Upgrade dessert time with these clever finishes.

By Riley Wofford
May 01, 2020
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Cupcake Toppings
Credit: Kirsten Francis

Of course you'll whip up cupcakes for an upcoming birthday celebration or as a way to bring a smile to a friend's face. And you'll swirl them to the nines without breaking a sweat, thanks to these quick, inspiring frostings. Each recipe features a beloved flavor combo (plus confectioners' sugar for sweetness) and makes enough to top a dozen. No mixer necessary—just stir together with a rubber spatula and spread them on thick. All of these variations can be served immediately or stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Find out how to make them below.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Sea Salt

Try this super-simple, two-ingredient substitute for chocolate frosting. Vigorously stir together 3/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella, and 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar until smooth. Spread onto our Devil's Food Cupcakes, then sprinkle with flaky sea salt. The contrast of the sweet topping and salty crunch is to die for.

Mascarpone-Vanilla Bean

Feeling uninspired by cream cheese frosting? Try this lighter, creamier alternative, which uses Italian mascarpone cheese as the base. All you need to do is stir together one cup of mascarpone cheese, 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, and one teaspoon of pure vanilla paste or extract until smooth. It's delicious atop our classic Vanilla Cupcakes or Red Velvet Cupcakes (or let's face it—eaten directly on a spoon).

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Turn your little one's favorite schoolyard bite—a PB & J sandwich—into a sweet surprise for dessert. To make the topping, vigorously stir together one cup creamy peanut butter and 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar. Spread onto your favorite flavor of cupcakes and top each with one teaspoon of whisked strawberry jam or grape jelly. It's sure to earn high marks all around.

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