Cupcake decorating part 2

IMG_PF CC pink 2

I am ready with cupcake decorating part 2 and this is all about my favourite cupcake recipes.

Let us start with the cupcakes that I have received most questions about, the pink cupcakes (top picture in this post). It is all about the dome.

My best way to get a dome on cupcakes is not to cream the butter and the sugar, but to whisk the eggs and sugar and melting the butter with the milk, thats about it. Of course this method will change the texture of the cupcake to a more light and airy cupcake, but if the cupcake is going to be dipped in poured fondant this method is perfect.

That means, that with one recipe I can get “two” kinds of cupcakes. So what recipe is it then? It is the great vanilla cupcake recipe  from Joy of Baking, a fantastic baking site with many great cake and cupcake recipes btw. Other cupcake recipes can of course also make great domes but when it comes to poured fondant, vanilla cupcakes is my fave to choose.

So let me show you how this recipe works. First line a cupcake (muffin) pan with cupcake paper cases. Here I have used the “wonder” cupcake paper cases which are a bit higher than the more common ones. This also means that it takes a bit more batter, so you may only end up with 9 or 10 cupcakes instead of the normal 12 cupcakes.

Cupcake baking 1

Domed vanilla cupcakes:

1. Warm the milk with the butter so that the butter melts and set aside to cool down if too hot.

2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy with the electric handheld mixer. Be careful not to whisk for too long as this can give to many air bubbles.

3. Mix in the milk and butter mixture.

4. Add the dry ingrediens and mix it all just until smooth and with no flour lumps.

This batter is more liquid, so I transfer the batter into a pitcher and pour it in to the paper cases. You can use a spoon to catch any batter drips there may come. Normally I would fill my paper cases 3/4 full with batter. If you only fill 3/4 with this vanilla recipe (egg & sugar), it will still make a nice little dome. But here I have added a little more batter about 2-3 tsp extra. This gives me, a higher dome and the cupcake rise as close as it can to the top of the paper cases. This also makes it easier to get a nice cover with the poured fondant. Place the cupcake (muffin) pan in the middle of the oven and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.

This is how they looked today when I baked them…..Beautiful right? (I know that ovens can vary and some gets good results and some not. I can of course not promise that you will get high domes, but I do hope that you will be lucky).

cupcake baking 2

During baking there can be some “vulcanos” in between, but that can easy be fixed the minute you take them out of the oven, by simply smoothing the cupcakes with the back of a spoon. This can also happen with the “original” method.

Just to show how nice they dome I have sliced two of them. The one on the left is the “egg & sugar” and the one on the right is the “butter & sugar”. By looking there may not be the big difference but in taste there is as the right ones are more moist. Remember that these cupcakes are best on the day they are baked. I’ve stored them for 1 day and they will get a little sticky on the top, but still ok in taste. If you need to store them longer I would brush them lightly with a sugar syrup.

Cupcake baking 6

Other favourite cupcake recipes:

banana cupcakes

One bowl chocolate cupcakes

One last note: For more firm batter a ice cream scooper (size 16), is a perfect tool to scoop the batter into the cupcake paper cases and less messy.

If you like to read the other parts about my cupcake decorating, you can find them here:

Cupcake decorating part 1
Cupcake decorating part 3
Cupcake decorating part 4

Happy Caking



  1. thank you so much for this method. i found the recipe that you cited for this article a bit heavy for my taste, but tried your method with a different recipe, and it worked like a charm. bravo to you!

  2. Goodness this fondant icing was very difficult, it keeps running, so I thickened it but then it wasn’t glossy eventually out of 9 cup cakes I got 1 perfect, 2 OK and the other 2 will have to do! Don’t think I will be using this method again to time consuming 🙁 .

  3. hello luise i try this recipe past week 4 my daugther b-day
    they come out exelent dome but kind a dry and 4 my test need more sweet ..
    but exelent recipe keep this one 4 me :)…..
    patty amezola 🙂

  4. Fantastic recipe, and brilliant tutorial. Cakes are perfect little domes just like in your photo!

    Thank you so much for sharing

  5. I love this recipe, it’s my new favorite! My one concern is, that some people said it was a little dry. What do you suggest to make it a little more moist? Maybe a little oil or shortening?

    • I always brush/soak the cupcakes with sugar syrup. I personally don’t find them dry when I use them with a poured fondant top. If it is with BC or fondant I make them by creaming butter and sugar and not the other way.

  6. Love your page Louise, even when some of them have to have some changes for our weather in Venezuela, always in summer or raining, never too cold.

    • Do you mean stopping the poured fondant from being wet? Cupcakes decorated with PF should be stored in a cardboard cake box where it’s not 100% air tight or the moisture from the PF and the cupcake will soften the PF.

