Decorating with Glazes
Glazes offer different decorating options and work best on cupcakes with flat tops. A layer of chocolate or vanilla glaze can be used alone or as a base for whimsical designs. If you’ll be creating designs on the base, choose a contrasting color for the second glaze. Glazes are thinner in consistency than frostings, so a parchment paper cone is best for piping; otherwise, use a small pastry bag with a very fine writing tip.
POLKA DOTS To create polka dot cupcakes, simply pipe small dots of contrasting-colored glaze onto the glazed cupcakes. You can pipe same-sized dots in a fixed pattern or dots of different sizes using random placement. For dots of only one color, use only one glaze, or for playful multi-colored dots, use as many colored glazes as you like.
MONOGRAMS Pipe monograms onto glazed cupcakes to create personalized cupcakes. When piping monograms, exaggerated curls and swirls make plain lettering look grand and festive. (If you think you have an unsteady hand, practice first on a plate or baking sheet. Unlike frosting, piped glaze cannot be reused because it dries as it sits.)
SPIDER WEBS To make a spider web, pipe concentric circles onto a glazed cupcake. Lightly draw the tip of a wooden skewer, toothpick, or paring knife from the center of the cupcake outward to the edge, occasionally alternating the direction, if you choose. For the cleanest look, wipe the tip of the skewer after each draw.
Adapted from Cupcakes, by Shelly Kaldunski (Weldon Owen, 2008)