Cupcake decorating part 3


The waiting is over as I am here with my cupcake decorating part 3. My first thought was that this would be the last of my little personal good to know about (my) cupcakes posts. But as this is all about buttercream domes and fondant discs, I have decided to make an extra part 4 with focus on the swirls. I hope you done mind that?

Previous posts part 1 & 2:
Cupcake decorating part 1
Cupcake decorating part 2

So today’s post is about how you can turn a “flat” cupcake into a pretty domed cupcake perfect for a fondant disc. If you dont like a buttercream dome, you could then bake some cupcakes using the great vanilla cupcake recipe that will make a beautiful dome and the need for buttercream is very small, if you want to decorate with a fondant disc.

You can of course substitute the buttercream with a chocolate ganache. Only make sure that you use 1 part cream and 2 parts of chocolate, as this ratio sets perfectly overnight without the need for refrigerating (btw, I got the tip from this excellent dvd). You will have to chill the buttercream dome, to decorate it with fondant. But we’re not talking about hours of refrigerating as this can make the cupcakes dry, but it will make the fondant part much more easy and less messy. I hope that the next steps will help you how to do it. Again it is all about practice.

How to make a buttercream dome.

Step 1:


The only tool you will need to make a buttercream dome is an offset spatular and of course some buttercream or chocolate ganache. Take your cupcake and a small amount of buttercream on your offset spatular. Apply it to the cupcake like I have on the photo. Make sure that you have your bowl of buttercream close to you, because you may add and remove buttercream as you go.

Step 2:


Go anti-clockwise with your spatular, while you are building up a short top of buttercream, but do not go all the way out to the paper case. It do not need it to be very smooth at this point, as you will need to add 1 more thin layer of buttercream. Try and keep the paper case clean from the buttercream. Place the cupcake in the refrigerator and start with the next cupcake. By the time you have made 3-4 cupcakes, the first one should be firm and ready for the final layer.

Step 3:


Apply the last thin layer of buttercream. Here you apply buttercream all the way to the paper case. Then chill again and with a warm spatular smooth the buttercream dome. Depending on how many cupcakes your are making, place the cupcake back in the refrigerator until you are ready to decorate with the fondant top.

Ok, so now you should hopefully have made some nice buttercream domes on your cupcakes and they are now ready for the fondant discs. I show it here with embossed fondant, but you can of course skip the embossing and just cut out the discs.

Decorating cupcakes with rolled fondant.

Step 1:


Roll out your fondant (3-4mm thick) and try to roll it out so that you can cut out more fondant discs at a time. Dust some cornstarch on your work area, take your embosser and dip it in the cornstarch. Then tap the embosser to get rid of excess cornstarch.

Step 2:


Now take your embosser and emboss the fondant randomly over the entire piece of fondant. Be careful not to cut right through the fondant with the embosser. If there are any white cornstarch dust on the embossed piece of fondant. Then use a brush to remove it.

Step 3:


Take a round cookie cutter (3 1/16″ -78mm. This works for me) and cut out the round fondant discs. Store the rest in a plastic bag, to prevent them from drying out.

Step 4:


Now take the top between your fingers and carefully pull and stretch the discs a little.


Take a cupcake and place it on top of the buttercream dome. Gently smooth out any pleats with the palm of your hand and your cupcake is finished.

Step 5:


If you should wonder how much buttercream there is under the fondant disc then here is a “cut through” photo.


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

Cupcake decorating part 1
Cupcake decorating part 2
Cupcake decorating part 4

Happy Caking!



  1. Hi,

    I am new to cupcake decorating and your tips are just amazing and extremely helpful. I am a fast learner and like the straight to the point tips to get me moving. Just wanted to say thank you and I look forward to more of your helpful tips and tricks!


  2. hi you said: 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. for the cup cake recipe- would this method work on any cup cake recipe? as ive got a nice cupcake recipe already.

    Also what buttercream recipe did you use on the cupcakes before you put the sugarpaste on top? (the white buttercream) was it the italian meringue buttercream recipe or the white meringue frosting recipe?


    • I have not tried it with other cupcake recipes, only the one that I have linked to in to post. I always use italian meringue buttercream ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. hi I love your blog, I alwasy wondered how to decorate cup cakes like that. what buttercream icing did you use? can you give me the recipe?

  4. what a great blog that you have, i have always wanted to know how to do the dome cupcakes, as I am making retirement cupcakes and this would be ideal,ย  how do you make your butter cream for these??

  5. I have finally found a post that shows me how to make these amazing domes! Will most certainly be having a go! Thank you so much for sharing this tip. Am loving all your other tutorials. They are really helping a novice like me!

