Cupcake decorating part 4

Cupcake decorating swirls

This is the last part of my little “cupcake decorating school”. The final part is about how I pipe my swirls on my cupcakes. Not saying that this is the “right” way, but it is the way that works the best for me. There are many different types of swirls to pipe on cupcakes. Often the final result depend on which type of decorating tip you are using.

Please see Cupcake decorating part 1 where I write about the decorating tips.

If you are new on how to pipe swirls on cupcakes or simply just want to perfecting your swirl techniques. Practice is the only way to do it. With some cupcakes and a batch of buttercream you can pipe swirls, scrape off the buttercream and start over again (of course re-using the buttercream)

I have built up the swirl in three parts, to make it more easy to see and hopefully understand 😉 So here goes:

Step 1:
I have used a star tip with a 11mm opening and filled the pipingbag with Italian Meringue Buttercream. I always start at the center of the cupcake (holding the bag at a 90 degree angle). Move the pipingbag to the right and go anticlockwise. While piping its important that you make sure to lift the tip slightly or it will ruin the star pattern while you pipe. Pipe close to the cupcake paper edge.

Piping swirls on cupcakes 1

Piping swirls on cupcakes 2

Tip: You can make a more flat swirl by finishing at the center again. Going only 1 round.

Step 2:
After a whole round, pipe a new round on top of the first.

Piping swirls on cupcakes 3

Piping swirls on cupcakes 4

Step 3:
Pipe the final round and finish in the center again. Gently pull back the piping tip.

Piping swirls on cupcakes 6

The next photo shows the “built up” swirl to the left and the “real” swirl to the right, that is piped in one go.

Piping swirls on cupcakes 8

Use the same technique for the mini cupcakes, only piping two rounds. I have used a smaller star tip (9mm)

Mini cupcakes with swirls

Remember that practice makes perfect. I can sometimes pipe 10 bad swirls, before I am happy with the results 😉

For those who love the “Wilton roses”. Try this special cupcake flowernail as a helper to pipe the flowers on the cupcake.

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 3

You can also visit my section all about cupcakes.

Happy Caking



  1. What do mean by 9mm tip? I cannot find anything here in the US listed as that size. Do you have the tip number? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Also, when making mini cupcakes, how long do you bake them compared to regular size cupcakes? Thank you!


    • By 9 mm I mean the opening of the tip. I don’t have a tip number as I have bought these piping tips in a store here in Denmark. You can find great piping tips for cupcake swirls here:

      My baking time really depends on what recipe I use. I find that banana cupcakes takes a little longer than a vanilla even if they are mini. But usually the baking time are 5-10 mins shorter. Remember that ovens also bake differently.

  2. These tutorials are wonderful. They are detailed and easy to understand. Do you have any tutorials for other things such as cookies or cakes?

  3. ciao !! complimenti per i tuoi cup cake sono bellissimi!!
    come fai quei bellissimi fiorellini c’è uno stampino adatto? dove posso comprarlo?

  4. Hi There! I’m very much interested to learn baking cup cakes. I just want to ask you if I need to go for formal training or I can just learn easily from online videos and tutorials based from your own experience. Also, can you please tell me where can I possible buy baking and decorating tools as well as thge ingredients for baking cup cakes.
    Many thanks.


    • You can find lots of free tips on baking cupcakes both from YouTube and from most of the cupcake blogs out there. There are also many great cupcake books on the market. Take a look at my Amazon book store where you can find a list only regarding cupcakes. All cake decorating stores have all what you need for baking and decorating but also more special ingredients. The rest can you get from the supermarket.

  5. What is the name of the flower you placed on these cupcakes and how do you make it? The veining work on it makes it beautiful

  6. Hi Louise, I just found your site and love it to bits! I like to bake and take pictures very much myself and have just started my own blog. I’m sure I’ll be able to find a lot of inspirations here. congratz!

    And one question, what if I can’t consume my cupcakes in a day or two? How can I best keep them? Thanks! 🙂

  7. Nadine from usa: You can use ganache under fondant. I would not use whipped cream. Have you tried to mix some buttercream with ganache? Its really nice. I mix it 50/50

  8. Dear louise,
    First, I have learned a lot from your page and your tutorial are very clear and neat. Can you substitute the buttercream with ganache or whipped cream? Somebody mentioned adding piping gel to stabilize it..any thoughts? I just don’t like buttercream at all.

  9. Tammyt: First I would add a little Tylo powder to the gum paste before cutting out the flowers. This helps to firm up the flowers and hold the shape aswell. You cna make the flowers a couple of weeks before and let them dry in the cupboard. I would not put the flowers on the cupcakes before a couple of hours they are being served.

  10. Hi there,
    first of all I`d like to say your blog is beautiful and truly informative! I have a question regarding the gum paste flowers. I am getting married in July and will be making my own cupcakes (small wedding, 30 cupcakes needed). I was planning on doing the butter cream icing and adding gumpaste flowers. How do you keep them from sinking into the butter cream…

  11. hi there.i wondered if you have seen or used a nozzle called french having trouble finding one,its suppose to give the best swirl.thanks

  12. Thanks so much for the tips. I liken piping to golf, you can have a great game one week and the next, it’s like you’ve never played before. I have done some pretty good piping at times, then for some reason it just doesn’t look so good the next time. I also like your flowers. Which cutter have you used?

  13. Your tutorials are fab! Have a question tho-I make a buttercream swirl as above then put a small fondant decoration on top. I store it in a carboard box but when i come to it the next day the fondant decoration is sticky and soggy plus the colour usually runs into the buttercream :s Any advice would be much appreciated!

  14. Hi Louise, I have a question. Does this IMBC frosting withstand heat and humidity? Sounds delicious but I live in Hawaii and am afraid it’ll melt down. Any tips? Thanks! Your blog is AMAZING!!!!

  15. hi, just want to ask you what is a 3/4 oz,1 oz, 2 oz, and 3 oz baking cups? i was looking for medium size baking cups but the store staff told me that they sell by the ounces and does not know what a medium size baking cup is? do you have any idea? they were the only store that sell grease-proof baking cups.

  16. Hi Louise – I’m so glad you’re back!

    Thanks for the icing tutorial – those cupcakes looked so delicious! I’ve got the biggest craving but I don’t think I’ll be able to locate a cupcake with yummy swirly icing at this hour. LOL!

  17. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I never could figure out why my cupcakes didn’t look “picture perfect.”

    Hope you feel better soon and Happy Holidays!!!!

  18. Estan preciosos, ojala y nos sigas enviando tips de decoración. Recomiendame una mu buena revista de tips y dullas para que se me dificulte menos aprender
    pregunta las flores son de betun y cual o naturales
    gracias por todo.

  19. Well no WONDER my swirls look flat…I was only doing one swirl with a smaller star tip. Thank you, Louise, for your wonderful hints. I’m glad you’re feeling better!

  20. So sorry for neglecting the blog for so long. But just as I thought I was recovering, a cold bug hit me right in the face. But a penicillin treatment have really helped. Now I just long to do some Christmas treats and show them to all of you 🙂

    Hugs Louise


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