How to Frost Cupcakes

Today’s video tip is for all of you who want beautifully decorated cupcakes like you get from fancy bakeries without, you know, going to a fancy bakery to get one.

Make a cupcake. Whip up some frosting. Watch this quick, 2 1/2 minute video. And then go pipe some swirls on top! It’s easy and you’ll feel like a rock star when your cupcakes look good enough to sell. But don’t sell them. Keep them and wow your family and friends with your newfound skills.

The frosting I’m using in the tutorial is this Quick Vanilla Buttercream but I’ve also piped cupcakes with my favorite Magical Frosting and the chocolate frosting from Friday’s post. The key is to use a frosting that can hold it’s shape (and that tastes good, too). While I do mention what tip I use during the video (Wilton 1M), I don’t mention that I usually use these 12″ or 16″ piping bags and never bother with a coupler – just snip off the point of the bag and slide the tip right in.

Any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section of this post.

A quick little note: Keep in mind that these video tips are simply a way to help you conquer life in the kitchen – from one friend to another. I do not have a fancy studio (nor do the other guest video tippers). I do not clean off my counters (or shut cabinet doors) for you. I do not aspire to be on television. I do not set up extra lighting and cameras. It’s just me and my video camera – giving you one little tip at a time and trying to get the shooting done in one short nap time (not mine, little Cam’s). Think of it like we are hanging out at my house. It’s pretty down to earth and casual. If you need studio and lights and makeup and a real, live wardrobe…um, I’m probably not your girl. Peace out.

Remember all of the video tips can be seen on the main Video Tips page as well as on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe You Tube channel.

36 Responses to Video Tip: How to Frost Cupcakes {Bakery Style!}

  1. Sheila says:

    Your yellow cupcakes and whipped chocolate buttercream frosting I made this weekend (icing piped wonderfully) sure didn’t look like these when they were completed. It’s probably because I do not have a Wilton 1 tip. :-) Continue to keep it real, Mel. That is what we love about you. Our visits with you through cyberspace is the same as if I were a close friend stopping by to enjoy a cup of coffee and some precious time with a friend. Friends do not need to impress each other (although you do impress powerfully and I won’t hold that against you) or have immaculate homes at any time. If you are unable to be a friend that encourages, supports, gives back positively in thankfulness, and are lovingly appreciative, then please be kind enough to not stop by homes or blogs. Thanks for this skillfully done video! I’ll keep trying. :-)

  2. Kirsten G. says:

    Hanks for the tip! Usuually when I frost cupcakes, I just grab my small flat spatula and slop some frosting on.

    I love your videos! Real life is so much better than those how-to videos you see on the Food Network.

  3. Kirsten G. says:

    Haha. My comment should say, Thanks for the tip!

  4. Annette M. says:

    You make that look so easy! I vow to myself right now that the next time I make cupcakes I will try both of these techniques instead of being lazy and slapping on the frosting with a knife. You are the one and only person I trust completely with recipes and so I will trust you when you say that it isn’t that hard. Thanks for all of your blog posts.

  5. bluebaker says:

    Hi Mel- I plan on using the vanilla cupcakes for Easter this year, they look great. Maybe just a pretty swirl, and some pastel sprinkles.

  6. Kim in MD says:

    Love your video tips, Mel! I know you are loving your beautiful kitchen!

  7. Erin says:

    Oh my gosh, I haven’t even watched the video yet and I’m excited. I’ve tried piping my frosting, but it never looks good. I can’t wait to watch this! Thank you!!

  8. Catherine says:

    Mel, we love you precisely because you are for real! People who feel the need to criticize you for not being whatever it is they want you to be are not worth your time. Thank you for sharing so much more than recipes with all of us! I know I am not alone in wishing we were actually real-world friends, and I’m jealous of everyone who lives in your real world!

  9. Holly says:

    I love all of your video tips. The clip on the end of the piping bag….pure Mel genius! Thanks for all of your hard work.

  10. Jennifer says:

    Very helpful! Thank you so much! And I love your realness, you rock!

  11. Paula says:

    I learned how to do these two types of frosting for cupcakes a couple of years ago. I am now known as the cupcake lady at church and school. If only they knew how easy it is! Thank you for your detailed instructions. I may have to share the next time I’m asked how I did it.

  12. Teryl says:

    Wonderful video tips! I knew how to make the frosted dome but not the rose.
    Thanks so much. And BTW, you are genuinely cute, both inside and out!
    Please continue to post your fantastic recipes and videos.

  13. Laurie Nielson says:

    Hey Mel , what is the little clippey thing you had on the end of your bag. After all these years I’ve never used one. Man that would have saved some major mess with kids, grandkids, scouts, achievement day girls etc …. You get the idea.

    • Mel says:

      Hey Aunt Laurie – I agree, the clips are revolutionary. I get the bags of them at IKEA – they are like these ones (although the ones at IKEA are quite a bit cheaper in price). I’m going to IKEA next week so if you aren’t going to be in SLC anytime soon, I’ll mail you a bag of them. Just let me know!

  14. Michelle says:

    Mel, your blog and your video tips are perfect. I don’t have any interest in watching someone I don’t trust show me how to do something I’ll never be able to pull off. You are tried and true and make me believe I can do it too! Thanks for everything you do to inspire and motivate me to cook for my family. Love from Oregon!