  6. I will be making 200 cupcakes for a wedding. Since I will not be able to make them all in one day, should I freeze them? If so, should I frost them first or on the day of the wedding? Thanks.

    • Sorry if this comes late. I am not a fan of freezing cupcakes, but of course that can be a solution. The problem with freezing is that the cupcake paper may loosen from the cake itself. So you may need to place them a new paper case, if not using a cupcake wrapper. I would frost them on the day of the wedding.

  7. Thank you, Thank you! Before reading this, I purchased the Wilton fondant you roll out. Can that be placed on top of these? Or is it better to use that with domes made of buttercream? Thanks!

  8. Thank you, Thank you! Before reading this, I purchased the Wilton fondant you roll out. Can that be placed on top of these? Or is it better to use that with domes made of buttercream? Thanks!

  9. Wow. It is my first time to read CakeJournal, and I just want to say, Louise you are so amazing. Your site is such a great help. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Can I use swiss meringue buttercream under the fondant? Can I use the MMF recipe you have on your site for this type of decorating?

  11. Hiya, i tried this recipe and was wondering how long you whisk the eggs and sugar? Does it have to form a trail? I got good domes but there were cracks and some went a bit sideways, any advice to stop this?
    Thanks for the recipe!

  12. I love this about decorating cupcakes with fondant… Looks easy and inspiring.. can’t wait to bake and decorate like this my own… Long live cakejournal…!!!

  13. Thank you so much for the tip about lining cake tins, the idea is so effective that i rely on it. Continue rocking on technques for cake deco.

  14. Hi! Thanx so much for the tutorial for lining cake tins, your tip is so effective and I rely on it. Continue rocking the about your techneques they are so educational.

  15. I stumbled across your website a few days ago, and I must tell you that this is the cutest and most informative website I’ve seen! I love to bake but my passion is in event planning, and all that goes into the details of creating everything from invites to centerpieces. Your website gives me so much inspiration and now I’m wanting to try my hand at the cupcake decorating! I think it would be an added bonus for me with my event planning. I’ve been steadily building clientele(many repeat customers) and eventually want to make it full time. I thank you so much for sharing your expertise because it really encourages people that may want to start out but don’t know how, and it is most certainly a great source of inspiration. Thanks a million!

  16. Wow, these are so cute! You are very talented Lousie! I have a question and if you have the time to answer I would be very grateful ๐Ÿ˜€
    Do you know any good stores in Copenhagen that sell stuff for cupcakes and cakes? Such as papercases and more?

  17. you’re the best! love it!!

    as a tip to gilah and others who asked about fondant “sweating” or getting sticky– i put my fondant on at the very last minute that i can before giving them to customers, which will reduce the chance of it sweating/getting sticky. agreed with louise, airtight containers make them sticky– the moisture gets all trapped up and can’t evaporate. so, either keep the buttercream and fondant separate for as long as possible, or store in a cardboard box in a cool place!


  18. thanks for the tip, I had put them in my cupcake holder, and it was only for a couple of hours, I guess next time I make ’em and everyone eats ’em straight away!!!

  19. gilah: Well it depends on how you store the cupcakes. I tried to store some overnight in my cupcake courier and that made the fondant all sticky. Airthight boxes make them soggy. Try a cardboard box instead. Also it depends on for how long you are keeping them before eating.

  20. tried making cupcakes similar to this and I found that the fondant went “soggy” because of the buttercream under it, any ideas about that? your tutorials are great by the way!!! thanks

  21. HE: I do have a light box but I sont have the proper lightning for that so right now I set my Canon on Quality/RAW+L this is really good and then I have Photoshop elements. I dont use flash.

  22. What an excellent tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing. BTW, your photos look great. Do you use a light box to take pictures? I’m struggling to take good snaps of my cakes ๐Ÿ™

  23. To all of you who have made a comment about the teddy embosser, I can tell that it comes in a set from Patchwork cutters and is called: “Make a cradle” there is an even smaller teddy embosser in that set. I only bought it because of the sweet teddy bears.

    Eileen: to get rid of the flossy edge on cut out fondant. You need to cut out and then without lifting the cutter make circular movements. This will remove the flossy edge. Hope that makes sense?

    Lynn: like becky’s comment I would try and look for greaseproff cupcake liners. I have link to them in the cupcake decorating part 2

    Cindy: I have linked to them in this post, after reading your comment ๐Ÿ™‚

    oatc: use single cream for the ganache.

    Gerry: no mine did not start to sweat because I took them out after they were firm and then the bc got a little soft again. Hmm not sure that they are that nicely ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Toi: well I too dont think that I would do this to 200 cc Pheew!

