Cupcake Frosting {Cupcake Decorating Ideas}

filed under: Cupcakes on April 5, 2018

Decorating cupcakes is one of my greatest joys. Follow my simple tips and tricks to make beautiful cupcakes for any occasion! Be sure to use my perfect Cupcake Frosting for the beautiful cupcakes that taste amazing!

Cupcake Frosting & Cupcake Decorating Ideas

Cupcake Frosting

The recipe I have shared below is for a “cheater” Swiss Meringue buttercream. It uses pasteurized eggs and does not require heating so can be much more time-efficient! This recipe is less sweet than a traditional American buttercream and so lovely to work with. It takes color quite easily and I have found that using any type (liquid, gels, powder) works just wonderfully. This is my Easy Coconut Frosting which is the same is the recipe below except for the addition of coconut flavoring. Feel free to play around with your extracts as well! (These would be lovely with a lavender extract!)

Cupcake Decorating

Petal Decoration

Using a piping bag fitted with the #104 tip and purple icing, begin by piping one petal on to the outer edge of the cupcake. Start near the center, apply pressure to the bag and gently rock your wrist up and then down to create each individual petal.  Continue piping overlapping rows of petals.

This could also be referred to as a Carnation, but might look better with a soft pale or white buttercream.

Cupcake Frosting and #104 tip Decorating

Petal Spiral Decoration

Using a piping bag fitted with the #104 tip, pipe spiraling ruffles around the cupcake starting at the outer edge. This is easiest if you are able to turn the cupcake in one hand while applying pressure to the piping bag with the other. You can also use a rotating cake stand for this method, just be sure to place the cupcake in the very center.

Cupcake Frosting Cupcake Decorating

Classic Rose Decoration

Using a piping bag fitted with the #104 tip, begin by placing a dollop in the center of the cupcake. Hold your bag so that the smallest part of the tip (the top of the teardrop) is facing up. Place tip at the base of the dollop, apply pressure and move the bag around the side of the dollop, about 1/3 of the way. Release pressure. I usually start with 3 petals around the center dollop for a nice tight center bud.

Continue this same technique around and around, eventually making your swoops bigger and facing out and away from the center of the cupcake.

Finish with some leaves and you have a perfect rose. Here is a video showing how I am a Giant Buttercream Rose.

Cupcake Frosting Recipe

Skinny Petal Decoration

Using a piping bag fitted with the #104 tip, hold your tip with the large opening of the tip (upside down teardrop) is at a 90° angle. Apple gentle pressure and the drag tip down through the frosting. You will start at the outer edge of the cupcake and move around the entire cupcake. Then move in slightly from the edge and pipe another row.

Add leaves for a decorative touch.

This technique also works well when decorating lilac cupcakes!

Easy Cupcake Frosting

If I had to pick a favorite I might say this one, the purple rose with light blue accents. These piped roses often vary in look because they are so open to artistic impression. Each decorator will have their own special flair that comes across so beautifully in this design!

4.8 from 5 votes
Easy Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins

Decorating cupcakes is one of my greatest joys. Follow my simple tips and tricks to make beautiful cupcakes for any occasion! Be sure to use my perfect Cupcake Frosting for the beautiful cupcakes that taste amazing!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cupcake Frosting
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 4 oz pasteurized egg whites
  • 2 cups (220g) confectioners sugar
  • 2 tbsp. McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 lb (4 sticks or 452g) softened unsalted butter
  1. Add pasteurized egg whites and confectioners sugar to stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
  2. Turn mixer on low, let ingredients come together. Then turn on high speed for 3-5 minutes, or until egg whites and sugar are fully incorporated.
  3. With mixer off, add in the extract and mix on low speed until just combined.
  4. Now start adding in butter, about 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) at a time. After each addition, let the mixer run of medium-high speed until the butter is mostly incorporated. It can take about 3-4 minutes just to add in the butter.
  5. Once all the butter is added, turn the mixer on high speed and let it whip for at least 5 minutes. (I have let it go for as long as 10)
Recipe Notes

It is important to use PASTEURIZED eggs for this recipe. You can purchase pasteurized eggs in most grocery stores. If you are unable to find pasteurized eggs, I would not attempt this recipe.

