Tutorial: Easy, Elegant and Professional Cupcake Decorating

It is very trendy right now to serve cupcakes instead of a full sized cake.  There are entire blogs, books and even bakeries dedicated to cupcake design. Some brides are even opting for wedding cupcakes instead of a cake.

One of my new favorite frugal tools is my Wilton Cupcake Decorating kit (no-they are not sponsoring me, paying me, an affiliates or anything else. . .I just like it).  Using this kit I can easily make a very professional and elegant looking cupcake.  I bought the kit, which includes 3 tips, a special “cupcake filling” tip & some bags for about $9 – and in just one birthday party it will save me more than that compared to store bought cupcakes.

Just look at the cupcakes I made for Princess’s birthday party this year:

Professional looking homemade cupcakes

Don't these look professional?

Pretty impressive right?  And very, very easy to do with my decorating kit.  So what is so fabulous about this kit?  The tips!  As a matter of fact I could have saved myself some money if I had just bought the 1M frosting tip and the round 12 frosting tips by themselves at about $1.50 each.

All you need to do is start with some inexpensive box mix cupcakes, a batch of my frugal homemade icing recipe and your 1M tip in an icing bag.

1M Frosting Piping Tip

The fabulous 1M piping tip all ready to go

Preparing to ice cupcakes

My homemade cupcakes start out looking a tad bit homely.

It doesn’t start out looking like much does it?  Don’t worry-I’m not going to let you down.  All you have to do is pick up the cupcake and start icing in a swirl from the outside edge in.

Starting to Frost with a 1M tip

You just start piping on the swirl with the 1M tip on the outside of the cupcake. . .

It is much easier to hold the cupcake up at a tiny bit of an angle and then swirl the bag around as you go.

Frosting the cupcakes

Continuing to frost aroud & around

When you get to the center you just do a “push down & then lift” sort of movement to give yourself that cute little peak.

Don't these look gorgeous? Who will know they aren't from the bakery?!

Alternately you can use the 12 round tip with the same technique for a smooth swirl:

Photo by Little Miss Cupcake Paris

Think of all the money you could save over the years bringing your own cupcakes to parties, events, potlucks and bake sales!

I also used the 1M tip to pipe a quick star onto some “mini muffin” sized cupcakes I had made for us to snack on at home.

Aren't these cute?

And that isn’t all you can do with this tip.  Use it to make beautiful twice baked potatoes, or to pipe soft cheese or spreads onto crackers to make an elegant looking hors devours for parties.

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  1. Denise says

    Thanks!! I’ve seen the swirly topping and thought, I should be able to do that, but I appreciate you laying out the tip numbers for me, and all the little things… like starting from the outside. (That should be blindingly obvious, but it wasn’t!)

  2. says

    What a great idea. I have the tips already, although really have never used them. My daughter has a birthday party coming up soon and already requested cupcakes. This will make them awesome! Thanks!

  3. says

    I agree with Denise, I’ve always wondered how people made their cupcakes look so nice. I now know which tips to grab next time I’m at the craft store.

  4. anonymous says

    Just thought I’d let you know, I really like the new design of the page. The money tree is especially nice — do you know if it will grow in zone 8a 😉

  5. says

    Wedding cupcakes are really popular as you said and they can even be used as a wedding party favor. They are also really popular with the kids at weddings too.

    • Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says

      Melody-you are so right-there is just something about cupcakes that folks like-and they would make a fantastic (and frugal-if somewhat labor intensive) wedding favor.

  6. Apres Ski says

    He’s absolutely right about the tips! I’m soooooooooooooooooo mad because my cupcakes suffered. This year, I’m dressing up my cupcakes & they’re going to look smart & sharp! ROTFLOL!! I just purchased the 1M tip from JoAnn’s Fabric & Craft. I can’t wait to get busy with that tip & start learning what else it can do.

    And now that I’ve learned some information, I was looking at the cakes & cupcakes in the grocery store & vowed NEVER to have to buy one of those ever, EVER again!!! LOL!!


  1. […] When I tasted it though, it had a grape flavor, and when the little specks of crystals dissolved on your tongue you got sort of a “sweet-tart” effect. I figured what the heck, threw some food coloring in to make more of a purple effect and piped it on to the cupcakes in an easy swirl with my 1M icing tip. […]

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