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An intro to four basic cupcake swirls that anyone can do.
Now I’m no expert on piping and cake decorating but you might think so if you saw my cupboards. I finally got around to organizing my kitchen cupboards and all of my pastry odds and ends and man oh man do I have a lot of stuff. So after making a batch of frosting, I decided maybe I would post about some basic cupcake swirls.
Whenever I bring cupcakes somewhere, people always ask what bakery did I get them at? Those swirls are perfect, I hear. Ok, feels pretty good to hear that. Not going to lie. What’s funny to me is how perfectly simple the swirls are. With just couple tips and a pastry bag your cupcakes can be “bakery worthy”.
Now I’m not going to say it won’t take practice. It will. And not every cupcake will come out prefect every time. Don’t give up. Even now, after many cupcakes later I, once in a while, will scrape off the frosting and start over. Failure is OK.
To achieve a great swirl, you want to start on the outside and work your way in building as you go. For a step by step photo, check out this link. Or this you tube video, gotta love the accent.
The four basic swirls I flip flop between are the French method. This is achieved using a Ateco French star tip. I only use Ateco tips. There are definitely other pastry tip brands out there but it is just the brand I prefer. It really is a matter of preference.
The second swirl I use quite a bit is this one. This look gets achieved using a plain pastry tip (again Ateco is my go to). There are definitely different size plain pastry tubes, so play around with which one you like. I tend to gravitate towards a slightly larger opening. How much frosting comes out will also depend on how much pressure you apply to the pastry bag.
The third pastry tip, the closed star, (personally my favorite) will get you two different looks, the classic “icecream swirl” as I tend to call it. Or a beautiful rose on top of your cupcake. The difference is in where you start your swirl. To get the “ice-cream swirl’ effect, start on the edge of your cupcake and work your way in building up as you go. For the rose look, start in the middle and work your way outwards staying in a circle as you go.
For a great set, which includes all these tips and a couple more for an unbelievable price, check out this set. For a little bit more money, but more versatility and bigger sizes, this always a great set too. Whatever you choose, get yourself some pastry bags and get piping! Perfect looking cupcakes comes from practice practice and more practice! Happy piping 🙂
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