Foodie Tips

The Ultimate Guide to Cupcake Frosting

Have you ever gone into a bakery and just watched decorators pipe gorgeous cupcake frosting designs onto individual cakes? The effect can be truly enchanting, with decorations ranging from simple and sweet to extravagant and luxurious.

However, recreating those same beautiful designs at home can be quite a challenge. Many of us struggle with how to frost cupcakes without a piping bag or with only simple tools at our disposal. 

If you’re wanting to get started with cupcake decorating, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together a guide on decorating cupcakes for beginners. Keep reading and let’s work together to create gorgeous cupcake designs!

Choose the Right Frosting

The first cupcake decorating tip we have for you is to choose the right frosting. The type of frosting that you use will dictate the type of designs and decorations you can do and how the cupcake will look. 

There are several different types of frostings that work well for cupcakes. Here are a few of the most popular types of frosting that you can use on your cupcakes.

Butter Frosting

Butter frosting is a simple frosting made of powdered sugar, butter, and either milk or heavy whipping cream. This frosting is quite thick and can easily be piped onto cupcakes.

Shortening Frosting

Shortening frosting, also called creamy white frosting, is made in the same way as butter frosting except that you substitute the butter with vegetable shortening.

The resulting frosting is a brilliant white color and is extremely light and fluffy. It’s perfect if you need a vegan frosting option for your cupcakes.

Powdered Sugar Icing

A powdered sugar icing is one of the simplest types of frosting that you can make. This simply uses powdered sugar and either milk or water. The resulting frosting is more of a glaze and works great for dipping your cupcakes.

Buttercream Frosting

One of the most popular types of frosting is buttercream frosting. This buttercream frosting uses egg whites, butter, and sugar to create a simple frosting.

Buttercream frosting is perfect for piping and spreading on your cupcakes. You can easily pipe it or design it so that it makes beautiful cake creations.


Ganache is made of melted chocolate and heavy whipping cream. You can use it as a glaze or you can dip cupcakes in it, much like you would with powdered sugar frostings.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is often used for red velvet and carrot cakes, but it can be used alongside any type of cupcake. This frosting uses powdered sugar, cream cheese, and milk to make a thick frosting.

Decorate Your Cupcakes

Once you’ve selected the perfect frosting for your cupcakes, it’s time to decorate them! To do this, you’ll need to select what type of look and method you’re going for.

While there are many different ways you can frost cupcakes so they look beautiful on your cupcake tower stands, we’ve put together a few simple ideas for you. Check out these frosting methods to give your cupcakes the perfect look.

Piped Frosting

Piping frosting can be a great way to decorate your cupcakes professionally. To do so, you’ll need to get pastry tips and a pastry back. The different tips you use on your piping bag will give you different textures, so it’s important to pick various tips.

Round tips are great for dots, lines, and writing while star tips can make star-shaped rosettes. Basket tips are good for making latices.

Spread Frosting

Sometimes, you just want to have a smooth frosting on your cupcakes. In these instances, you can use a metal spatula to spread the frosting in one direction to create a smooth surface. You can use the tip of the spatula to make a peak or a swirl to finish off the cupcake.

Dipped Frosting

If you want a simple frosting method, you can choose to dip your cupcake in the frosting. This is perfect if you’re using ganache, powdered sugar icing, or glaze. Dip the cupcake in the frosting and allow it to set for a smooth, shiny coating.

Add Finishing Touches

Now that your cupcakes are frosted, it’s time to add the finishing touches! These are what complete the look of your cupcake and give it that professional feel.

You can choose from a wide variety of different finishing touches to add to your cupcakes. Here are a few of our favorites for giving our cupcakes that finished look.


Cupcake nonpareils are tiny, crunchy balls made out of sugar. They come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes and can be used to create elegant designs atop your cupcakes.

Decorating Sugars

Sanding sugars, or decorating sugars, look like sugar with larger grain. They’ve often been treated so that they have unique colors and an extra shine that gives your cupcakes a gorgeous look.

Edible Glitter & Food Spray

Another way that you can finish off your cupcakes is using edible food-color spray or glitter. These fun finishing touches can brighten up your cupcakes and make them pop.

Take Your Cupcake Frosting Skills to a Whole New Level

With these amazing frosting and piping tips for cupcakes, you’re ready to get started creating beautiful designs. Whether you’re baking cupcakes to celebrate a birthday or doing it just for fun, these cupcake frosting tips and tricks will allow you to create the perfect cupcake display. 

If you found this guide helpful, be sure to check out some of our other articles. We’ve got tons of amazing resources that you can use to help you improve your skills in many ways. 

%d bloggers like this: