The Short and Sweet Icing on the Cupcake

Use a decorative tips set to apply this butter icing recipe to your cupcakes and you’ll look like a professional in no time. The ingredients make a classic butter icing that can be easily adapted for your favorite flavors and colors when you want to get adventurous.

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What you’ll need


  1. Have 1 cup of unsalted butter softened to room temperature. Beat on a medium speed for about 8 minutes. The butter will go really light in color and will double in size
  2. Scrape the bowl occasionally to ensure the butter is being beaten evenly
  3. Sift 4 cups of icing sugar. Add about 1/2 cup at a time and beat well between additions to ensure it combines well with the butter
  4. Add milk a teaspoon at a time, mixing to get the consistency you’re wanting. Check texture as you add to get the right consistency.
  5. Note: The texture of the icing you’ll need for piping will be a thinner consistency then if spreading over cakes with a knife.
  6. Add 3 teaspoons vanilla (a little more if desired). Mix well
  7. Taste your frosting to check flavor, ie if you need a little more vanilla or milk.
  8. If coloring, add in now gradually and carefully.  Color can really grab so if you’re wanting a subtle color add carefully

This icing recipe will cover 2 layer cakes or 2 dozen cupcakes if spreading with a knife.

If you’re piping frosting it will cover 18-20 cupcakes depending on how decoratively you pipe each cake.

This is a good recipe base that you can add to if you want to add in flavors. For lemon icing add lemon juice and lemon zest or for a chocolate butter icing add ½ cup coca.

To use the piping bag:

  1. Insert the decorative tip into the piping bag
  2. Fold over the top of the bag to make it easy to fill up. Add the butter icing with a spatula so the bag is about 3/4 full and pull over the top of the bag and twist to seal.
  3. Apply pressure to push icing through the tip/nozzle. Practice with the nozzle away from your cake first to get the feel of using the piping bag.

Wilton decorating tools are dependable and easy to use and helps you get a fancy icing on your cupcakes with easy to use nozzles.

From a simple chocolate cake with sprinkles, cakes have com a long way and have become more elaborate, whimsical and downright amazing at times.

The tools we have available make it so easy to create something that looks spectacular and proud you did it do yourself.

This recipe for butter icing won’t let you down.

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The art of cake decorating has much humbler beginnings though

If you’ve ever wondered the origin of wedding cakes and cake decorating you might be interested to have a short walk through history with these historical facts.

Roman weddings

The Romans were the first to introduce a special cake tradition at weddings. Foods such as fruit and nuts were often considered foods that would please the gods and this is what wedding cakes were first made from. The cakes were crumbled over the bride’s head in an effort to please the gods so that they would bless the bride with abundance.

Julius Caesar introduced this tradition to England in 54 BC. The tradition was strongly followed by members of all classes, except that if a cake was too expensive for a family, pieces of wheat or corn would be used to bless the bride instead. This tradition eventually turned into the throwing of rice that is more common today.

Brides cake made of cupcakes

Tall wedding cakes

Want to know where the idea of a tall wedding cake came from? Ideally small cakes, similar to a bun, were made for weddings. The buns were either consumed, given to the poor or crumbled over the bride. The remaining buns were stacked in a tower and the bride and groom were encouraged to kiss over this tower of cake. Eventually, the tower of buns became one cake, giving us the familiar shape that we have today.


If a cake made from nuts and fruit being crumbled over your head doesn’t sound appealing, you aren’t the only one. Eventually, people wanted more out of their cakes. Molded almond paste decorations began showing up in England during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Sugar sculpting became popular during the seventeenth century in Italy. Chefs were always looking for a new way to work with sugar or shape it to impress royalty. ‘The Experienced English Housekeeper’, a book printed in 1769, is the first document that suggests that commoners were also experimenting with modern cake decorations. Recipes for cake, marzipan and icing were included in the book.

Cakes today

As techniques became more readily available and materials became more affordable, more people became interested in cake decorating. Once shows like Ace of Cakes became popular, there was no turning back. The world was hooked on cake decorating. The wedding cake is almost more important than the choice of food or the bride’s dress.

A birthday cake is now one of the first items that a guest looks for at a party. If there’s a reason for cake, you can believe that it will be unique and fabulous.

If you want to get more involved with the art of cake decorating, Wilton Products are the perfect way to start learning. They have products that will take you from novice right through to expert with their cupcake decorating tip sets. Wilton Products have lots of tools, tips and techniques to get you decorating cakes like a pro in no time.

And ‘kids in the kitchen’ time is lots of fun when decorating the wonderful cakes they have just baked.

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