With all my pictures taken over the last many months, undoubtedly my little secret is out now: frosting is not my forté. The awful thing is that I love the kinds of tricks people can do with piping, but I’m just not one of them. Here are some more pictures as proof below. It’s my fault entirely; I haven’t put in any serious effort in trying to learn the technique how to simply frost a cupcake. If it were up to me I’d dunk my cupcake in the frosting like a dip and gobble it up.
But I think I’ll learn now.
So I asked my dear friend, Jen, from The Three Little Piglets (yes, she’s just as cute as that name sounds) to come over and teach us all a trick or two. She learnt from her baking instructor and as you can see has managed to master the art of piping. Jen has detailed everything you need to know about piping and made it look as easy as apple pie for folks like me.
Take it away, Jen.
When Anuradha asked if I would write a tutorial on how to frost cupcakes, I thought WHOA! She clearly did not read this post.
My baking instructor can attest to my awesome lack of patience when it comes to piping! Thankfully he had more patience than I did, and I have come a long way since that first day in class. See…
Want to know how to make super cute cupcakes that look like they came from your favorite bakery? It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Here’s what you need to get started.
You’ll need at least one pastry bag for your piping. They’re available in a variety of sizes, ranging from very small to large professional sizes. For home use, I find 12”-16” work best. For beginners I recommend 16” – they’re large enough to not overflow but small enough to still hold easily. You can buy either reusable or disposable bags.
Reusable bags are just that, reusable. They’re very inexpensive and are available at most craft stores and even at your local Wal-Mart. They are a great investment if you plant to do a lot of piping. The only drawback is how you load the tip into them – it’s very difficult to change tips midway through your project. Well, that and you have to clean them when you’re finished.
Disposable bags are also very inexpensive and easy to find. Like I said above, it’s easy to change the tips, you throw them away when you are finished, and they’re great for larger projects when you might need 10 colors of frosting.
You’ll also need piping tips. Tips are available in a huge range of shapes and sizes, each with a specific purpose. They can be purchased individually or in a variety of sets depending on your needs.
Unless you plan on doing a lot of cake work, you can easily get away with a small kit like this Wilton Cupcake 12 Piece Cupcake Decorating Kit which comes with everything you need to get started and retails for about $7.00.
These little plastic pieces help attach the tip to the end of the pastry bag. It allows you to change the tip midway through the project to create different designs. Most sets come with a couple, but if not they can also be purchased individually.
TO ASSEMBLE THE BAG AND TIP:
For disposable bags:
- Pick the desired tip you’d like to use and grab a coupler.
- Fit the bottom piece of the coupler down into the bag. Snip off the end of the bag so that the coupler fits snuggly into the tip of the bag.
- Place the tip on the outside of the bag over the bottom piece of the coupler.
- Attach the ring tightly enough to keep the tip in place.
For reusable bags: Simply drop the desired tip point first into the bag and ensure the tip is fitted snugly into the end of the bag.
TO FILL THE PASTRY BAG:
The easiest way to fill the bag with frosting is to place the pastry bag into a tall glass with the tip pointed down and then fold the edges of the bag over the top of the glass. Then just fill the bag with frosting.
Once finished, you’ll have a small air bubble in the tip of the pastry bag. To make sure the frosting comes out in a nice steady stream, gently squeeze the frosting towards the tip making sure that the frosting goes towards the tip and not towards the opening at the top.
Finally, twist the top of the bag so the frosting doesn’t ooze out the top while piping. Been there, done that. So. Not. Cool.
To prevent frosting from drying out while working in large batches, place a damp paper towel directly on top of the frosting when not in use.
Ever wonder how people make their cupcakes look so pretty in photos? It’s simply by using double liners. Bake the cupcake in one liner, and then before frosting slip them inside another liner. You can see what a huge difference it makes.
You can use complementary or contrasting colors to enhance the look of the cupcake.
Start with your tip pointed into the center of the cupcake, and holding it at a 45 degree angle, pipe in a counter-clockwise spiral towards the outside of the cupcake until you have a flat circle of frosting on the cupcake using a constant amount of pressure.
Without stopping, continue in the same direction creating a spiral that ends in the center where you began.
The frosting will continue to come out of the bag so long as you maintain pressure squeezing it, so try to maintain a steady pressure until a few seconds before you reach the center. Once you reach your stopping point simply pull your tip straight up and it will create a nice little point at the top.
Try to keep the edges even so that when you look straight down on the cupcake you’ll see a thin circle around the edge of the cupcake.
Thank you, Jen for this fantastic tutorial. All I want to do now is run and start piping on anything that comes my way.