. They have great icing color sets that come in gels. The gels work nicely because no matter how much you add, they won't change the consistency of the icing
And of course, you'll need cupcakes to decorate!
Hot pink swirl!
How many cans?
This is all about making the canned frosting more stiff so that when pipped, it holds it's shape. You're going to want a little less than a can of frosting for each dozen cupcakes. I like a lot of frosting on my cupcakes, but if you like to use frosting more sparingly, you could probably use two cans of frosting for every three dozen.
Getting the right consistency
Empty the canned frosting into your mixing bowl. Start off my adding half a cup of confectioner's sugar to your canned frosting. As your mixing, pay attention to how stiff the frosting is getting. In the end, you know you have the right consistency when you can quickly lift your whisk from the frosting and the frosting stands up like a little mountain peak. You want to keep gradually adding confectioner's sugar in small amounts until you achieve this desired thickness.
AFTER you have achieved your desired consistency, add the icing color. If using gel colors, dip a knife into the gel and dot the white icing in a few different spots. If using liquid color, like in those cute little food coloring packages shaped like little eggs, add a few dots in different spots. Like adding the confectioner's sugar, it's always best to add color little by little. You can always make it darker, but once you have added too much color, you can't go back!
Filling your pipping bag
This is probably the hardest part of decorating these cupcakes... You want to take the icing bag and cut off a SMALL piece of the corner, just small enough for the end of the 1M tip to poke through. Then, drop the tip into the bag so that it does in fact just poke through. You do not need to secure the tip inside the bag. It will stay! Just make sure the tip is pushed as far down as it can be into the corner of the bag.
To fill the bag by myself, I usually find a really tall glass and put the piping bag inside the cup so it's standing. If you don't have a tall cup, some one handed fancy maneuvering will do. Fill the bag as much as you can, leaving room at the top to twist it off.
To create the swirl pattern, start on the outer edge of the cupcakes and swirl into the center in a clockwise motion. Apply even pressure to the bag at all times. When you reach the center, stop apply pressure and pull up and away from cupcake quickly to make a pointed center. If you are new to piping bags and tips, this may take a few times to perfect, but the end results are gorgeous! Always make sure your cupcakes are COMPLETELY cool before frosting!
And that's it! If you want to add sprinkles or anything else on top, do so immediately. The addition of confectioner's sugar makes the frosting dry out a little more quickly. I usually frost them in fours; ice four and then add sprinkles/extra stuff to those, then move onto the next four, frost those, etc.