Somewhat Simple

How to Frost Cupcakes – Easy Cupcake Frosting Tips


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Ready to learn some easy cupcake frosting tips? Today we’re sharing how to frost cupcakes easily and beautifully every time!

cupcake frosting recipe

Basic Cupcake Tips

Aren’t cupcakes the best? I mean seriously, you can make them for both formal and casual events, they come in a billion flavors, they are fun to decorate… what’s not to love about a cupcake? Today I want to talk about a few cupcake frosting tips and baking suggestions that will make whipping up a batch of delicious, beautiful cupcakes even easier!

how to frost cupcakes

1. Best Cupcake Recipe.

First you need to start with your favorite cupcake recipe.  There are so many good ones out there – here are a few of our favorites:

buttercream frosting for cupcakes

2. How Long to Bake Cupcakes

I think the biggest mistake you can make when baking cupcakes is over-baking them.  A moist, yummy cupcake can quickly turn into a dry, crumbly average cupcake.  Get familiar with your oven and find the perfect cupcake baking time.  Does it typically cook things faster or slower than a package suggests?

  • Set your oven timer for a good 5 minutes less than it says in the recipe.
  • When it beeps, turn on the oven light and check them out. (Try to open the oven as little as possible so as not to let the heat out of the oven.
  • If it looks obvious they aren’t done, then set the timer for 2 or 3 more minutes.
  • If it is questionable, insert a toothpick.  When the toothpick comes out clean, take them out.
  • You want to catch them right at the moment that the toothpick comes out clean.
  • Be sure to take them out of the pan to cool right after you take them out of the oven.  Cupcakes will keep baking a little if they sit in the hot pan, so they’ll brown a bit more and the time it takes for them to cool will be much longer.

3. Cupcake Baking Supplies

  • Cupcake Tins – Cupcakes cook faster in darker pans, so the color of your cupcake pan can make a big difference on the cook time. So take your pans into consideration when you factor your bake time. (HERE is the tin I use. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done!)
  • Fill your cupcake liners with an ice cream scoop like this one.  It will lead to more uniformity in the size of your cupcakes.  Follow the recipe as to how high you should fill the liner with batter.   Also pay attention to how many cupcakes they say the recipe makes.  I try to make sure I have the same number they say.
  • Cupcake Liners – This one might just be a quirk of mine, but I only use cute, decorated cupcake liners with white cupcakes.  Usually, fancy cupcake liners are wasted on dark colored cake as the paper gets ruined by the conflicting color of the batter.  For chocolate cupcakes I use brown or white liners, which takes on the color brown during the baking process. Then, I’ll set my cupcakes in the decorative cupcake liners after they are baked. 

cupcake frosting tips

4. Cupcake Frosting Recipe

I could make a list a mile long of frosting options, but if you’re looking for a really easy cupcake frosting recipe, give  this one a try!

frost cupcakes

5. Cupcake Frosting Tips

Big cups make filling your frosting bags super easy!  Buy the larger 16 or 18 inch frosting bags if you want them to fold over a big cup.  Just set that bag (tip uncut) right in the cup and fold the top over a good 4-5 inches.  Fill it by scraping the frosting on the side of the cup, then tapping it down in.

best cupcake frosting

6. How to Frost Cupcakes

For frilly cupcakes you can use a variety of tips, but I want to show you how to get a simple, smooth swirl in no time!  You can achieve that “soft-served ice cream” look by  using a large round tip, or you could skip that step and just cut the end off the bag.  This really comes in handy when you are doing multiple colors and you only have one tip.  You won’t have to wash it between each color.

how to make cupcake frosting

After you fill your frosting bag, cut the tip with good, sharp scissors.  If it isn’t a clean cut, you will see marks and lines in your piping.  You still may see a very subtle line in your frosting swirl, but it’s miniscule.  If it bothers you, you’re better off using the frosting tips.

how to frost a cupcake

You can get the look of multiple round tips with any bag.  In the picture above, I cut the bag about an inch from the tip and piped the one on the left.  Then I cut off about 1/4 inch more and piped the second one, and so on.  So choose the look that you want and cut off your desired size.

easy how to frost a cupcake

The picture above is proof that you can get many frosted looks without the use of a cupcake tip. The cupcake on the left is frosted without a tip, the one on the right uses a big tip. (They really don’t look much different, right!)

easy cupcake frosting tips

When piping, hold the bag almost perpendicular to your work surface.  Apply a mild amount of pressure as you start on the outside and swirl your way in.

simple cupcake frosting tips

Some people prefer to have the frosting cover the whole cupcake, and some prefer to leave some cake showing.

7. Cupcake Sprinkles

If you want to add sprinkles to your cupcakes, do it right after you frost.  I usually frost 5 or so, then go back and sprinkle.  They will stick right to where you put them.  If you wait, the frosting will dry a tiny bit and they will just sprinkle right off the cupcake.

how to frost a cupcake directions

8. Cupcake Decorating Ideas

Of course, there are so many cupcake decorating ideas for every holiday and celebration. Here are some of our favorites from Somewhat Simple –

cupcake frosting

 Happy Cupcake Baking!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ashleigh is the creative baker from Bee in Our Bonnet. She was on the Somewhat Simple Creative Team, sharing darling cookie and dessert tips and ideas!

This post was updated with new images in June 2018.

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