Cupcake Decorating

Decorating cupcakes is a fun way to show off your creativity while giving people something to admire and eat. When decorating cupcakes it is important to keep in mind a few things:
  • What is the size of the cupcakes? (mini? regular? jumbo?)
  • How many cupcakes will you be decorating? (one? six? twelve? two dozen?)
  • Who are the cupcakes for? (a child? an adult? a female? a male?)
  • What is the occasion? (birthday? wedding? baby shower? Christmas? Easter?)
  • Will each cupcake stand alone or will the cupcakes form a collective design?
  • How much time do you have to decorate the cupcakes? (a few minutes? hours? days?)
When it comes to frosting, there are many choices: royal, butter cream, fudge, chocolate butter cream, cream cheese, etc. If you choose a white or cream-colored frosting, those can be dyed whatever color you would like. The best food dyes to use for frostings are gel food coloring instead of liquid. Many arts and crafts stores carry gel food coloring. Liquid food coloring can be used as well, but it changes the consistency of the frosting, so extra care must be taken.
Frosting can be spread thinly or thickly, based on preference. Frosting can also be piped out to make a tall mound on the cupcake using a decorator’s bag and tip (or even just a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off).
Once the cupcakes have baked, cooled, and been frosted, then it’s time to decide what decorations to put on. Simple decorations include sprinkles; candies; fondant, gum paste, and sugar flowers; fondant cut-outs, shapes, or designs; plastic decorations on spikes (that stick into the cupcakes); garnishes (such as sliced fruit, chocolate shavings, mint leaves, or edible flowers). After you try out all of these decorations, create your own out of your favorite foods and colors!
There are many different types of sprinkles used to decorate cupcakes. You can find a large variety at many arts and crafts stores. There are a rainbow of colors of sparkling sugar, sprinkles shaped like tiny balls, sprinkles shaped like tiny sticks, etc. Sprinkles also come in shapes such as tiny dinosaurs, stars, animals, hearts, pumpkins, leaves, trees, etc. Edible silver and gold-colored dusting powders are sold at many arts and crafts stores.
Advanced Decorations
Decorator’s bags and tips can be used to pipe different designs onto cupcakes with frosting. These are more advanced techniques. The bags and tips can be purchased at many arts and crafts store or on-line.
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