Individually decorated cupcakes are among the top trends today. Although cupcakes have been around since the early 1800s, they occasionally are reinvented with various results. The cupcakes now being sold in bakeries across the nation have taken decorating to an extreme.
They are elaborately decorated using an ample assortment of garnishes. In other articles, I have focused on piped, “cutesy” decorations for cupcakes, but here I have chosen to present richly ornate decorations that also are luscious to eat.
Cupcakes are small cakes designed as a single serving. They are more convenient than larger cakes as they do not require plates or eating utensils to serve. Cupcakes are generally baked in fluted paper cups and are served at many events from family dinners to weddings. The most popular place to serve cupcakes is at children’s school functions because they are easy to handle and provide easy clean up. Cupcakes may be displayed on platters or even tiered stands.
Packaging manufacturers now offer containers that can accommodate nearly all shapes, sizes and quantities of cupcakes. Containers are available that hold from one to 24 cupcakes, plus others that hold both cupcakes and a decorated cake. Choose packaging that is appropriate for the amount of product that the majority of your customers purchase and that you can display attractively with a limited amount of shrink. Following is a selection of elaborately decorated cupcakes that are simple to produce and attractive to customers.
Decorate with chocolate
For a mint chocolate cupcake, ice a chocolate cupcake with mint flavored icing using large star tip No. 827. Then, drizzle the icing with melted chocolate and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a slice of decorative chocolate. The chocolate slice can be purchased from bakery suppliers.
“Candy cupcakes” are another great idea. With an open standard coupler, large star tip No. 827 or large open tip No. 807, pipe icing of any color on the cupcakes. Next, add assorted garnishes, such as candies, coconut, chocolate bits, nuts and cookies.
You can dress up the candy cupcakes by drizzling chocolate on the icing or add maraschino cherries or chocolate decorations. The garnishes can be found either in grocery stores or through bakery suppliers. These cupcakes offer almost limitless variety and often add color and/or dimension to your showcases. It is important to keep track of the expense of the ingredients that are used, so the finished product is priced profitably.
Moulded sugar lay-ons, available from bakery suppliers, make great cupcake decorations. For example, use sugar hearts to make a colorful cupcake. Ice the cupcake using large star tip No. 827, and airbrush the icing with yellow, pink and blue to create a rainbow. Place sugar hearts randomly on the rainbow icing for a cupcake that is great for any time of year.
Another fun sugar lay-on is a daisy with leaves. Pipe white icing using a large open tip No. 807. Then, place one sugar flower on top of each cupcake for a simple yet attractive dessert.
Chocolate and sugar seashells also work well together. With open tip No. 807, add chocolate icing on top of the cupcake. Since the sugar seashells come in white, airbrush some of the shells silver and gold to add some glitz. Then, place the shells in groupings of three on the top of each cupcake.
For a silver wedding anniversary cupcake, add icing using tip No. 827. Then, airbrush both the icing and and the white wedding bell sugar lay-ons silver.
Dipped cupcakes also offer a unique look for your showcases. Dip the tops of the cupcakes in warm chocolate fudge icing. Make sure that you do not overheat the icing as it will run off of the cake, not dry as well and will not have a shiny appearance when cooled.
One easy design is to simply add sugar flowers in a variety of colors. Another idea that works well is to pipe lattice on top of the dipped cupcakes, and add a chocolate icing shell border with star tip No. 16. Then, place royal icing flowers airbrushed in pastel colors, and pipe green leaves with tip No. 352 next to each flower. These dainty little cakes would be a great treat at a bridal shower.
For an easy dipped design, use either chocolate or white fondant to coat the tops of the cupcakes. Then, decorate the cupcakes simply with the outline of flower petals using writing tip No. 6, and add the flower centers with writing tip No. 10.
Another fun idea is to create cupcakes that resemble dipped ice cream cones. Ice the cupcakes with large star tip No. 827, and carefully dip the tops in warm chocolate fudge donut icing. Then, add maraschino cherries on top. You can even roll the outside edge in chopped peanuts.
Offer a unique look by dipping the whole cupcake in icing. First, remove the baked cupcakes from their liners, and dip them in warm icing to coat the cupcake completely. Once the icing is dry, place the cupcakes on clean liners, and add royal icing daisies on top. Pipe green leaves around the daisy using tip No. 352.
Floral designs are extremely popular for birthdays, weddings and other events. You can pipe the flowers with non-dairy or buttercream icing, and you do not need to base ice the cupcakes as the flowers end up covering the top completely.
Pipe a pink blossom using a large No. 127 flower tip. Pipe all of the petals individually in a clockwise direction. Add a squiggly yellow center with writing tip No. 3.
For a white flower, resembling a daisy, use large open tip No. 807 to pipe each petal in a single teardrop motion. Add a chocolate center with large open tip No. 807 and green leaves using leaf tip No. 352.
Create a lavender flower by using large star tip No. 827 to pipe the petals in a single shell motion. Use open tip No. 807 to pipe the yellow center of the flower. Pipe green leaves by using leaf tip No. 352.
Pipe a yellow sunflower with large leaf tip No. 112. Finish the bloom by piping the chocolate icing center with large grass tip No. 234. Pipe green leaves by using leaf tip No. 352.
Another creative floral idea is the rose and candle design. Ice a cupcake in white icing using large open tip No. 807. Dip the edge of the icing in colored sugar icing dots. Pipe a large rose using flower tip No. 124, and place the flower on the cupcake. Add green icing leaves with leaf tip No. 352, and add a small candle to the center of the rose.
For another floral design, ice the cupcakes smoothly with a small mound of icing in the center. Airbrush royal icing flowers in several different shades. Then, place the flowers (using only one color of blossoms per cupcake), completely covering the top of the cupcake, creating a ball of flowers. Finish the design by piping green leaves with tip No. 352.
Another delightful idea is to remove cupcakes from the paper liners and place them upside down. Ice the entire outside of the cupcakes using standard star tip No. 22. Add filling to the center top and garnish with fruit.
Cupcakes also can be filled using a filling machine. Leave the cupcakes in the paper liners, and slice off tops, setting them aside for later use. Add fruit filling or icing on top of the sliced cupcake, and place the tops back on at a slant, allowing the filling to be visible. Garnish with icing or confectioners’ sugar.
These are just some of the unique ideas that may be used for making cupcakes a standard in your bakery case for adults as well as children. Cupcakes, depending on the ingredients used to bake, ice and garnish them, can range in price from 35 cents to $5. Make sure your cupcakes are priced profitably because customers are willing to pay for unique and delicious designs.