Cupcake Frosting Techniques

Baking By sixbittersweets Updated 22 Apr 2012 , 6:30am by scp1127

sixbittersweets Posted 12 Feb 2011 , 8:59pm
post #1 of 14

Hi there! I'm new here and am an avid home baker and cook. I looked through quite a few pages of this forum, but didn't find a similar question. Basically I'd like to figure out how to pipe frosting on cupcakes to look like the 2 styles pictured below. My guess is that my previous failed attempts are more due to the frosting itself than to piping technique, but I defer to you all experts icon_smile.gif. Especially for cream cheese frosting which tends to get goopy, I'm wondering if adding meringue powder to stabilize the frosting might help? Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated!


1) Thin yet wide layers of frosting piled high, a style which is shown on often for cupcakes topped by a variety of frostings, including cream cheese as shown below. I realize a medium plain round tip is probably used for this, but the challenge to me is to have frosting firm enough to hold this shape but soft enough that it can be piped in such thin layers.


2) Fluffy somewhat blob-shaped frosting like on the cupcakes shown below. I believe a large plain round tip is used here, but my issue has been with the texture of the frosting, especially cream cheese frosting. My cream cheese frosting is either soft and goopy and doesn't hold such a shape or is so solid and dense that it pipes out in thick tubes.


13 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 12 Feb 2011 , 9:34pm
post #2 of 14

These were all piped with a large round pastry tip. You just have to practice!

Good luck!


sixbittersweets Posted 13 Feb 2011 , 1:36am
post #3 of 14

Thanks! Do you happen to know of any frostings that are soft and fluffy enough to pipe like this and still not overwhelmingly sweet?

FromScratchSF Posted 13 Feb 2011 , 1:40am
post #4 of 14

I make SMBC and pipe like this all the time. Check out pics on my profile. But that's all I make. Any buttercream should work for this.

simplysouthern Posted 13 Feb 2011 , 1:56am
post #5 of 14

I make my cream cheese frosting using a buttercream cream cheese recipe. I think mine came from a cake doctor recipe. Also I LOVE IMBC I think it is firm and smooth and it doesn't crust which is perfect for cupcakes (i hate eating a cupcake with crusting BC). A regular buttercream will work as well, usually BC is thick enough to sustain a large/wide swirl.

The look on the second lgroup of photos ooks to me like they actually used a hand spatula technique. There are tutorials on YouTube try searching for things like frosting a cupcake, swirl cupcakes. I remember seeing a few a while ago.

For the 1st set of pics: The PP said to use a large tip which does work but....You can also just use a piping bag with a coupler and no tip! That works great for the large swirl look. And heck I don't even use the coupler all the time, I like using just the piping bag and cutting the tip off to get the exact width of the swirl I want.

GL icon_smile.gif

FromScratchSF Posted 13 Feb 2011 , 2:07am
post #6 of 14
Originally Posted by simplysouthern

The look on the second lgroup of photos ooks to me like they actually used a hand spatula technique. There are tutorials on YouTube try searching for things like frosting a cupcake, swirl cupcakes. I remember seeing a few a while ago.

Actually, I recognize those cupcakes anywhere... they are from Georgetown Cupcakes (the show DC Cupcakes). They had a whole episode on their lame "signature swirl" (I say lame because that episode bugged the heck out of me it was so obnoxious). Anyway, it's done with a large round piping tip.

sixbittersweets Posted 13 Feb 2011 , 2:12am
post #7 of 14

Thanks a lot to both of you!

Jen, I actually just saw a clip of that episode! They are pretty obnoxious about it, though I must say I still want to figure it out. I really think one of my big problems is not using the right textured frosting. I haven't tried this technique with SMBC yet, but my other frostings are usually not firm enough probably because I hate really sweet frostings. I guess I can't get both ;p.

SimplySouthern, thanks for the tip about the coupler! I've also seen a similar style of frosting to the second group of photos made using a spatula like you mentioned, but it's not quite the same as this one. I'll definitely have to try IMBC. Only attempted SMBC so far icon_smile.gif.

Renaejrk Posted 15 Feb 2011 , 5:06am
post #8 of 14

If you don't like super sweet the FMBC is awesome! I have heard the same things about the other MBCs too - not as sweet but absolutely delicious! It has a great texture too and pipes really well.

sillywabbitz Posted 15 Feb 2011 , 6:04am
post #9 of 14

If you want something other than a meringue buttercream, I live Sugarshacks recipe. It's posted in the recipe section and it holds up great but doesnt get crunchy like some crusting buttercreams.

zespri Posted 10 Aug 2011 , 9:15am
post #10 of 14

I know this is an old thread, but in case it helps someone searching in the future, I just found these two videos demonstrating it:

Osgirl Posted 10 Aug 2011 , 12:40pm
post #11 of 14

You could also google "Georgetown Cupcake Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe" and it should come up. This is also a really good recipe:

**For the recipe on the link above, go easy on the heavy cream. I typically don't use heavy cream anymore because I don't want to buy a container for 1-2 TBSP. I ended up throwing it out when it expired. It didn't change the flavor in my opinion.

Yes. Georgetown uses a large round tip. Some suggest using just a coupler, but I've compared my large round tip to my coupler and the tip is bigger.

zespri Posted 10 Aug 2011 , 7:43pm
post #12 of 14

That's good to know about the tip Osgirl, I might have to just cut the end off a bag as I don't have any tips larger than a coupler.

I made my first batch of cream cheese frosting last night, and I used the recipe from the link you posted icon_smile.gif It's delicious! But not very firm, is cream cheese icing supposed to be quite soft? I didn't use any cream at all, as it was so sloppy. It's firmed up overnight in the fridge, but it's still a lot softer than the buttercream I'm used to. I am thinking of adding more icing sugar... good idea or not?

1luvleemommy Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 9:52am
post #13 of 14

I reccomend the Ateco 808 tip, I use it at work, I love it.

scp1127 Posted 22 Apr 2012 , 6:30am
post #14 of 14

Some of those high profile bakeries use a butter/ powdered sugar frosting with a very small butter to powdered sugar ratio. Then vanilla is added. I would never use it, but these big output companies can rightfully claim it as real buttercream. It's super sweet and not good in my opinion. But it also behaves well when piped. Likewise, only a small amount of cream cheese is added... not enough to soften the buttercream significantly.

If you don't use a tip, many times the coupler and all the time the bag, will have a seam and it will mar the finished product.

When I make those round tip swirls, I use an oversized tip.

If you look closely after you have some practice, you will see that these frostings have actually relaxed and flattened out.

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