Fancy Cupcakes: Super Easy!

While looking back at 2010 posts, I realized that many of my friends and family have asked me about my cupcakes. I thought I would post this again in case you are up for sharing some cupcakes at New Year’s or for any upcoming birthdays.
I am definitely not a baker!!! I wish I were the girl who could whip up a birthday cake or a mean batch of cookies from scratch. That just isn’t me. Is anyone else out there a “baker from the box?” I know my limitations! But that doesn’t mean they can’t be pretty. So here are some tips for making your cupcakes look much fancier than they really are { no one needs to know they are straight from a box, right!}
Secret #1: Flavor your icing so that it tastes homemade
For the cupcakes pictured above, add two drops of peppermint extract to your icing. This gives it a nice mint flavor and doesn’t taste store bought! Awesome on dark chocolate cupcakes. You could also add almond or vanilla extract depending on your flavor choice!
Secret #2: Pipe your icing on with a plastic bag
Even when using store bought icing, stir it until smooth and put it in a zip lock bag. Squeeze it all to one corner, snip the end of the bag with scissors and use it to pipe the icing on top of your cupcake. The larger the snip, the wider the stream of icing. Only ice the very top so you can see some of the cupcake. Also, once you start icing one cupcake, keep the pressure constant on the bag and be sure there is enough icing. Otherwise, you will get not so pretty air bubbles in your icing.
Secret #3: Add something simple to the top
Use one piece of fruit on top. The green mint leaf is always a nice touch as well! The green looks great with a blueberry, too.
Secret #4:  You Don’t Need a Fancy Cupcake Carrier
You don’t need one of those fancy plastic cupcake carriers! If you are taking them somewhere, keep them in the pan {like above} and then transfer to a nice serving dish once you arrive.
Secret #5: Add a Sprinkle of Something to the Top
Add a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg to the top of your cupcake. Especially yummy on spice or pumpkin cupcakes for the holidays!
                                                   Here are some fun cupcake ideas from Martha Stewart.
                                       Pretty darn cute to arrange them in a shape and vary the frosting color.

                                      And fun sprinkles atop the icing would be great for New Year’s Eve.                 Yes, please!!!! A cupcake with a mini brownie on top. How cute are those and so yummy! Do you have any fun tips for making desserts look fancier than they really are? Do share! I think adding some gold flakes to the top for New Year’s would be incredible.


  1. says

    These cupcakes look so pretty, Courtney. I am giving a bridal shower for my niece and she's a cupcake fanatic so I am going to use your great tips. I love the gold flakes idea. Some times I bake by scratch but a lot of times I am straight out of the box for cupcakes and cakes. I think they taste just as good!

  2. says

    My daughter loves cupcakes and I am always looking for ideas for her class, treats or parties.
    She also loves strawberries and I almost made them for Christmas Eve with strawberries on top for her.
    These are beautiful and yum with the rich chocolate!
    Thanks for sharing. I will be making them. The tips are great!

  3. says

    Oh I'm totally a baker out of the box! PAlease! Most of the time people don't know the difference, so what's the point LOL

    Your tips are absolutely fantastic! I like to take pre-made cookies and attach them to lollipop sticks with melted chocolate and dip them in melted icing…everyone always thinks I was in the kitchen for hhoouurrss : )


  4. says

    Cupcakes are one of my very favorite things…I love baking them- mostly from the box (Funfetti anyone?!)- but also fun to do it by scratch sometimes. These ideas are the best…still from the box but your recipients wouldn't know it! You rock (:

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