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.