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Cupcake Frosting 101 - Spreading, Dipping and Piping

Updated on April 20, 2012
Cupcakes with Pink Frosting
Cupcakes with Pink Frosting | Source

Points to Note Before Beginning

-It's important to note that before you decorate your cupcakes using any of the below methods, they should be completely cooled.

-Once you've made sure they are, use the tip of your finger to gently brush off any loose crumbs that might be sitting on top of the cakes.

-You'll be using an offset palette knife (or a simple butter knife) to spread the frosting over the top of your cupcakes. If it is too stiff and difficult to spread, dip the blade of your knife in hot water, then try again.

-Don't be afraid to use too much frosting, as there really is no such thing as "too much" when it comes to decorating cupcakes. You can always remove any excess when you're done, if you want.

Spreading Frosting on a Cupcake
Spreading Frosting on a Cupcake | Source

The Spreading Method

-I recommend using buttercream frosting, chocolate frosting, fondant, whipped cream, boiled icing, and/or icing cream when using the spreading method.

-The best way to spread frosting is to hold the knife in one hand and the cupcake in the other. This way it will be easier to spread the frosting evenly.

-Scoop a large drop of frosting up with your knife and place it in the middle of the cake.

-Experiment with creating different designs on your cupcakes. Try making waves, spikes or swirls.

Chocolate Dipped Cupcakes
Chocolate Dipped Cupcakes | Source

The Dipping Method

-When dipping, you'll want to use ganache, fondant, glaze, and/or store-bought frosting.

-Hold the cupcake upside-down by its base and lower the top into the dip for a period of approximately 2 seconds.

-Lift the cake out and place it right side-up on a sheet of wax paper. If any patches on top of the cupcake have remained un-frosted, use a small spoonful of topping to fill them in.

Piping Frosting onto a Cupcake
Piping Frosting onto a Cupcake | Source

The Piping Method

-The best types of frosting to use when piping are buttercream, chocolate, cream cheese, and/or whipped cream.

-For this method, it's recommended you use a pastry bag with a star-tip, and a rubber spatula.

-Use the spatula to fill the bag 2/3 of the way and twist the bag's top closed and hold it in this position with a twist-tie.

-Place the cupcake on a flat surface such as your kitchen table or counter-top, rather than holding it in the palm of your hand.

-Hold the main body of the pastry bag in your favoured hand and sit the piping end on the index finger of your other hand to guide it.

-Start piping at the outer edge of your cupcake and coil the frosting inwards and upwards until you've reached the cake's centre, then stop piping with a quick twist of your wrist to finish it off nicely.


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