Cupcakes With Minimal Icing?

Baking By mama_twinkie Updated 10 May 2010 , 7:04pm by JohnnyCakes1966

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mama_twinkie Posted 10 May 2010 , 6:29am
post #1 of 12

Okay, so now that I've semi-recovered from my first failure at cupcakes, I'm ready to start thinking about how to improve my cupcake experience.

One problem I have is that the icing "swirl" on top seems to put too much icing for a cupcake. I'm sure "too much" is very subjective, but I'd love to get some suggestions on how to get a small amount of icing (equal to maybe a light smear across the top) on the cupcake, but still make it look good.

I can't see putting like a mini flower dollop on top of a whole cupcake (although, something like a drop flower might work for a mini, I guess), but piped flowers (roses, hydrangeas, etc) would seem like more than what I would want. And I'm definitely not ready to go the fondant/gumpaste route yet.

I've browsed through the cupcake gallery, and while there are some GORGEOUS cupcakes on there, it seems like the minimum amount of icing for non-fondant is at least the swirl.

Am I being insane, or is this possible?

11 replies
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leah_s Posted 10 May 2010 , 7:12am
post #2 of 12

Anything's possible, but the icing is the best part.

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revel Posted 10 May 2010 , 7:33am
post #3 of 12

lol..i agree with leah! But what about a glaze instead of the frosting?

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QueenMo Posted 10 May 2010 , 8:27am
post #4 of 12

i once made a batch of cupcakes where i just lightly spread the icing on top and piped some cherry blossom branches...not too much frosting but they were really elegant for a wedding shower. hmm, i wish i had taken pictures!

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jennywenny Posted 10 May 2010 , 1:57pm
post #5 of 12

I've been experimenting with using a wilton 125 tip, thats less frosting. Although I find it an awful lot of frosting, most people that I make cakes for agree that they like a generous swirl of frosting!

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denetteb Posted 10 May 2010 , 2:11pm
post #6 of 12

Which tip did you use for your swirl? I think the 2D looks nicer and uses less frosting than the more commonly used 1M. The tip is more closed so less frosting comes out for about the same look, but more delicate.

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mama_twinkie Posted 10 May 2010 , 3:17pm
post #7 of 12

Well, I've only done a few cakes/cupcakes for family and close friends. I guess they all just don't have much of a sweet tooth. icon_smile.gif They all agree that frosting is good...they just think that a little less might be a better balance. Maybe I should just work on making the frosting less sweet?

QueenMo, your idea sounds like a good place to start! I had less frosting than the cupcakes in jennywenny's picture, and they still thought it was too much.

Maybe I'm making the swirl wrong? I used the 2D tip and started from the outside of the cupcake (leaving a bit of the cupcake still showing). I piped all the way to the middle and then made a second layer of a smaller swirl on top and finished with a little bitty swirl on top of that. Is there any way to maybe make the middle part "empty" and just "stack" the swirls? Or is that how it's supposed to done, and I'm just swirling wrong?

Sorry for the long reply and additional questions. I'm really at a loss here.

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luvbuttercream Posted 10 May 2010 , 3:34pm
post #8 of 12

For one maybe use Swiss meringue butter-cream it is all i use on my cupcakes and it is A LOT less sweet than American Butter-cream and in my opinion 100 times better. I have a few family members that have no sweet tooth and they LOVE this frosting. Also if you wish to check out my pics I have done both tall and not so tall swirls using either the 1M tip or the 1B tip. Also check out the following links as well:[email protected]/[email protected]/

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luvbuttercream Posted 10 May 2010 , 3:39pm
post #9 of 12

This is the link to the Swiss Meringue Butter-cream recipe I ALWAYS use!! AMAZING!!!!!

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carmijok Posted 10 May 2010 , 3:41pm
post #10 of 12

I've always found that a cream cheese frosting is less sweet, and it's so yummy you just can't have too much! But then that's why I like cupcakes...the frosting. However, one time I did buy a cupcake that had a tower of dark chocolate looked SO GOOD...until I tasted it. The frosting was not that great and I ended up scraping most of it off. But then the cake sucked too, so it was a bust all around! Looks can be deceiving!
You might try a lighter whipped icing too. That way you could still have volume but the frosting would be lighter. icon_smile.gif

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denetteb Posted 10 May 2010 , 6:16pm
post #11 of 12

I never do three stacked swirls like you did, I just do one swirl right on the cupcake. Depending on the look you want, you can start from the outside and swirl in towards t he center, or start from the center and swirl out (this makes it look kind of rose-like). If you look at cupcakeology photos on CC she shows a beautiful swirl, but it is just one swirl, not 3 stacked like you did. I can see why people thought that would be too much frosting. there really isn't a right and wrong way, it just depends on the look you want.

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JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 10 May 2010 , 7:04pm
post #12 of 12

I sometimes use the Wilton 150 tip (or similar) for customers who don't want a big fluffy star or round swirl. It's a flat tip so it creates a flat swirl (think of a snail). The frosting essentially lies flat on the cupcake rather than mounded on, so you get full coverage but much less frosting. I wish I had a picture to show you, but I'll try to explain how I do it...

I put the cupcake on a turntable (you want to spin the cupcake rather than moving the piping bag in a circle around it), slowly spin the cupcake, and start piping on the outer edge. As you come around, overlap the starting point and then move the bag toward the center and keep doing this until the top is covered...creating a "snail" look. I'm making it sound difficult icon_rolleyes.gif but it really isn't once you get the hang of it. Doing this, you get a "flat" layer of frosting on the cupcake, but it looks much nicer than smearing it on with a spatula. You can also slightly move the piping bag in a back-and-forth motion to create a ruffled ribbon look, but that does add more frosting.

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