  15. Jane T says:

    I hope you weren’t implying that people were being critical of your video. Get real people! I love your blog and don’t know you in person but your videos show you to be the most down to earth, family centered, real life mom on the planet. You didn’t win the Homie for best family friendly food blog for nothing :)
    I am going to buy that tip ASAP, I could never get the roses with the one I have.

  16. [email protected] says:

    I have loved all of your new entries, Mel. The videos are great for a visual learner. I have learned something in this age of everyone having an opinion and making sure we all know what it is. I press delete just as soon as someone writes some negative, nonproductive, and totally stupid “advice”. I suggest you try that approach as well. As my husband used to say, you can’t please all the people all the time.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks everyone for your kind words! I wasn’t meaning to imply that I’ve received hate mail over the videos – they have been widely well-received but there have been a fair amount of people who feel they could be more professional and I just wanted to give a quick FYI that I’m not planning to change my motives/method anytime in the future. Love all your guts!

  17. Julie D says:

    Any tips for filling the bag with icing?! Silly question but I always make a huge mess!!

  18. Jana says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned you haven’t received hate mail… I (along with the whole “We love Mel” gang, I am sure) was ready to beat someone up. I think of myself as generally kind in nature, but when lines are crossed I’m ready to throw someone down and not feed them any of your bourbon chicken. Poor souls. They don’t know what they have coming if they mess with you. I feel extremely passionate about this. And your bourbon chicken. I think I always bring it up. Anyway, before I step over the line of “crazy” too much more, I’m going to get back to work. :) Thank you for your videos, your talents, your recipes, and for generally making me laugh. You rock.

  19. Nicole Hunn says:

    So it sounds like the question of whether or not you’ve actually received “hate mail” depends heavily upon how that term is defined, Mel! I can’t help myself, though. I must join the “we-love-Mel” chorus. Suck it, haters! :-*

  20. A girl says:

    Love it Mel! But one question – how do you know when your frosting is the right consistency to pipe? Mine is always trial and error and more errors until I seem to get something close!

    • Mel says:

      A girl – Good question. It’s honestly just practice, I guess. If I can get a spatula with a dollop of frosting on it and the frosting isn’t sliding all over the place or drooping, it’s a good sign it can be piped. When it holds it’s shape and isn’t super soft when pressing a finger into it. Good luck!

  21. Teresa says:

    This is genius! Also, I love the tip about filling the piping bag with saran wrap–who knew? I am so obsessed with your rose design that I went and ordered the Wilton 1M large star tip on Jo-Ann Fabrics website. It was only $1.49 and $1 flat rate shipping today for the holiday!!! Can’t wait to use this when it arrives. What a great video, Mel.

  22. Lisa Clawson says:

    You’re hired! Nothing like a good cupcake froster, and they’re hard to come by:)

  23. Maria says:

    Mel, I am loving your videos. Great addition to the blog. I was going to ask about those clips, but I see the link above. Another question, though. Am I seeing some kind of plastic bag in the bowl in which you mixed the frosting? If so, can you tell us about that? I can sure use ways to lessen the massive mess I usually make in the kitchen!

  24. Lisa says:

    I love you even more since you’re candid about not putting any pretenses on and being who you are. You are a talented lady and one of my favorite sites to follow.
    Love you bunches!

  25. Sarah says:

    I LOVE that you are doing these video clips! It’s so much easier to actually see some of these things being done rather than just read the directions. This is my FAVORITE food blog, and I feel like we would totally be friends if we lived close by! I love how down to earth you are and wouldn’t expect you to spend time away from your family to make fancy videos for us :)

  26. rachel r says:

    Thanks for the tip! I echo more Mel love for keeping it real! That’s why we keep coming because of your realness – your tips and recipes are not only delicious but work in the everyday cook’s kitchen! Me and my family can’t thank you enough

  27. Wow fantastic, thanks Mel! I have always had trouble icing my cupcakes, so appreciate the handy hints. This has also made me extremely hungry for a cupcake!! :)

  28. Kathy says:

    Thank you for the tip that you do not bother with the coupler. I gave up fussing with getting all those pieces together correctly, then cleaning them, and keeping track of them. I will try again, using your snip the bag method.

  29. sweetpea says:

    SOOOO helpful! I think I can do it! Must go purchase the tip. Thank you.

  30. What a great tip (ugh – sorry – no pun intended there!) – and I just love that you keep things friendly, casual, down-to-earth (like we’re “just hanging out” and didn’t bother to “clean off our counters”! Perfect! :D

  31. V says:

    Any tips on freezing cupcakes for later use? Some have said I can frost them and then freeze them. Have you ever tried that?

    • Mel says:

      V – I have never tried freezing frosted cupcakes; I’d be a bit skeptical the frosting would hold up ok but that’s just me. Worth a try if you really need to freeze them ahead of time. I haven’t had great luck freezing baked cupcakes – the liners tend to peel away from the cupcakes (if using grease-proof liners) but I still do it occasionally if I need them ahead of time and I bake them, cool them, and place them in ziploc bags, trying not to put them too close together so the edges get smashed.

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