Strawberry and vanilla cupcakes

Decorating Tips – Improving the look of your cupcakes

‘How on earth did you do that?’ is a often asked question when people have seen my cupcake designs. It’s satisfying to both the eater and me as the baker that the cupcake has had time spent on it, it makes the gift of a cupcake a little more personal and touching. I like to give baked goods as gifts, because I’ve not just spent money on them, but my time, a far more precious thing. I could have spent that time doing plenty of other things, such as doing sports, or studying (which I probably should have done), but I usually make a sacrifice of an activity for baking something for a friend or family member. It’s often worth it to see the elation on their faces at the idea of both food and fun presented to them at the same time!

I used to make a habit of cupcake decorating when I was in sixth form, when I had the time, equipment and kitchen facilities to be able to decorate my cupcakes with intricate designs. I was never a big fan of making the whole decoration from sugar paste though, it looks lovely, but doesnt really compliment the flavour of the cake, and I often found myself just picking it off before I could even eat the cake! Of course, sugar paste is a great decorating tool for cakes and cupcakes, but I just dislike using it in excess, especially as on cupcakes there isn’t very much space for decoration so it should be bold and appetising. Buttercream and other pipable icings are also often overused, as I find that some of the patisserie bought cupcakes have a 1:1 ratio of icing to cake! Icing makes it look pretty, but it’s all about the taste surely?

So here are a few of my past decorating tips, ranging from simple and classy to playful and a little more intricate. I apologise for the poor quality of some of the photos, as my photography equipment and style has certainly improved since my more serious cupcake and cake decorating days!

Continue reading