How to Frost Cupcakes Like a Pro

by Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 28, 2017

Frost cupcakes with a decorator bag for a professional look.

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Frosting cupcakes like a professional pastry chef or bakery is not as difficult as you might think. The key to a gourmet-looking cupcake is an even application of frosting with a piping bag. This places a smooth and thick layer of frosting that tempts your taste buds. Practice the frosting application on a piece of wax paper before tackling the cupcakes to get the desired appearance for your miniature masterpieces.

Prepare your favorite butter cream or cream cheese frosting. Add a small amount of liquid if the frosting is not smooth, fluffy or holds a peak when you dip a spoon in and pull it out.

Assemble a cake-decorating bag with a 1/2-inch round tip, or use large zipper bag. Fill the decorating bag with a small amount of frosting and test the thickness by piping a small amount on a piece of wax paper. Clip 1/2 inch off the corner of the plastic bag to pip the frosting.

Adjust the thickness by adding powdered sugar or liquid and fill the decorating bag half-full with frosting.

Line the cupcakes on a counter for easy access when frosting.

Pipe the frosting onto the top of the cupcake to create a swirl. Start on the edge, piping approximately three times around the cupcake to end in the middle. Pull up on the decorating bag to make a center peak. The finished cupcake has the appearance of a small soft-serve ice cream cone.

Sprinkle course decorating sugar, crushed candy pieces or citrus zest to decorate the frosting and add an accent flavor.

Store any uneaten cupcakes in a cool area for up to two days.


  • Add 1/2 tsp. of lemon or almond extract to the frosting when mixing if you want to add a rich flavor.

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About the Author

Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.