Cupcakes are the pinnacle of American pastries. The cupcake, with its fluffy cake foundation and smooth, delectable piped icing, is a genuinely flexible and delightful delicacy.
When one sees a cupcake at a shop or bakery, one is drawn to the exquisite beauty of the icing on top. This is the section of the cupcake that you want to appear excellent, whether it’s a circular dome of frosting, a piped icing with ridges, or anything in between.
As you may be aware, many bakeries and businesses that sell cupcakes use a variety of sophisticated piping tips to achieve that flawless appearance. Piping tips may be difficult to get (although Amazon now makes it simple to locate a great, cheap set) and awkward to use.
Do you want to make cupcakes but don’t have a piping tip? No worries.
In a similar vein, learn how to fill cupcakes without using any utensils, how to prepare cupcakes without a pan, and how to bake cupcakes without liners.
You may use one of four approaches to create that lovely icing on the cupcake without using a tip:
- Use a Ziplock bag
- Use a knife
- Dip the cupcake
- Use a cookie dough scooper
Before we get into the specifics of these four approaches, let’s take a short look at the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing a pipe tip.
Benefits of Using a Piping Tip
- You get a smooth and sharp finish to the frosting
- It eliminates the mess and allows for easy manipulation and control of the piping
- There are many different ways in which you could frost your cupcake- piping tips come in various shapes and designs
- It doesn’t take that long to pipe frosting onto the cupcake
Check out this little video that demonstrates a few different techniques and the outcomes they may achieve:
Drawbacks of Using a Piping Tip
- Hard to clean
- Not much control of how much frosting is put on the cupcake if you only have one size of tip
- Frosting is wasted in the tip
- It requires pastry bags which you much purchase at a store along with the tips, most of which can’t be reused
Ways to Frost Cupcakes Without a Piping Tip
1 – Use a Plastic Ziploc Bag
It is quick and simple to use a Ziploc bag as a piping tip. You don’t need to buy another bag or tip since it’s all in one.
The advantages of utilizing a Ziploc bag are that it is simple to use, quick, inexpensive, and widely accessible. The disadvantages are that it may become messy, and it is difficult to obtain that perfect circle.
This video shows a good example of piping using a Ziploc bag:
How to Apply It:
- To get the Ziploc bag ready to frost your cupcakes, start with the bag open and, using a spatula, transfer the frosting into the Ziploc bag.
- Push the frosting towards one corner of the bag. Using scissors, cut the corner of the bag to the size of the “tip” you want it to be. Keep in mind the corner of the Ziploc bag will expand into a circle once you cut the corner, so don’t cut it too far up unless you want a huge tip.
- Point the corner of the Ziploc bag with the frosting down towards the cupcake and squeeze the frosting out in a circle, or, if looking for a smoother dome, press the corner of the bag gently against the middle of the cupcake and squeeze, while simultaneously holding the bag down so the frosting forms around the “tip” and creates a nice circle on top of the cupcake.
2 – Go Old School With a Knife
A knife is one of the simplest methods to frost a cupcake. A knife is simple to use, readily accessible, and does not need much time.
But, using the knife to produce a crisp and precise appearance takes time and care.
How to use it:
- Using a knife or a silicone spatula, scoop desired amount of frosting onto cupcake (it doesn’t matter what the frosting looks like at this point, it’s okay if it just looks like a huge glob on the cupcake, you’ll smooth it out later).
- Take the knife and smooth out the frosting to form an even layer on top of the cupcake, moving the frosting until it reaches the edge of the cupcake. If this looks good enough to you, great. You can even form a little swirl on top of the frosting using your knife for a better effect.
- For a more bakery-style cupcake, at this point take your knife and tilt it so it’s almost vertical, but at a slight angle away from you at the edge of the cupcake. Move the knife around the cupcake to form a flat edge of frosting around the edge of the cupcake.
3 – Dipping the Cupcake
This frosting process is arguably the simplest and least time-consuming. This method is the simplest, especially if you’re using ganache or a thin liquid icing.
There isn’t much mess, no special equipment is required, and it looks excellent. The main disadvantage of this procedure is that it will not work with a thicker buttercream mixture.
For an example, see this video about the 9:20 mark:
How to do it:
- Line your cupcakes up on a baking rack with a sheet pan underneath (to catch the dripping frosting). Set your frosting in a big bowl next to your cupcakes.
- One by one, take your cupcakes by the bottom, holding them firmly in your hand, and dip them into your frosting mixture cake side down. Make sure the entire dome of the cupcake is covered.
- Swirl around to coat the cupcake, and remove the cupcake from the frosting, letting it drip. In one smooth motion, turn the cupcake right side up and put it back on the baking rack.
4 – Cookie Dough Scooper
This piping technique is straightforward and enjoyable. The advantages of utilizing a cookie dough scooper are that it is quick and simple.
The disadvantages of using a cookie dough scooper include that it is messy and involves the use of various instruments, including a scooper and a knife to smooth out the icing.
How to use it:
- Using the cookie dough scooper, scoop out the frosting. Release the scoop of frosting onto the middle of the cupcake.
- Use a knife to smooth out the frosting in whichever way you like, similar to the ways in which you would frost a cupcake using the knife method.
Using a pipe tip isn’t always practical. Are you prepared to frost those dang cupcakes without one?
Try these ways out. You’ll be making stunning, bakery-worthy cupcakes in no time.
Are you looking for more cupcake hacks? Let me to demonstrate some innovative techniques to fill your cupcakes without using a tool, as well as some easy ways to prepare icing without the primary components!