Tips for cupcake decorating:
1. Gather a few basic supplies. You'll need some quart size freezer bags or purchased icing decorator bags, some icing decorating tips, and frosting. Other items that come in handy include food coloring, sanding sugar or decorator sugar, candies or non-perils, and perhaps a rolling pin if you are working with fondant or chewable candies that you'll be shaping into decorations.
2. To achieve the traditional cupcake topped with a pretty frosting swirl, place an extra-large star tip (such as a Wilton 1M decorator tip) in your decorator bag (or freezer bag). Squeeze the bag with steady, firm pressure, and pipe frosting in a circle, starting from the outside and work your way into the center, filling the center if any gap remains. End your swirl by releasing pressure and pulling straight up. Decorate with sprinkles or sugar, or, if using white frosting, airbrush your creation with spray-on color.
3. For a more cloud-like effect (and to achieve a similar look with fewer tools), fill a quart size freezer bag with the frosting of your choice. Cut a generous corner from the bag to create your decorator tip. Swirl frosting in a circle as described above, or begin in the center and squeeze and hold to make one large fluffy mound. Mounding works best with a whipped cream textured frosting.
4. Consider decorating your cupcake upside down. Use a doily or a piece of parchment paper cut into a pretty shape with scissors to place your upside down cupcake on. Spoon chocolate ganash or other thick topping over the top of the cupcake and garnish with a small star of frosting on top or other decoration. Or cover your upside down cake with rolled fondant to create a smooth canvas for more decoration!
5. For a smooth frosting look (no spatula marks), microwave a can of store bought frosting. Place frosting in a microwave-safe container and color as you like with food coloring. Heat the frosting in five-second increments, stirring in between, until the frosting reaches the consistency of lightly whipped cream. Dip the top of your cupcake into the melted frosting and allow the excess to drip off before turning it right side up. Allow frosting to dry to the touch and continue to decorate as you like.
6. Chewable candies can be fashioned into fun decorations! Tootsie rolls, starbursts, fruit roll-ups and other type of candies can be rolled flat and cut into various shapes to achieve looks that are fun and edible!