You can make beautifully decorated cupcakes without decorating supplies and ice cupcakes without a piping bag or icing tips with these easy tips and tricks literally anyone can do.
These tips will work whether you use homemade from scratch or canned frosting and even if you’ve never decorated a cupcake in your life.
Cupcakes are always a crowd-pleaser, but trying to frost cupcakes where they actually look really pretty, especially using a piping bag and tips, can be daunting for beginners or for those who don’t own piping bags or icing tips.
Well, you don’t need any tools, no fancy equipment, or even any special skills to make beautiful and professional-looking cupcakes.
With just a few simple techniques, tips and some creativity, you can create stunning cupcakes, the easy way, at home, that will end up impressing everyone.
How to use a knife or spoon to add icing to cupcakes:
This is probably the easiest way to frost a cupcake. It’s a super easy method and one that you’ve probably already done, but I think the nice thing about this method is that it’s quick and you can do some fun designs and swirls on the cupcake.
Take the frosting and just spoon it onto the cupcake. You can use a knife as well, but I’ve found that it looks better if you use a spoon.
Once the icing is plopped onto the cupcake, just use the spoon or knife to push it around to the sides, then make a nice swirl on top.
How to use a ziplock sandwich bag or a freezer bag to pipe onto cupcakes:
You can use a ziplock sandwich bag or a freezer bag to make a makeshift piping bag. You don’t even need an icing tip to do this either.
You can pipe all kinds of designs using ziplock bags though and it’s fun to play around with.
Grab a freezer or ziplock bag. Ideally, freezer bags are bigger and tougher, but sometimes (as you can see in the video below) they have pleats or little gussets on the bottom and you can’t really control how you pipe with bags like that.
Just make sure that the bag you are using isn’t too thin. If it’s a little thin, don’t fill it too full with icing and make sure that the icing isn’t super thick in consistency or it could burst the bag.
Add frosting to the bag, but make sure not to fill it all the way full. (See the video toward the bottom of this post to see what I mean.)
Once the frosting has been added, push it towards one of the bottom corners of the zip lock bag and then twist the top. (Again, the video below will show how to do this.)
Now use scissors and snip off the corner of the bag. If your frosting just starts flowing out of the bag, then it’s way too thin.
Tip: Depending on how much of the corner you cut off, you can pipe larger or smaller designs, so play around with that.
Pipe designs or swirls onto your cupcakes.
Tip: If you keep the seam of the bag on the top, it gives it a piping tip look.
Zig zag pattern:
This is a pattern I like to make because it’s easy to pipe and fun to make either large zig zags or smaller ones.
You can pipe several different types of swirls depending on the direction and whether you start the swirl in the center of the cupcake or on the outer edge.
You can also change how it looks by snipping off more of the bag corner or less.
How to dip cupcakes into frosting to glaze them:
This last option makes for a really pretty presentation. You can make your icing any color you like and I think chocolate frosting with sprinkles would be really nice using this method.
Take your frosting (even canned frosting works for this) and heat it in the microwave until it’s thinner. You don’t want to heat it long, just enough that it can be stirred.
Make sure that you mix it well and that it’s smooth and isn’t too hot or it will just run off the cupcake.
Take the cupcake and plop it upside down into the frosting and just twist it around, then pull it straight up, let it drip for a second, and then turn it quickly back over. (Don’t forget, you can see how this is done in the video below.)
At this point, you can add sprinkles if you like, but you really want to set these in the fridge for just a minute or two to let that glaze set so it doesn’t drip off.
I hope these ideas are helpful and I hope they give you confidence that you can make beautiful cupcakes even if you’re not a decorator and don’t really have the time to practice or the desire to buy more tools.
As a person who has lots of cake decorating tools in my home, I still use these methods when I don’t feel like dragging out all my cake supplies, but I still want pretty cupcakes.
Have fun and be creative with these ideas. I love adding sprinkles to cupcakes too, so don’t forget about those!