  7. Thank you sooo much for sharing this recipe and your tips! The best “dome” I have ever had and I have made thousands of cupcakes!

  8. Thank you so very much for these excellent tutorials. I will definitely try this. I am a beginner when it comes to making cupcakes, so I really appreciate these tutorials very much. Yours are absolutely gorgeous!

  9. Hi Louise! Thanks so much for sharing your favorite cupcake recipe, I tried it out and although mine had a crack down the middle, they were great cupcakes to work with, very easy to decorate. I also blogged about it. Just thought I’d let you know 🙂

  10. I tried this method on my Banana Cupccake and they came out with a perfect dome. 🙂 Thank you very much. I just mixed the eggs, sugar and vanilla until they are well mixed.

    One question, would cake flour works better than the all purpose flour in the Vanilla cupcake recipe?

  11. Hi really love ur blog….may I know roughly how long do I have to wisk the egg with sugar? is it on high speed?


  12. I’ve been researching the issue with flat tops for 7 months now. Sometimes I get domes sometimes I don’t….argh! And I’m using the same receipe, too. Even with my chocolate cc sometimes high other times flat muffin tops with a out edge. Although I was going to try this but since you mentioned they won’t be moist and light, then my hunt continues. However in my trials, I did find that a lower oven temp can’t hurt and the most important tip let the batter rest in the pan. I found this out by accident while I was waiting for my cake to bake, after 40 minutes I throw it my cupcakes and for the first time EVER I got a perfect batch of domed cupcakes with no rejects!!!! I WAS THRILLED! However my chocolate cc this weekend had flat top with an outer edge, granted I only let them rest for 15 minutes but it totally sucks when this happens. p.s. love your site!

  13. Hi Louis,
    Questions :
    *** 2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy with the electric handheld mixer. Be careful not to whisk for too long as this can give to many air bubbles ***
    Could you tell me for how long and with which mixer speed you whisk the eggs and sugar ?
    Do you whisk untill light and pale colour like making the traditional sponge cake roll ???

    Thank you in advance

  14. hi Louise
    Thanks for this Great Site!! i Love all the tutorials As i am a hobby baker but would like to dry my Hand at cake decorating.
    I have the Same qu As Seyi about how to increase the Vanille cupcake recipe so that i can get 12 cupcakes and not 8. Does 1just double the recipe?
    also i have a cupcake recipe that i always use (very similar to the Vanille cupcake recipe) i should Be able to use my recipe and Mix it the E&S way do you think?

    I also noticed that you said you Mix in the flour with the mixer, if you fold in the flour by hand does this not give the mixture a fluffier texture?

    Whilst typing this MSG my 1st try of the Dome cupcakes were in the oven and they just turned out beauitful dispite a couple with small bubble breaks.
    Thanks again for the E&S method.

  15. I used this for my mushroomcc’s and it really added to the visual effect! Thanks so much for your tip.

    Here in Belgium the baking fenomenon is just getting started, so there isn’t a lot of information available yet.

  16. Hi Louise, I found your website yesterday and love it! I tried these domed cupcakes today..with not much success! They were VERY domed and wonky…and not smooth like yours – they had quite a stodgy texture…Im not sure what I did wrong..but like you say, practice makes perfect! Looby xx

  17. Hi again,
    you said you use BC method for your regular CC. So are the domed cupcakes only good for poured fondant, while flat CC are good for swirls, plagues with toppers, etc or can you pipe swirls on domed CC
    look forward to your response

  18. Hi Louise, I love your website. I want to use the joy of baking vanilla website and also want to use the high wall muffin cases.
    How do I get 12 cupcakes as the batter will not be enough?
    Do I have to scientifically add on more butter, sugar and flour in the right ratios,
    thanks look forward to your answer.

  19. for the pretty pink cupcakes with the rose on top, did you use rolled fondant or poured to dip the cupcake into?

  20. Pankake: Thsi happens to me aswell and I would say that it is the oven that is the problem. When I bake sometime all comes out great and sometimes some comes out like you describe. You can try to bake a lower temp. I only bake my CC at 170C & no fan.

  21. Hi There,

    Thank you so much for sharing this tip with us. I did it and my cupcakes had a gorgeous dome. The only problem I had was that that it didn’t dome in the centre but slanted to one side of the cupcake (so it was off centre). Have you come across this before? Or would you know what I did wrong and how I can correct it?

    Thanks again for all your wonderful tips.

  22. Ewa: I can see your point. Like I wrote in the post I suggest the E&S method for making cupcakes with poured fondant. Simply because I find it more easy to get a nice coating when the cc is domed. When I use PF I always soak my CC with syrup so they are still nice and moist to bite into. I dont find the B&S good when decorating with PF.

