Learn to prepare your piping bag, the easiest way to fill your bag, and how to frost cupcakes like a pro with this easy tutorial!
I’ll never forget the first time I decided to try and pipe frosting on cupcakes. I had been baking for a while and felt pretty comfortable in the kitchen, so I decided to bake a batch of cupcakes to take to work. I went to the store and picked up some piping bags, an inexpensive tip, and went home to start baking.
I prepped my piping bag, filled it with some frosting, and started to decorate my cupcakes. It was in that moment that I realized decorating cupcakes isn’t the easiest thing to do when you don’t really know what you’re doing. I’ll be honest too, they didn’t look very pretty.
After that experience, I experimented and tested different ways to pipe frosting until I found the best way to decorate cupcakes. The techniques that I’m sharing today are incredibly easy and they always turns out perfect! No more lopsided or awkward looking frosting, just a perfect swirl of beautiful buttercream on top of your cupcakes.
Want to learn the tricks? I’ve put together an easy to follow tutorial for how to pipe a beautiful tall bakery style swirl (pictured above) and a rose on your cupcakes. I chose these because they’re easy, they use the same piping tip, and it’s two of my favorite ways to decorate cupcakes!
So, let’s get started!
How To Prepare Your Piping Bag
So first things first, you want to prep your piping bag. You can either use a reusable piping bag or disposable piping bags, both work great! I prefer to use disposable piping bags, but feel free to use whichever you prefer.
Secondly, you’ll need a piping tip. A few of my favorite tips are the Wilton 1M, Wilton 2D, and the Wilton 2A (round piping tip). You can usually find these tips at places like Walmart or Michaels for $1-$2 each. I really love the Wilton 1M tip, which is what I’m using in this tutorial.
You’ll cut the end of your bag off and insert the tip down into the bag as pictured above.
Then, you want to fill the bag with your frosting. I prefer to make my own buttercream frosting because I think store-bought frosting is way too sweet and honestly, it doesn’t taste very good. Here’s my full tutorial for how to make your own buttercream frosting.
I’ve found that the easiest way to fill a piping bag is to place the bag in a large cup and fold the edges of the bag over the sides of the cup. Then, fill the bag with your frosting and lift it out of the cup. At this point would want to squeeze the frosting down to the bottom of the bag and then either twist the top of the bag or use a tie to prevent it from coming out of the top when you squeeze it.
How To Pipe A Swirl
Before we get started on this part, here’s the most important thing to remember when you’re piping frosting: apply even pressure the whole time.
Okay here’s my little trick to getting the perfect swirl, start by piping a large dot in the center of your cupcake. You’ll use that dot as a starting point and it also helps make sure your frosting stays perfectly centered. Once you’ve made the dot, stop squeezing the bag, and move your bag to a spot outside of the dot. I like to start at the 3 o’clock position (I’m facing the other way in this picture), but try different spots and see where you feel most comfortable.
Then, start squeezing the bag again and pipe a large circle around the dot.
Once you’ve piped the larger circle, start making smaller circles on top of each other until you reach the top. Once you’re at the top, release pressure, very gently press down a little (so the last bit of frosting stays put), and lift the bag away.
Easy, right? This method works perfect with any kind of tip. Here’s what the finished product will look like, this picture is actually with the Wilton 2D tip.
Now, let’s move on to how to pipe a rose on your cupcake.
How To Pipe A Rose
This method is actually super easy, in fact, I think it’s easier than the swirl we just did! I used my Wilton 1M tip for this as well.
You’ll start out by using the same method, piping a dot in the center of your cupcake. However, you won’t stop squeezing the bag, you’ll just continue piping circles around that dot until you’ve covered the top of the cupcake.
Once you get to the edge and can’t pipe any more frosting, release pressure from the bag, and lift it away.
Even easier, right?
Here’s a better picture of what the finished product will look like once you’re done. You can also add some food coloring to the frosting and create different colors as well.
Practice Makes Perfect
It sounds a little cliche, but practice makes perfect when it comes to decorating cupcakes. I suggest using a piece of parchment paper or even a plate to practice on before you actually frost your cupcakes. Once you feel like you’ve got it down, scoop the frosting off the parchment paper or plate right back into your bag, and get started!
Here’s a few of my favorite cupcake recipes for you to try out:
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Vanilla Cupcakes
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Carrot Cupcakes (scroll to the bottom for directions)
- Pumpkin Cupcakes
Again, here’s my full tutorial for how to make your own buttercream frosting. There’s also directions in the post for how to make vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, or caramel frosting. Here’s a few others to try as well:
Hopefully this post will help you to feel a little more confident when it comes to decorating cupcakes. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments! Trust me when I say that if I can learn how to frost cupcakes, you can too.