I love baking but the decorating isn’t my strong point. Usually I go with a simple icing sugar sprinkled on top of fresh cupcakes or some butter frosting slapped on top. Nothing special. Now that I am a mum I set myself a challenge to create 10 cupcake decorating ideas that even I could make! I made these 10 for the mums at playgroup and they were certainly impressed. So for the next kid’s party or school cake sale whip up something spectacular in a cinch. No piping tools required!

I baked the cakes from scratch using my favourite Nigella Lawson fairy cake recipe. If you aren’t keen on baking from scratch, keep some packet cake mix in the pantry and you are set to go. For the frosting I used Betty Crocker Creamy Deluxe frosting to save time but you could make your own butter frosting if you prefer.

grass cupcake decorating idea

 On the green

vanilla frosting
green food colouring
sugar flowers
pastry brush

Colour the frosting with the green food colouring to your desired shade. Cover the top of the cupcake with the frosting. Using the pastry brush, gently dab the frosting all over so it starts to stick up like grass. It is easier if you have a little frosting on the brush before you start. Place a sugar flower on top to complete the cupcake.


marbled cupcakes

 Marble delight

vanilla frosting
chocolate frosting
kebab stick

Cover the cupcake with vanilla frosting. Take the kebab stick, dip it into the chocolate frosting and draw lines to create a grid across the top of the vanilla frosting. Re-dip the stick for each new line. Don’t worry about creating neat lines. Next take the kebab stick and gently swirl the frosting around so the chocolate and vanilla marble together. Note that the more chocolate you use, the darker the marbled effect will be. You could also use a coloured frosting instead of the chocolate to match a colour theme for a party.


black forest cupcake decorating idea

 Black forest

vanilla frosting
tin of pitted cherries
chocolate sprinkles

This would work best with a chocolate cupcake. Cover the cupcake with the vanilla frosting. Place a single cherry on top and lightly sprinkle the chocolate sprinkles on top. Not a traditional black forest cake but it looks effective and tastes great.


sprkinles cupcake decoration

 Sprinkles on top

vanilla frosting
100’s and 1000’s

Cover the cupcake with vanilla frosting. Tip some of the 100’s and 1000’s onto a plate. Carefully dip the top of the cupcake into the sprinkles. You will need to roll the cupcake around a bit to get full coverage. Make sure to be gentle so you don’t flatten the cupcake.


cupcakes with letters

 Initial it

vanilla frosting
100’s and 1000’s
cookie cutter in desired initial

Cover the cupcake in the vanilla frosting. Carefully place the initial in the centre of the cupcake ensuring that it is completely flat. Using a teaspoon gently tip the 100’s and 1000’s inside the cookie cutter. It is easier if you tip them into one part of the cookie cutter and then gently roll the cupcake so the 100’s and 1000’s fill the area. Once the entire space is filled, tip the cupcake onto a plate to remove any excess sprinkles. Carefully remove the cookie cutter and smooth any lines left by the cutter with the back of a teaspoon. You could use your child’s initials, use a number cookie cutter for their age or any other shape you might have in your cupboard.


top deck cupcake decorating idea

 Top deck

chocolate frosting
white chocolate

Cover the cupcake with chocolate frosting. Grate the white chocolate over the top of the cupcake. Place the cupcake on a plate first so it is easier to clean up any stray chocolate.


frozen cupcakes


vanilla frosting
caster sugar
blue food colouring
snap lock bag

Cover the cupcake with vanilla frosting. Place a tablespoon of sugar into the snap lock back with a tiny drop of blue food colouring. Close the bag and shake it so the sugar is covered with the food colouring. If you put too much colouring in, just add a little more sugar. Using your fingers, sprinkle the coloured sugar on top of the cupcake. This design is perfect for all those little Frozen fans.


cookies and cream cupcake decorating idea

 Cookies and cream

vanilla frosting
oreo biscuits
snap lock bag
mallet or rolling pin

Place the oreo biscuits into the snap lock bag. You will need about one biscuit per three cupcakes. Remove the air from the bag and seal. With a mallet or rolling pin hit the top of the bag to crush the biscuits. In a bowl, mix the vanilla frosting with the crushed biscuits (reserve some of the biscuit crumbs for sprinkling on top of the cake). Cover the cupcake with the frosting and then sprinkle with the reserved crumbs.


choc orange cupcake decorating idea

 Choc orange

chocolate frosting
½ cup caster sugar
1 orange

To make the candied orange, dissolve the caster sugar into ½ cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Peel the zest of the orange and cut into thin strips. Place it into the saucepan and cook until the syrup thickens and starts to change colour to brown. Remove the orange peel pieces onto a tray lined with baking paper. Working quickly, shape the orange peel into the number of nests required before it sets hard. The orange peel will be hot so be careful! Cover the cupcake with chocolate frosting, place an orange segment on top and finish off with the candied orange nest. The candied orange can be a bit time consuming so if you are short for time you can top with a little orange zest or just stick with the orange segment. This would work best with a chocolate cupcake.


berry cupcake decorating idea

 Berry basket

vanilla frosting
strawberries, blueberries or raspberries

Cover the cupcake with vanilla frosting. Cue the berries into smaller pieces so they easily fit on top of the cupcake and arrange them in place. This is a really simple cake that looks great. Colour the frosting pink or blue to add more colour or match in with the berries you are using. This one is best served pretty quickly after being made.


These recipes originally appeared in Issue 16 of Kid Magazine but it was too good not to share on the blog! If you want to receive each issue of Kid Magazine (packed with loads more awesome tips just like this) straight to your inbox then sign up below.

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