3 Fun Frosting Designs for Cupcakes

Handy buttercream cupcake techniques

Kids and grown-ups never tire of delicious fresh baked cupcakes swirled with silky buttercream. And, one of the best things about this type of decorating is just how many fun frosting techniques for cupcakes there are out there! So whip out your piping bags, collection of tips and palette knives, and get ready decorate a batch with our quick ideas on how to playfully, beautifully decorate cupcakes using buttercream!

The Classic

The classic piped cupcake

This is the absolute classic buttercream swirl that adorns the majority of cupcakes — from homemade treats to large bakery batches. It’s pretty versatile, and it looks great on cupcakes for any event, such as kids’ parties, wedding receptions, corporate events or a quick Sunday afternoon tea!

How To Do It

All you need to pipe cupcakes with a classic swirl is a piping bag and any large cupcake piping tip (though the usual look would utilize an open or close star tip which create gorgeous ridges or ruffles). We pipe all of our cupcakes from the center and work our way around inwards as we reach the top. Beginning from the very center of the cupcake and piping a quick dollop in the middle helps give you a nice rounded middle to start from and stops you from losing shape and momentum when swirling your cupcakes.

Pro Tip: Making sure that your buttercream is as smooth and silky as possible is essential for this style of cupcake as rough and ragged edges to your buttercream ruffles are a no no!

Rustic and Messy

Rustic and messy buttercream cupcake

This technique is great for novices, decorating cupcakes with the kids or for sweet rustic weddings. We love the idea of adding sugar petals or edible flowers on top of a messy buttercream cupcake for a carefree wedding party! For kids’ birthdays toppled with candy, sprinkles or tasty fruity drizzles.

How To Do It

To re-create this look use a small angled palette knife (non-tapered) and slap a dollop of freshly whipped up buttercream atop of your cupcake. Using rough back ward ‘C’-shaped motions smother the buttercream around the top. You can leave the edges of the cupcake bare to push and scrape the frosting right up to the liner/case; it’s totally up to you.

Pro Tip: A heaped tablespoon of buttercream is a good sized portion to work with for this type of cupcake. Add too much buttercream and you’ll be left with a bit of mess!

Inner Swirl

Inner swirled cupcake

Create freshly baked cupcakes that look just like your local bakery with this fabulous technique. This method can take a few attempts to get just right, however, but once you’ve master it there’s no going back.

How To Do It

When it comes to creating this look you can utilize either a teaspoon or an angled palette knife to make the indented swirl. Take a large palette knife and add a generous helping of buttercream on top of a cupcake. Pat and smooth the buttercream around ever so slightly to make a good surface to work with. Using a teaspoon or angled palette knife begin from the outer edge  and quickly yet carefully swirl the spoon or palette knife indenting the buttercream. Flick out at the end in the center of the cupcake to finish!

Pro Tip: Speed is pretty darn handy when it comes to achieving this buttercream look. Begin slow to practice and keep getting faster. Try not to create the inner swirl too slow or you’ll be left with a shaky looking cupcake. Ideally it should take around three swift seconds to create the inner/reverse swirl!

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