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Basic Frosting Techniques

Frosting a cupcake is as simple or as involved as you make it. The easiest way is with a casual pouf of frosting. Creating peaks and swirls in the frosting gives the cupcakes a fun and carefree feel; a smooth coat gives them 
a more elegant and refined look. No special or hard-to-use tools are required, just an item or two that you may already have stashed in your kitchen drawer.

  • ICING SPATULA   A small icing spatula with a 4-inch blade is 
ideal for frosting cupcakes. Dollop 
a generous amount of frosting onto the center of the cupcake, then use the spatula to spread it. The spatula’s round tip is good for creating swirls in the frosting, and its thin, flat blade also excels at creating smooth surfaces.

  • SPOON   A spoon is a useful tool 
for frosting cupcakes. Choose one that is shallow and wide, with 
a rounded tip, if possible. Drop a spoonful of frosting onto the center of the cupcake, then, with the back of the spoon, spread the frosting. Use the backside of the tip of the spoon to create swooshes and swirls.

  • ICE CREAM SCOOP   A spring-loaded ice cream scoop is a quick and easy way to top a cupcake with frosting. Use a scoop about 
2 inches in diameter to place a dome of frosting on the cupcake. Then, gently press the back of the scoop into the frosting to flatten it slightly and push it out to the edges of the cupcake. 

Adapted from Cupcakes, by Shelly Kaldunski (Weldon Owen, 2008).