When the kids and I found out cousin Luke was having his 2nd birthday party last week, we were so excited! Luke is the little brother to Hannah, my boys’ best bud.

Hannah was one of the first people to ever receive baked goods from me!

Last year for her birthday, I made her some cupcakes.

She tells me that if I ever want to bring her cupcakes again that would be ok with her. 😉

So I asked Hannah what was Luke’s favorite book? And she said, “Ladybug, Ladybug!”

I have no idea if that’s an actual book or not, but I loved the concept of ladybugs!


The buttercream is tinted a soft shade of green. Also, I thought the tip I was using was a bit too girly, so I changed it up just a bit.




It was a wonderful afternoon and I can’t wait for next year!

I used this recipe for the buttercream, and right now, it’s my favorite. It spreads wonderfully and crusts perfectly and tastes pretty darn good.

I just wanted to take a moment and share some thoughts with you. Is that ok?

I love cupcakes. I love crazy, beautiful, swirly, extravagant, embellished, ornate and intricate cupcakes.

But as I was making cupcakes for Luke, it occurred to me.

I really wanted to go back to basics.


Ididn’thave the courage to give Luke these cupcakes (Really, I was scared of a two-year-old? Lame-o.) because Ididn’tthink anyone would like them.

I thought they would think Ididn’tput time or effort into them.


But I did. I would even go so far as to say that icing a cupcake by hand takes more time and care and love then using a standard decorator tip.


To me, there is something so comforting, so simple yet so charming, about a cupcake frosted by hand.

I want to encourage all the aspiring bakers out there to not forget this ofter under-utilized method of decorating. That probably sounds silly coming from me, but it is true.

I have a true appreciation for the straightforward, uncomplicated, classic, delicious cupcake.

How about you, what is your preference?

Share with your friends!

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I think you are right, icing the normal way is harder and takes more effort to get it “right”. Icing is easy with the tips. Although I do like the way it looks . . . what can I say? I’m into fancy. 🙂 Anyway, ladybugs = CUTE!!

  2. First of all super cute cupcakes!
    And secondly, I love the piped frosting. But I think it’s because every time I attempt a pretty piped frosted cupcake it looks like poo…
    That being said, I think your right there is something irresistible about a hand frosted cupcake.
    Was that complicated and long enough??
    I’m feeling indecisive 😉

  3. Really cute cupcakes and ladybugs! For what it’s worth, I like the ease of using the piping bag when I have to decorate them myself… but as for the look, I have no preference if it tastes good. LOL.

  4. Well I happen to like my tips, but I agree, I absolutely loe the simplicity of ‘just icing’ it. And I am so anal about how it looks, that it actually takes me way more tiem to do it ‘simple’. But the end product is classic, and a breath of fresh air. All th eones that are ordered form me want a decorators tip look, which is fun too, but like you said. Sometimes simple is best. ::Kristin::

  5. I love the ladybugs! How cute!
    Oh and for my nephews birthday, we frosted the cupcakes by hand…it took a little longer than using a bag and tip, but they definitely turned out cute!

  6. Those are great. I was totally thinking they were for a girl when I saw ladybug … then I was like “Huh?, Luke?”. They are awesome and not girly at all … plus, if a boy likes ladybugs then who cares. I love the #2 as well. Nicely done.

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