Decorate Cupcakes Like a Pro
Cupcake decorating has come a long way in recent years, and it all comes down to having the right tip and knowing how to use it. In this practical tutorial I’m going to show you seven of my favorite decorating techniques using two Wilton tips–the 1M and the 6B.
Even if you only purchase these two tips, you’ll have everything you need to decorate like a pro! And these are such easy techniques I’m sharing!
What’s inside of the cupcake is important, but what’s on top of the cupcake is just as critical. Decorate with style and folks will be tickled to dive right in!
I took the time to video tape myself using these techniques and I’ll share those two videos below (one for the 1M tip and one for the 6B). Before that, though, let me share a little about the tips, themselves.
Decorating with Wilton’s 1M Tip
The Wilton 1M tip is also referred to as the Large Open Star Piping Tip.
When I first started decorating I didn’t even own one. Now I have six or seven. (Hey, sometimes I have multiple colors happening simultaneously. Example below.)
What I love about the 1M tip is its overall flow and the versatility. Five of the seven techniques I’m going to share all depend on this one tip. (Now you see why it’s so valuable to me!)
A Quick Tutorial of the 1M Tip
There are so many techniques with this one tip. There are so many different looks you can achieve with this one tip, alone. I video-taped five of my favorites but there are plenty more. And remember, these techniques aren’t just good for cupcakes. . .they’re great for cakes, as well.
Fill your piping bag with the frosting of your choice. I always use my Dreamy Buttercream Frosting (basically a vanilla buttercream but with a bit of cream cheese added). I love to use my Chocolate Ganache frosting, too. My Raspberry Whipped Cream frosting is also a lot of fun to pipe. Really, I love all frostings!
You’ll notice I use disposable pastry bags. I highly recommend them. They’re inexpensive and so easy to use!
Technique #1: The Rosette.
Cake decorators everywhere rely on this technique, whether they’re frosting cupcakes or cakes. Rosettes are also useful in sandwich cookies, like my Red Velvet Cake cookies! Use this tip and you’ll be a decorator in no time!
To create a rosette, point your star tip down in the center of cupcake and apply pressure while making a lower-case “e” and then continuing the circular motion until the rosette is the size you want. (Make a complete circle. Take it to the edge of the cupcake.)
Release pressure at the end and lift. (All it takes is a little practice and you’ll be a pro in no time!) You can do such versatile icing decorations with this tip! Create your own unique designs in different colors!
If you read my Italian Cream Cake recipe, you’ll remember that I used this technique to trim out the edges of that cake. The 1M tip provides a great way to finish off your cakes with style!
Technique #2: The Swirl
This is the most popular way to use the 1M tip (my favorite tip by far). Build a rosette base and then build upward, getting narrower as you go. (Notice the different colors in the first one? I put two different colors of frosting into my piping bag.) You can make the perfect swirl!
Here are just a few pictures of cupcakes I’ve “swirled” with the 1M tip.
This technique is also great for cakes!
I used this technique to decorate my German Chocolate Cake.
Technique #3: Puffs
Now, I know these probably have a real name, but for now I’m just calling them. . .puffs. Basically, just place the tip down on the top of the cupcake, apply pressure, lift, and release. Poof! You’ve got a puff!
This technique isn’t just useful on cupcakes. I also used it on this fun 4th of July cake. The entire flag is made of puffs!
Technique #4: Zig-Zags
This is a simple back and forth zig zag movement holding the pasty bag at an angle. I love using it because it’s easy and fast.
I used the zig-zag technique on the side of this paint palette cake.
Technique #5: Textured Lines
Simple as can be! Straight up and down lines come in handy when decorating some of my favorite cakes.
Lines come in very handy for projects like the one below. (Disclaimer: I used a different star tip for this cake but you get the idea.)
After I made the video I thought of another great way to use a 1M tip. You can pipe a border row with it. Check out the photo below for an example. (Sometimes I use these shell borders along the bottom edges of my cakes.)
Tips #6 & 7 are both done with a different tip, a Wilton 6B (a large open star tip). It has a larger opening with smaller, more defined edges. I love it!
Technique #6: The 6b Swirl
I love, love this this one. It requires the same technique as the 1M swirl, but the outcome is so much different! Start with a rosette and build up, getting narrower as you go.
I recently decorated some carrot cake cupcakes using this tip! (Open star tips are very popular for a reason!)
Technique #7: Star Puffs
Okay, so I made this name up. But these remind me of the little chocolate stars my mom used to buy at the candy counter at Sears & Roebuck when I was a little girl. (I’m a sucker for chocolate!)
These are my favorites. Aren’t they beautiful? Just look at how pretty they are!
Decorating is easy, as long as you have the right tools. And when it comes to Wilton tips, the 1M and 6B at among the best! Just remember to practice, practice, practice!
Just a few more pictures before signing off. If you have any questions about cupcake decorating, let me know!
Cupcake frosting is so much fun to play with when you’ve got the right tools! I’ve got nearly a hundred different piping tips but always seem to go back to the same ones!
Other Favorite Piping Tips
- Leaf Tip
- Grass Tip
- Closed Star Tip
- Petal Tip
- You can check out the Ultimate Decorating Tip Set here.
- And don’t even get me started on Russian piping tips! We’ll be here all day!
Let me know which tips you choose and how they work for you. I can’t wait to hear your decorating stories! No doubt you’ll whip up some bakery-worthy cupcakes!
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.