    I do use the B&S for my regular cupcakes 🙂

  23. Louise, you are doing a fantastic job. Your tutorials are addictive and I have been staring at your beautiful creations all morning long! And thank you for sharing your wisdom! You have so so much and I would LOVE to be like you one day!

    I have a question about this post though. In the first paragraph under the picture of your pink cupcakes you say that the best method is not butter and sugar (beating) but egg and sugar (whisking)…then in the paragraph above your cut in half cupcakes you say that the butter and sugar cupcakes on the right are much more moist (I assume this means that they taste better also and are more airy). So I am confused because you recommend egg and sugar at the beginning of the post and then at the end of the post you say that there is a big difference in taste and the butter and sugar are more moist (which is something all bakers would want). So why would you suggest eggs and sugar and not butter and sugar (for their moistness)? They both clearly dome.

  24. Summer: I often only have the problem with the flat top when using vanilla. Never with chocolate recipes. Joy of baking have loads of great recipes and a chocolate cupcake recipe. But you can try and add a little cocoa powder to the flour?

  25. thanks alot for sharing your secrets. I made mini cc using your recipe and technique last night and the domes turned out perfect. Will definately experiment using different recipes again.

  26. ok first i have to say i love all of your tips…but i am still wondering has anyone tried this technique with any other flavor cc? like say chocolate? i have to make 4 dozen chocolate cuppies for a b-day party and really want domed ones but just cant figure out how to do it, they always come out flat….any suggestions?

  27. Elny:

    1: You can stir it in with the mixer. I always do that.
    2: mixer
    3: Poured fondant cupcakes should be soaked with sugar syrup first. I would say 3 days is the maximum. Fresh made taste just better.
    4: I dont recomend to freeze the cupcakes at all. You can if you have too, but not decorated. Also is there a chance that the paper cup loosen from the cc

  28. Hi Louise..

    Thanks for sharing.. if u dont mind, I have some questions..

    1. How do mix i the butter n milk mixture? By hand or mixer? All?
    2. How about the flour? By hand or mixer?
    3. How long can i keep this cupcakes which have been decorated by poured fondant or rolled fondant or buttercream or ganache etc??
    4. Can i freezed it?? The one hasn’t been decorated or has been decorated.

    Thanks once again for yr kindness and times..


  29. Rosie: Have you tried to make it the “real” way and not the way that I have described? Though I dont think that this is one of those light textured cupcake recipes.

  30. Thanks for the tip, Louise. I made these cupcakes and they turned out with perfect domes! However, the cupcake itself was too dense for my taste. Any tips on how to make it light and fluffy?

  31. I love this recipe as I am a keen baker and always struggle with getting a nice shape to the cupcakes. I just tried the recipe and it does work very well, however, in my case I also need better cake cases and a better tray to bake them in! The tray is shallow and cake cases spread so I end up with a wide, low cake 🙁 They did form a nice dome with this recipe though and I think that if I get better cases and a deeper tray, the cupcakes will be perfect. Thanks! 🙂

  32. Louise, you are God send. For the longest time, I went around asking how people can give such nice dome shaped cupcake, but my effort failed till you come along.

    Love you to bits.

  33. Thank you louise for the recipe,I will try to get the joy of baking in the future and see if I will be successful.I have the Cake Journal as a shortcut on the desk top and appreciate all the effort and time you put into this site.It is truly a pleasure to visit here

  34. Sandra: I dont have any problems with the Joy of Baking site. But here is the recipe:

    Vanilla Cupcakes:
    (Makes about 12 cupcakes)

    1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

    2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar

    3 large eggs

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Zest of 1 large lemon (optional)

    1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

    Vanilla Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and lightly butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

    For the Cupcakes: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

    In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

    With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

    Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

    Read more:

  35. I cannot connect to joy of baking website to get the vanilla cupcake recipe.Internet keeps aborting and will not allow page to open .Does anyone else have this happen? Can you please submit the recipe for these cupcakes as my attempts to obtain them are futile

  36. Judy: I always make my fondant decor days in advance. It may be a little hard on the outside but often still soft on the inside. But often people dont eat the decor.

  37. Great work Louise! I am rather passionate about cupcake decoration too. Love working with fondant. Not greasy and messy. Your photos inspire me helluva lot. Thanks for revealing the “dome” secret. Sometimes I like to fashion some fondant decos ready but hesitate because I don’t know whether they would be still edible a fortnite later. Any advice on this please? Glad I found your blog!

  38. Cupcaked: im not sure that it will work with other recipes? I have not tried it out I must say. If you should make chocolate CC’s this way I would start out with only to use cocoa powder and not melted chocolate.

  39. thank you so much for this recipe these cup cakes are wonderful my question is can you use this technique for other recipes and if so how? i love the dome effect on these and i have tried making chocolate cupcakes and many others and i just simply can’t get them to turn out anywhere near how these do

  40. Thank you so much louise,
    I will try your recipe soon. my recipe seems vary every time sometimes dome sometimes not. your cupcake looks very pretty.

