How to Decorate Cupcakes with a Rosette

by 

If you’ve ever wondered how professionals get that beautiful rosette swirl on top of a cupcake, you’re in the right place. In this post, I’m going to give you all of my best tips for getting the perfect frosting consistency, how to hold the piping bag and how to make your cupcakes look like they were made by a professional pastry chef. It’s easier than you think!

What is the best frosting for decorating cupcakes?

When frosting a cupcake with a traditional rosette swirl, both American buttercream and meringue buttercreams work well. Cream cheese frosting is too soft for this type of decoration unless you add A LOT of powdered sugar. If you’re going for a white or light colored frosting, follow our American Buttercream recipe exactly and you’ll get just the right consistency for piping. If you’re going for a dark frosting, you’ll need to add more food coloring which can make the buttercream too loose for piping. When making the buttercream, omit the half and half. This will give you a stiffer consistency for piping.

I prefer AmeriColor gel pastes. They have just about any color you can imagine. They even have a bright white that is great, since buttercream tends to have a slight yellow tint. Adding bright white to any color will brighten it up.

If you prefer meringue buttercreams, our Swiss Meringue Buttercream also works perfectly for this piping technique.

How do I use multiple colors to make a swirled effect with the buttercream?

If you look up tutorials on how to make rainbow swirls, you’ll see a couple of different techniques. Some people will put each color into a different piping bag and then put them all into another larger bag. Others will put each color into different bags and then pipe each color out onto cling wrap, roll it up and put that into a large piping bag.

I don’t like wasting all of those bags so I use a much simpler technique.

unicorn cupcakes

Simply hold the bag with your left hand (if you’re right handed) and fold the top of the bag down over your hand. Try to fold it down as far as you can. Now, use a small spatula or spoon to scoop some of the first color into the bag. But instead of pushing it all the way down the bag to the piping tip, try to smear it against the side of the bag. Using another small spatula or spoon, scoop the other color, smearing it against the other side of the bag.

Carefully work your left hand up the bag to make room for more buttercream. Continue the steps above until you have enough buttercream to fill the bag about halfway full. Don’t overfill or it will be difficult to hold while piping.

Now, close off the top of the bag and use your hands to press the buttercream down toward the tip. Twist the middle of the bag (or wherever the top of the buttercream is) so that you can pinch it between your right thumb and forefinger.

How to decorate cupcakes:

Using a 16″ or 18″ piping bag, insert the 1M tip. Hold the bag with your left hand (if you’re right handed) and fold the top of the bag down over your hand. Try to fold it down as far as you can. Now, use a spatula to scoop some of the buttercream into the bag. Continue until you have enough buttercream to fill the bag about halfway full. Don’t overfill or it will be difficult to hold while piping.

Now, close off the top of the bag and use your hands to press the buttercream down toward the tip. Twist the middle of the bag (or wherever the top of the buttercream is) so that you can pinch it between your right thumb and forefinger.

Use your left hand to guide the bag. Starting directly in the middle of the cupcake, hold the bag at a 90° angle and begin pressing the buttercream with your right hand. Keep the pressure steady and begin moving the piping bag in a circle moving outward. I move counter clockwise but it doesn’t matter. Whatever you are comfortable with.

Once you get close to running out of cake, release the pressure and continue moving the bag in that motion for a clean release.

Why do I keep getting air bubbles in my bag?

Whipping or beating the buttercream is the process of whipping air into the mixture to give it that light and fluffy consistency. It’s great for our taste buds, but not great for decorating. To remove the air bubbles, use a rubber spatula to stir the buttercream for several minutes. While you’re stirring, press the buttercream against the sides of the bowl. This should drastically diminish the amount of air bubbles you get in your piping bag.

What if my buttercream is too soft to pipe?

If you followed my tips above for getting the perfect frosting consistency, but your buttercream is still too soft to pipe, it could just be too warm. Stick the bowl in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Take it out and stir it to determine if it’s ready for piping. If it’s still too soft, put it back in the fridge for another 10-15 minutes.

If the buttercream is cold and still too soft, add powdered sugar to it in 1/2 cup increments and beat for an additional 3 minutes each time.

Once you have mastered this technique, there is so much you can do with it. You can even use this technique to decorate a cake!

Let me know if this tutorial was helpful!

XOXOXO Amanda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *