Home  >  Desserts, Food Presentation  >  Frost This

Frost This

Swirled Cupcakes to highlight the colors of the season.

Swirled Cupcakes to highlight the colors of the season.

Frost this…..cupcake. Cool inspirational frosting ideas that are a simple enough way to breakup mundane vanilla (and chocolate) cupcake displays.

As many of you know I’ve been selling a plethora of cupcakes at our local farmers market. Presentation is always key, so I’ve been trying to perfect my swirl, of which I finally think I got down thanks to Georgetown Cupcakes! What do you think?

Classic Yellow Cake Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Pretty and crisply clean swirls on a cupcake help showcase all your hard work!

Elegant cupcakes can be created in a variety of flavors and combinations.

Elegant cupcakes can be created in a variety of flavors and combinations, or by keeping it simple with beautiful execution.

(For those of you wanting to learn the G-Town swirl, you’ll have to pick up a copy of their book Sweet Celebrations or The Cupcake Diaries).

But the real fun came for me when I was looking for  something special for Independence Day (Fourth of July). I searched around for ideas to really wow the crowd, and some things included pop rocks for a bang while others showcased lots of colors. What finally struck my fancy was this concept of tie-dyed cupcakes- lots of  COLOR!

Tie-Dye Frosting for Cupcakes by Mel’s Kitchen

There were lots of ideas out there when it came to frosting for color. One was to use separate pastry bags, inserted into a large pastry bag. Below you’ll see how this first concept of two-toned frosting was achieved.

(NOTE: Excuse the grainy frosting below- using liquid food coloring is NOT the way to go.  Gel food coloring is my go to recommendation as it helps from separation of your icing which occurs with liquid food coloring- as seen in the grainy-ness of the teal and hot pink cupcakes below. But hopefully this is a showcase that everyone has to learn from your mistakes and it’s better I share mine with you so you don’t make the same ones!)

The finished two-toned frosting keep the colors equally separated as it is piped making for very clean colors with almost no mixing.

The finished two-toned frosting keep the colors equally separated as it is piped making for very clean colors with almost no mixing.

Two-toned frosting and piping in this way keeps the colors of your frosting very clearly defined. You could ultimately do this with more colors.

Two-toned frosting is started by portioning small amounts of frosting into two separate pastry bags and flattening them slightly.

Two-toned frosting is started by portioning small amounts of frosting into two separate pastry bags and flattening them slightly.

I started with two 12″ pastry bags. I snipped about an 1 1/2″ off of the tips. From there I filled each bag with about a 3/4 of a cup of frosting and flattened the bags without mashing them too much. Overfilling these bags will be detrimental once you start piping and make a rather large mess.

The flattened pastry bags  are then inserted into a larger pastry bag to pipe out onto the cupcakes.

The flattened pastry bags are then inserted into a larger pastry bag to pipe out onto the cupcakes.

I started by preparing a 16″ piping bag, by snipping about two inches off the bottom and inserting a large piping tip. From there, the two flattened bags were then inserted into the larger bag.

The prepared two-tones frosting, very easily encased and ready to pipe.

The prepared two-tones frosting, very easily encased and ready to pipe.

The “end” piping bag ended up keeping the colors very much separated.

This process is time consuming because if you’re making more than six cupcakes, you’ll have to refill the bags, clean out the tip of the large bag, and start over. The real win comes when you do a second round of cupcakes- they’ll look relatively the same as the first round. But not a bad technique to have in your arsenal!

The next process I tried was a bit more rogue if you will and provided greater variety in the end. It was more similar to the tie-dyed cupcakes as done by Mel’s Kitchen, but with a lot more variations in each individual cupcake. You can read Mel’s post on how she did hers, it’s actually pretty simple. For “my technique” I went with the semi-easy and lazy-man’s approach. But look how pretty!

Tie-dye swirled cupcakes ready for Independence Day celebrations.

Tie-dye swirled cupcakes ready for Independence Day celebrations.

To do this, you started with any size pastry bag fitted with a large tip. I tuck the bag into the tip and then place it over a large cup for easy filing and extra stability when it comes to more colors of frosting.

Piping Bag fitted with a large piping tip. The bag is the partly tucked into the tip for easy filling without any escape artists.

Pastry Bag fitted with a large piping tip. The bag is then partly tucked into the tip for easy filling without any escape artists.

The pastry bag is then fitted onto a cup to easily fill the bag, and hold things securely in place.

The pastry bag is then fitted onto a cup to easily fill the bag, and hold things securely in place.

The next step is taking your various colors and lining them on the sides of the cup with a smaller spatula.

I started with the red frosting in this recipe and lined it down the side of the pastry bag, trying to make it as clean a line as possible

I started with the red frosting in this recipe and lined it down the side of the pastry bag, trying to make it as clean a line as possible

In the next stage I added blue down the cup being careful not to mix the colors and keeping things as neat as possible.

In the next stage I added blue down the cup being careful not to mix the colors and keeping things as neat as possible.

From there I added my base color, which was white in this case. After my first round I realized less is more in terms of my red and blue, I almost had too much of these and not enough white. The beauty of working with what you end up with is the opportunity to learn for next time. Here’s the completed bag once I removed all the excess air and twisted down the top of the bag to compact the frosting.

The "finished" pastry bag filled with a swirl of red, white and blue frosting- ready to be piped on cupcakes.

The “finished” pastry bag filled with a swirl of red, white and blue frosting- ready to be piped on cupcakes.

The finished variation of tie-dye cupcakes I think is all the more stunning!

The finished variation of tie-dye cupcakes I think is all the more stunning!

Hopefully this blog post provided you with some fun ways to incorporate color into your next batch of cupcakes. Simply start with any icing and add in some gel food coloring depending on your color(s) desired. From there pick the concept you want to go with and have fun! Make sure to share :-)

Happy Celebrating!

Fourth of July Celebration Cupcakes!

Fourth of July Celebration Cupcakes!

Written by Tarte Chic

Author Kat Nielsen (formerly Kat Wojtylak) is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences.

Comments (2 comments)

  • January 17, 2014 at 1:14 am

    […] the last rendition of Frost This, we talked about colored frostings. But in Part Deuce we’re tackling the wild world of […]

  • Sarah
    July 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Such a fun idea! Thanks so much for sharing. Everyone at the office raved about how nice and festive these cupcakes were when I brought them in. It wasn’t has hard as I thought it would be, just took a little bit of time and patience. Using a quality food coloring certainly helped to achieve the rich color. This would be a great thing to make for any sports games or themed holidays – fun way to integrate the colors.

Leave a Comment