    Sugar Sassy: well I do have a lightbox but I did not use it for these photos. I have a Canon 400D EOS and I always take my photos in RAW. Dont use flash and use daylight whenever possible.

  24. I am very touched by your open wllingness to share your knowledge with just anyone for FRee. And I am very impressed with what I have seen so far. Thank you so much.

  25. What an excellent tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing. BTW, your photos look great. Do you use a light box to take pictures? I’m struggling to take good snaps of my cakes ๐Ÿ™

  26. Thank you so much for the instructions. I have always wanted to know how these were done so perfectly. I have an upcoming order for 200 cupcakes in Nov. But I don’t think I will be doing this to them, lol. I would need lots of practice 1st. Thanks Louise.

  27. Hi Louise,
    After reading all the three parts of your cupcakes decorating, I had tried my first fondant cupcakes yesterday. I would like to say “Thank you” for your generously sharing. Please come to my blog and have a look.

  28. These are absolutely beautiful, thanks for sharing. I have just ONE question, as fondant will “sweat” if put on chilled buttercream… did yours come out so nicely?? I

  29. Thank you again Louise! Receiving your emails is like receiving a present! I am always so excited to open your emails and I am left so happy with the gift you give (your talent). This is a brilliant tutorial. One question if I want to use ganache instead of buttercream, do I use single or double cream to make it? I am so excited that you are doing a tutorial on buttercream swirls. Am so looking forward to your next post.

  30. Help! Louise you are the Baking Guru, indeed!! However, now that I have become addicted, Iโ€™m stumped because I cannot find connecting articles on your site. After reading this one (Cupcake Decorating Part 3) I turned to the tutorials section and was at a complete loss when I couldnโ€™t find Part 1 or Part 2. Please help, or Iโ€™ll be wandering around for days bumping into walls like a lost PacMan game piece. ๐Ÿ˜€ (And thanks so very much for all that you so willingly and generously share!) o:-)

  31. CONNIE RIDLER: The first 2 parts are already posted on this site. If you go back to the homepage and scroll way down, you’ll find part 2 (dated August 18), then you must click NEXT, to bring you to the next page…there you’ll find part 1, right at the top.

  32. I’m on a low carb diet, and this is KILLING me ๐Ÿ™‚ So, so pretty!!! Next Sunday, I have a big meeting at my house. I am going to make these cupcakes, Louise!!!

    I have a question for you: on these cupcakes, you cover first with buttercream then fondant. On the dipped fondant, you cover the cupcakes with apricot syrup first. Can you dip a buttercream covered cupcake in the dipped fondant? (Yes, I like buttercream…)

    Also, Lynn: many cake supply stores sell cupcake papers that are opaque.

  33. This is awesome. I am decorating cupcakes tomorrow for a photo and was going to try this method without instructions(try to figure it out in my head). Amazing how things just work out sometimes. Thanks Louise.

  34. I think you must be a decorating genius!One question I’ve got is about the paper cases..I don’t like how the cake shows through the paper and often bake them individually, placing them into paper cases when they are iced. The glassine papers didn’t seem to help. Any tips from anyone here?

  35. I LOVE your tutorials! You inspire me to try all these recipes and I’ve found some great keepers :). I can’t wait to try these cupcakes for my daughters first birthday this week :). Thank you!!!

  36. Hello there, I am new on this site, I have to make forty cup cakes for Monday afternoon. I missed the first two sessions of your tutorial, is there any chance that you could re submit it to the computer. I love the teddy bear idea and would like to use it, I am not sure what else you have done. Awaiting to hear, thank you from Connie Cupcake

  37. Thank you so much for the instructions! I’ve read a lot of decorating books, but never seen instructions like this, and just thought my flat cupcakes were doomed to stay flat. Your instructions are perfect!

  38. Ahh…. now I understand the importance of the dome, it’s not merely a question of personal preference. I was having trouble with fondant in that there were often gaps between the fondant edge and the cupcake paper I had tried buying different size of cutters, and even brought a set of crinkle circle cutters which were better. Your picture of the cut-through cake illustrated it perfectly, doing a dome creates an optical illusion that hides the gap between the fondant and the paper.

  39. Louise, I love your tutorials! You make everything look so easy. Cute fondant embosser. Do you have any websites you can recommend for buying them?

  40. thanks for a wonderful and detailed tutorial. always wondered how on earth you could get a design like that on fondant. am so looking forward to you tutorial on swirls. thanks for sharing your talents!!

  41. wow.. thanks so much for this tip! i always wondered how you could get such nice domed cupcakes! i never knew it was cream underneath! love your art! keep up the good work!


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