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. 1. Your ladybug “picks” are genius. 2. I just iced 50 cupcakes yesterday with a tip and thought how much easier with a tip, and how perfect they look. Why doesn’t everyone frost cupcakes in such a way, I thought? Because you’re right. Much more charming and comforting by hand. Like my mom’s. Though it didn’t hit me til you just articulated it.

  2. I think both ways are adorable– and all of your pictures make me wish I had more frosting in my life. 🙂

  3. Love the ladybug cupcakes! So adorable. I LOVE ladybugs!
    And I am laughing at your question! Hand frosting a cupcake is the ONLY way I know how!! I do not have your talent. 🙂

  4. love love love the lady bugs!
    Also, it takes MUCH more time to hand spread the frosting! Everyone always ogles over the swirls, and I’m like, if you only knew…!
    Great job!

  5. I love a “rustic” hand-iced cupcake, too. Maybe that’s just because I’m not good at cupcake piping. HOWEVER you top them, they always look darling! You are a magician with anything sugar, my dear!

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