  41. Louise thank you so much for the tutorial, I tried the recipe today as you suggested melting the butter and warming them both (butter and milk) they came out perfectly domed and without a crack. I will have to work on slowly adding the flour to avoid the lumps, thanks now I’ll try the poured fondant on them and see how that works.

  42. hi again, used this method and they turned out super, i melted 75ish g of white choc. with the butter and milk, added 100g ish of blueberries and 75g ish of chopped white choc to the batter before putting em in the trays and they were yummy, topped them with your italian meringue buttercream and they looked fantastic…..

  43. Theresa: I always heat & melt my milk/butter in the MW and sometimes its a little to hot to add in the mixture. Therfor I set it aside until it is lukewarm.

    You are right about the room temp. butter & milk but that is if you are creaming butter and sugar. Whit the other way that I do it I melt the butter and warm up the milk a little.

    Karen: that should be fine yes.

  44. Hi Louise! I’ve read your blog for a couple of months and I love all the tips! I’m just a beginner and have learned a lot here. I had some internet issue and couldn’t add you on my blog, but I’ve already done it, is that ok?
    Have a great day!

  45. Hi Louise!
    I love your work so much! This tutorial is just great! I made my first wedding cake and cupcakes a month ago, and I would not have been able to do that without you. Because of that, I have an award for you over at my blog. I hope you´ll have a great weekend!


  46. Ok, I will probably look like a moron here. Please clarify. “Warm the butter with the milk and set aside till luke warm.” Does this mean in a sauce pan on the stove??? I guess I ask because I am so used to being told add butter at room temp. This is new to me. Thanks.

  47. Diana Miranda: I would suggest you to try and search for sugar free cupcake recipes on google.

    Connie: No its not corn syrup but equal parts of white granulated sugar and water that you cook into a stock syrup.

    Didi: Well you never know 🙂 Maybe I will make a small how to on them and throw it in before part 3.

    dpotter: I have not tried to make these with any extra addings. So you will have to try and see. I would love to know the results.

    Theresa: I have edited that part in the post so please look again, thanks.

    Fabbys: I think cupcakes tend to harden and get dry from being refrigerated. So no I would not do it.

    Kimberly: Im glad that you liked the MMF recipe 🙂

  48. Hi, I just loved the MMF recipe. I used it to make a love bug cake for my 7 year old niece. She loved it and ate the icing first, safe to say a Hit!! Can’t wait to try the cupcakes with this dipped fondant.

  49. Wow, you may have solved my dilemma I am a girl that believes cupcakes should have domes. Amazing you figured out how to guarantee this. My question is I don’t understand exactly what Iam supposed to be doing with the milk and butter. Do I melt the butter to a liquid state and combine it with the milk. Do I leave it out till room temperature and then mix the two together? Please explain. I am excited to try this recipe.

  50. thanks louise, these look super! im wondering if i could add blueberries and white chocolate to your recipe, would it effect the rise in em?

  51. Hi Louise – I love love love your baking creations. Those cupcakes are soooo adorable! Will you do a cupcake decorating part 3 and show how you make the cute little rose bud toppers?

  52. Thanks so much for all you secrets! I struggle with cupcakes. My recipes all turn out differently and I never know if they will have a dome or flat top. You have solved many mysteries for me!

  53. It’s rare that I make and give cupcakes all in the same day so I know about the sticky problem. I have not heard of the syrup technique. Does it change the taste? Are you talking about corn syrup??
    Thanks – love your blog!

  54. Thank you so much for the wonderful tip! I had not heard of this recipe variation before, and I will deffinatley try it on some cupcakes I plan on making for a birthday party next month!

  55. I will certainly try this recipe one day.
    Thanks a lot for mentioning Joy of Baking. It is a wonderful webpage. And I am on a diet ! grrrr
    ho ho

  56. Wow, that is really interesting!! I love comparisons. I personally prefer a fluffier texture so this is even better because your method will also get the nicely domed top!

  57. My mother and 3 sisters are Diabetic, can you help me with a sugar free cupcake recipe, or any home made cake.?
    I love your webpage it helps a lot.
    Thanks Diana from Puerto Rico

  58. PERFECT! Thank you for providing this beautiful, helpful site. I learn so much from each Cake Journal-I save them! You are so talented-I appreciate you sharing your helpful lessons.

  59. Thanks Louise for sharing you’re baking secrets with us!
    I’m going to give these 3 recipes a try! Hoping for the same effect as you created !

    take care,


  60. I love Joy of baking and have tried many recipes. I just bought a book called “baking from scratch in half the time” and it also has great recipes.


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