Monday, February 8, 2010

Chocolate Swiss Buttercream and How to Decorate Cupcakes

Marble Cupcakes

I wasn't wowed by the cake portion of these marble cupcakes from Martha Stewart, but then again, I'm my worst critic and very picky when it comes to sweets. The eaters didn't complain at all! Perhaps I overbaked them, I don't know, but I will be trying a different recipe next time. However, since some of you inquired about cupcake decorating after my last post for Chocolate Mint Cupcakes, I will take this opportunity today to show you how to decorate cupcakes so that even a mediocre cupcake looks good and sports a delicious icing. I realize that once you see how simple it is, I may not look like a "cupcake decorating superstar" anymore, but maybe now you'll think I'm a generous blogger willing to share all my secrets to make your own cupcakes look wonderful!

In the picture below, you will see the piping tips I used for both cupcakes. I have included a standard small piping tip to show the relative size of the tips I used. That's right, these are monster piping tips!

Piping Tips
The tip on the left is an Ateco #827 which I used for the Marbled cupcakes. The tip on the right is Ateco#846 which I used on the Chocolate Mint cupcakes. Notice how the points are shaped differently - the one on the left has teeth that stand up mostly straight and the tip on the right has teeth that curve in slightly. These shapes will give you a slightly different look to your icing. You may not readily find these large tips in JoAnn's or Michael's, but you can easily find them on the web - just google the tip name and number. If you have a cake and candy supply store near you, they may carry a larger selection of tips.

For frosting cupcakes, you'll need a large piping bag. Below is a photo of an 18" disposable piping bag I found at a discount store. You can also buy these online, at craft stores, or at cake supply stores.

Piping Bag

Cut the tip off the piping bag and slip the tip into it. Don't make the hole too big at first- you can always make the hole bigger if the tip isn't entirely exposed.

Piping Bag and Tip

To fill the piping bag, fold the top of the piping bag down a good bit. Slip your non-dominant hand under the cuff of the piping bag while you fill the bag with icing using a large rubber scraper. You can use the hand that is under the cuff to "scrape" the icing from the rubber spatula. Fill the bag no more than half full, twist the top of the bag and squeeze the icing out by applying pressure from the top of the bag where it is twisted closed. You may want to place a twist tie at the top of the bag to keep the icing from oozing out the top, but as long as you squeeze from the top of the bag instead of the middle, oozing shouldn't be a problem.

Piping Bag and Tip

The great thing about these large piping tips is that the decorating is so easy! You don't need an incredibly steady hand to make the icing look good. Just squeeze and give it a slight swirl (as I did for the Marbled) or squeeze and keep the tip in one place (like I did for the Mint). The tip does all the work! I hope this answers some of your questions about cupcake onto the Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream...

Take half the icing recipe and add about 2 ounces of melted and cooled (but still liquid) good-quality chocolate along with the vanilla in the recipe. Add 4 1/2 ounces of chocolate if making the entire recipe chocolate. Then whip, whip, whip until that smooth consistency is achieved. Pipe the icing on as instructed above (or just spread it on with a knife or spoon or small offset spatula). Sprinkle with real chocolate sprinkles (so much better than the fake chocolate sprinkles in the grocery store). You can find these sprinkles at King Arthur Flour and also at some cake and candy supply stores.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing! I was wondering what the tips were that everyone uses. Great tutorial!!

  2. Thanks for the tip! Love your blog! :)

  3. You'll always be my superstar!!!!! REAL chocolate sprinkles???? I didn't even know there was a difference...gotta put those on the list too!

  4. thanks for the tip! been trying to frost some cupcakes before but always ended up spreading them instead hihi!

  5. They look beautiful! Love your blog...

  6. Thanks for the tips (pun intended)!! I need help with frosting cupcakes, so I will keep this information in mind.

  7. I just bought 3 wilton pipling tips online, to my surprise they are really small ones.



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