The New Way to Frost Your Cupcakes: The Flat-Top Buttercream Technique

Yay for cupcakes! And double-yay for flat top buttercream cupcakes!

Flat Top Buttercream Cupcakes | Erin Gardner | Bluprint
I’ve always loved the look of silky smooth fondant covered cupcakes. They’re so clean and perfect for adding piping or delicate decorations. What I don’t love (and many of my customers didn’t love) was the amount of fondant needed on a cupcake to achieve the look.

Fondant works beautifully on larger cakes because it’s offset by the layers of cake and buttercream within. But, on a teeny little cupcake, the ratio becomes a little wonky.

Flat Top Cupcake With Sprinkles | Erin Gardner | Bluprint

The other major flaw with fondant covered cupcakes is the lack of sprinkles. I’m a girl who loves her sprinkles! By using buttercream we get the best of both worlds, a smooth top for adding a message or decoration, and sides to fill up with lots of sprinkley goodness!

Here are a few quick and easy methods for making your own flat top buttercream cupcakes!

Supplies | Erin Gardner | Bluprint


  • Cupcakes
  • Crusting buttercream (Use your favorite recipe or this one on the Bluprint Blog)
  • Piping bag
  • Large round tip (I used Ateco #809.)
  • Small icing spatula
  • Sprinkles
  • Small bowl
  • Waxed paper

Flat Top Cupcake With Sprinkles

Step 1:

Pipe a generous swirl of buttercream onto your cupcake. Smear the icing to the edges of the top of the cupcake using the small spatula.

Icing A Flat Top Cupcake | Erin Gardner | Bluprint

Step 2:

Hold the spatula vertically and smooth the sides of the icing all the way around the top of the cupcake. Next, hold the spatula horizontally and at a slight angle and smooth down any edges of the icing that are sticking up. Just like you would when crumb coating a cake.

Icing A Flat Top Cupcake | Erin Gardner | Bluprint

Step 3:

Pour your sprinkles into a small bowl. Hold your cupcake at a slight angle and roll the edges of the buttercream icing in sprinkles.

Flat Top Cupcake With Sprinkles | Erin Gardner | Bluprint

Upside down Method

Step 1:

Pipe a medium sized swirl of buttercream onto your cupcake. Flip your cupcake upside down onto a piece of wax paper. Smush the cupcake down to spread the frosting flat across the top of the cupcake. Use the spatula to smooth the edges of the frosting all the way around. Place your cupcake onto a plate and into the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes.

Upside Down Method | Erin Gardner | Bluprint

Step 2:

Peel the wax paper off the top of the cupcake. Smooth the top of the icing with the small spatula. Dip the spatula in warm water and wipe it with a towel after ever swipe. This will help you get your icing very smooth.

You can stop at this point and add sprinkles and other decorations, or round the edges for more of a domed look.
Upside Down Method |Erin Gardner | Bluprint

Rounding The Edges

Step 1:

Use the small spatula to smooth down the top edge of the icing. Work your way around the cupcake, smoothing down edges as you go. Continue to use the hot water and towel to clean your spatula as needed. Set the cupcake aside to allow the buttercream to crust before moving on. This should take about 10 minutes.

Domed Buttercream Cupcake | Erin Gardner | Bluprint

Step 2:

Once your icing has crusted over, make the top of your cupcake even smoother by using your finger or a small piece of wax paper to tap down any ridges left behind by the spatula. You can also use a piece of Viva paper towel. The Viva brand paper towel is preferred among many decorators because it has a very smooth surface, perfect for knocking down any rough edges on a crusted buttercream.

Flat Top Buttercream Iced Cupcake | Erin Gardner | Bluprint
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