Cupcakes with Buttercream Decoration

Updated: Jun 24

I have to confess, I really hate making buttercream - it’s one of my least favourite jobs! (After the washing up!)


I don’t even know why because it’s super simple to put together. I think it might be the amount of mess it makes - icing sugar particles EVERYWHERE!! I swear I spend my life covered in a thin coating of icing sugar.

Anyhoo, the point I am trying to make is that these pretty cupcakes are worth the effort of making and colouring a batch of buttercream, and they are so easy so it all kind of balances itself out!




Rightyo, let me tell you what you need and let’s get to it!


What you’ll need:

  • A batch of cupcakes & a batch of buttercream

  • Gel food colouring

  • Piping bags

  • A variety of different nozzles

It just so happens that I have a free downloadable for a cupcake recipe so you can head here if you want to use that, or use your own! For your buttercream, we’re looking for a firm but swirlable consistency: you want it to hold it’s shape but we also need to make sure it’s going to come out of the piping bag. When you mix it and it starts sticking to your spoon you’re at the right kind of consistency.

And here’s what to do:


1. Bake your cupcakes and make your buttercream as per your recipe.

2. Figure out your colour palette - think about what and how many colours you want to use. If you only have a selection of colours, then have a look at this website to see what colourful possibilities are out there for you!

3. Split your buttercream into the number of colours you want to use and get to colouring! Gel colours are the best to use to get vibrant colours without changing the consistency of your buttercream.

4. Pick your favourite nozzles. If you have them, use different ones so mix up the shapes. If not, go with the ones you have. You can use them in different ways to create different effects.

5. Fill your piping bags - but not too full. Fill it about halfway or no more than ¾ full; the fuller the bag, the harder it is to pipe. When your piping bag is full there’s more chance that the buttercream will come oozing out of the top making a buttery ol’ mess, or will force the nozzle out of the bag and also make a buttery ol’ mess.



6. To pipe: twist your piping bag at the top to create some pressure - the buttercream might start to come out of the nozzle but this can just be wiped away before you start. Hold the twist between your thumb and your index finger and sit the top of the bag (the bit with the most buttercream in) in your palm. This is where you are going to squeeze from; squeeze top-down, like you would a tube of toothpaste.

7. Holding the bag vertically, choose the point you want to start your swirl and start with the middle. Press the piping bag so the buttercream makes contact with the cake. Then, while still squeezing, start moving the piping bag around the central point to make a swirl. For these cupcakes, we’re not doing a full swirl so keep it quite close to the centre as you move the piping back around.

8. We’re going to be doing a variety of swirls but doing the bigger ones first is a good idea because then you can work around them, filling in the gaps with smaller swirls.

9. Swirl either 1 or 2 bigger swirls onto your cupcakes. Put them in a variety of places.


10. Once you have the bigger swirls in position, start filling in the gaps with your smaller nozzles: I have used a petal nozzle to create some wiggly lines, a star nozzle and an open star nozzle.

11. Once you have filled all the space, don’t be afraid to layer things up - add an extra swirl on top if you like!

12. If you are feeling fancy, finish your creation with some edible glitter or some posh sprinkles!


Don’t they look impressive! I bet they do! If you give these a go I would LOVE to see your creations! Join the Facebook Group and share your work for us all to admire, or give me a tag over on Instagram!

Happy swirling!

Vicky x

And don’t forget you can learn how to use your piping skills on cakes in my online course: Bake Your Own Birthday - Buttercream Cakes

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