How To Swirl Cupcakes Like a Pro

Updated: Apr 16


If you're anything like me, the times you have spent decorating cupcakes involved scooping up buttercream with a small spatula and attempting to shape it into something rounded while getting frosting all over your fingers. While licking the frosting off of your hands is not a bad thing in life, there are easier ways that will result in a beautiful presentation that will have people saying "Where did you buy these? They look so professional!". Here are a few simple tricks that will ensure a beautiful swirl and will speed things up significantly if you ever have to bust out 100 cupcakes last minute. I hope that's never you, but it has been me many times!

  1. Your buttercream must be smooth and pipable. Smooth out your buttercream in a stand mixer first. This will get out any lumps or air bubbles. If your buttercream is cold, mix it in the mixer on low and gradually increase the speed until it smooths out. I have a great buttercream recipe that does not form a crust like a traditional buttercream that we used for wedding cake decorating. I will link it when I post it this weekend! Stay tuned.

  2. Invest in large metal piping tips-in this case, a star tip. Metal piping tips are not much more expensive than plastic, and come in a bunch of different sets and sizes. Unless you regularly do detailed decorating, I suggest buying the extra large tips first. Here we used a an extra large #9 star tip and as you can see, it covers the top of the cupcake in one swoop.

  3. Invest in an 18" canvas or piping bag. The large piping bag holds more buttercream, thus eliminating the challenge of refilling the bag. They are also reusable and will last you for years.

  4. Use consistent squeezing pressure while piping. The pressure that you use to squeeze the bag is everything when it comes to decorating. After you fill your bag with frosting, do an initial squeeze to release the air bubble in the bottom and do a practice swirl on a plate. Using one firm squeeze, start on the outside edge and swirl clockwise in the middle. Ensure you are holding the tip about 1 inch above the cupcake, so that the buttercream is not 'laying down' as you squeeze it.

Once you have the tools and the method down, you will be able to bust out a whole party in record time! Check back for more this weekend.