A few things to talk about. The original recipe calls for 2 full pounds of butter and 16 ounces of confectioners sugar. I decreased my version considerably…  I only used 1 pound of butter and 8 ounces of confectioners sugar. I found that this amount of ingredients was perfect for my 5 quart KitchenAid and that it was plenty of frosting to cover 24 cupcakes.

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  • Kathy says:

    Love your decorations… I was looking for an icing that isn’t so sweet, so when I saw your meringue decorating icing I was very interested, but I wandered if you couldn’t possibly substitute meringue POWDER for the egg whites?I believe Wiltons carrys this item if they haven’t discontinued it. THANK YOU

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, you could, but that is more of a royal icing. 🙂

  • Jean Hansen says:

    Very informative beautiful displays

  • Pennie says:

    This is the simplest way I have heard this explained! thank you, I may actually be able to accomplish this!

  • Sharron says:

    Hi, love your beautiful work. I live in England and am not sure about the pasteurized egg whites? Is this a dry mix that you can purchase? I haven’t heard of it? I initially thought you mean normal egg whites (wet!) And was wondering if they needed to be whisked to peak stage egg, then again, wondered if it’s a dry mix. Many, thanks for putting weights rather than cups. So many US recipes are wasted on me as we do not really use cups..and those you can buy are not the same weights as US cups. Very confusing 😁

    • Marideth Leonard says:

      Pasteurized egg whites in the US are in the refrigerated grocery section in a carton and called Egg Beaters

  • Laura says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Just watched got the first time on Facebook your cupcake decorating tips and OH MY GOODNESS, you do such beautiful designs and how easy you make it look! Always wanted to be able to decorate cakes, cupcakes and desserts, but do not know where to start. I love to bake so any suggestions? Anyway I am now a follower on Facebook and know I can learn a great deal just from watching you.😊

  • Linda Gentry says:

    Always wanted to learn how to decorate like this u make it look so easy! 😊

    • Janice says:

      You make it looks so easy! I really enjoyed watching you decorate and am anxious to try it myself. Thanks so much for the tips!

  • Linda says:

    I love this cupcake icing decorating ideas.

  • Christy says:

    Can you make this icing a day before you use it? Will it store ok overnight? I was wanting to make a bunch for a girls’ cupcake decorating party but need to do it the night before

  • Joy says:

    I love reading and watching your seems so easy to do particularly the decorating..when i tried it,it was so difficult.i have a complete set of decor icing tips but using it with a piping celophane is just not possible.

  • Margaret says:

    Should this be stored in the refrigerator?

    • Amanda says:

      Yes, I would.

  • Lee-Ann says:

    Do you think I can heat the egg whites on double boiler, cool down and then follow your recipe?
    I am from South Africa and we don’t have pasterised egg whites available either.

    Thank you for all your amazing recipes. I diligently convert all your recipes to grams where necessary as i know they are worth it.


  • Dawn says:

    Really stunning work. Can’t stop looking at your decorations. I absolutely love these. I actually took my day off to bake something with you.

  • Lisa says:

    Lovely! How do you get the icing that beautiful purple and blue two tones to come through that way?

  • Tami gores says:

    In 1992 or 1993, there was a morning show, Mike and Matty. They made a pumpkin pie that had a cream cheese topping. The topping was like a custard. It was called ‘ Peggy’s pumpkin pie’ lost my recipe. Grateful to have a similar recipe. Maybe you can devise one. Thank you.

  • Kay Branche says:

    I’ve made the long version of this icing but this sounds so much easier. I haven’t tried it yet (can’t wait to). I have quite a few friends that don’t like American buttercream but love the Swiss meringue. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Joan says:

    I have not made the frosting yet…I see you use a stand mixed is a hand mixer ok.

  • archana ms says:

    Can u plrase make videos of different types of icing

  • Cherrie Caughran 77'u says:

    Going to give it a try

  • Barbara Zirl says:

    Do you sift the confectioners sugar before you measure it for the frosting recipe?

  • Laura says:

    I am making cup cakes for a Halloween wedding
    With a mascaraed theme
    Any ideas for flavors or toppers ( other than devils food and mascaraed masks? Thanks so much
    I am a seasoned baker and decorator .

  • Holly says:

    I have enjoyed making several different recipes posted under I Am Baker but this is the 1st time I’ve read your bio or seen a picture. It’s nice to put a face and info with a site I’ve come to trust as a good source for very tasty recipes. I’m looking forward to trying this meringue frosting!!

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.