15 Easy Cupcake Decorating Ideas
A frosted cupcake is welcome at any occasion, but if you really want to garner all the ooos and ahs, upgrade your next batch by employing a few of our easy decorating tips. Even the simplest decorations, like a stack of marshmallows, as seen here in our super cute marshmallow snowmen cupcakes, have the power to transform an ordinary cupcake into something really special. The cupcake decorating ideas ahead are all just as easy, unique, and inspiring. Whether you're a first-time cupcake decorator or you've been baking mini treats by the dozen for years, it's important to remember that a thick swirl of icing—however delicious that may be—is far from your only finishing option. Here, we're sharing some striking cupcake decorating ideas that are as fun to make as they are to eat. And if the sense of accomplishment you feel when you finish a batch isn't enough, just wait for the reactions you'll get when family and friends see your creations.
Instagram-worthy cupcakes don't necessarily require master baking skills. Most of our easy cupcake decorating ideas require little more than your average kitchen utensils. The simplest option of all is to dye glazes and buttercream a beautiful array of ombré colors, then frost each cupcake using a different hue. Even easier? Flip cupcake presentation upside down by frosting an entire batch all at once like a sheet cake to create an interactive pull-apart treat.
More intricate designs require a few more tools. The secret to many of these decorated treats is a pastry bag or two and some basic decorating tips. They don't cost much, and they can be used over and over again to create beautiful finishes. Dollop frosting and jam in a pastry bag and then pipe a swirly top on blueberry cupcakes. Outfit a pastry bag with a versatile leaf tip to create two very different floral designs: a beautiful pink rose and bright yellow sunflower. You can also turn store-bought sweets into bright-eyed owls or mint-chocolate flavored football fields; both are perfect for kid's events.
Browse our easy cupcake decorating ideas that take your mini desserts to the next level in both appearance and flavor.
Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Multicolored Frosting
A stunning presentation doesn't always require fancy tools. Just dye traditional buttercream in an array of ombré-hued colors, frost the cupcakes with a spatula or knife, and arrange them into a pretty pattern. The result is eye-catching, but the process couldn't be simpler.
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
Each of these delightful strawberry shortcake cupcake comes with a sweet surprise inside: a homemade strawberry filling. Remove the centers of the cupcakes with a melon baller or teaspoon and spoon the filling in. Top with whipped cream and a strawberry slice for a sweet finish.
Candy Flower Cupcakes
No piping required to create these flower cupcakes; just cut up gummy candies and adhere them to the frosted cupcakes to create a bouquet of cupcakes. Watch our tutorial for ideas, then innovate with your favorite gummies.
Chocolate Heart Cupcakes
Create two versions of these precious Valentine's Day cupcakes with one decorating technique. Use a heart shaped cutter to stamp out chocolate hearts from half the cupcakes and fill the space with frosting for white hearts. You can frost the other half of the cupcakes and top with the stamped-out chocolate cake hearts.
Piped Rose Cupcakes
Break out your pastry bag to dress up ordinary vanilla cupcakes with a buttercream rose. Use a leaf pastry tip to spiral roses on top for a fun and easy floral-inspired design.
Pull-Apart Vanilla-Wafer Cupcake Cake with Berries
As easy as frosting a sheet cake, but way more impressive! Everyone will love the novelty of these pull-apart cupcakes. Rather than frosting each cupcake individually, arrange them in a three cupcakes-wide by four cupcakes-long rectangle and smooth buttercream over the top of all of them at once.
Martha's Sunflower Cupcakes
Use a piping bag and small leaf pastry tip to pipe buttercream into a sunny circle of petals for these sunflower cupcakes. Fill in the centers with candy-coated sunflower seeds. For another sunflower presentation using a different technique, take a look at this large sunflower made of mini cupcakes.
Fill a piping bag with cream cheese frosting and blueberry jam, then let the bag do the work of swirling the two colors together to create this pretty marbled effect.
German Chocolate Cupcakes
Sometimes two layers of frosting is better than one! Transform cupcakes into mini layer cakes by cutting them crosswise into two pieces. Reassemble the sliced cupcake spreading the sticky coconut-pecan frosting in between the layers and on top.
Spiced Cupcakes with Citrus Glaze
Decorating a stunning cupcake is as easy dipping the tops in this spiced cupcake recipe. Mix a striking color palette of red, orange, and pink citrus glazes, then dip each cupcake in a different color and let it set.
These adorable owl cupcakes are a great decorating activity to do with kids. Have them twist open Oreos and top the insides with two M&Ms to create giant owl eyes. Then use thinly sliced almonds to create a tuff of feathers—giving each owl its own character.
Coconut Nest Cupcakes
Perfect for Easter and spring celebrations, pile toasted coconut atop buttercream frosting to create a nest, then fill the nests with pastel chocolate eggs.
For a tasty kick off to football season or perhaps a sports-themed birthday, decorate a batch of these chocolate-mint cupcakes. Sprinkle the tops of frosted cupcakes with green sanding sugar to create an astro turf field. Trim Andes mints into a "football" shape and then use white sprinkles for the thread.