“The cupcake is like a little black dress — it never goes out of style. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ‘accessorize’ the bite-sized treat to perfectly fit your party or special occasion.” – Kim Conte
Kim hit the nail right on the head. What makes a good cupcake isn’t just the cake itself, but the frosting pipped on top of it. Frosting and cake already have a somewhat complicated relationship when considering the balancing of flavors and having one bring out the best in the other.
But, just as important as getting the right flavor combination is finding the right frosting recipe. One that is light, fluffy, and, of course, easy to pipe with. Which is why I’m providing you with my top three staple frosting recipes that are not only delicious but turn out beautiful results when used for piping.
1. Cream Cheese Frosting from Just a TasteEveryone loves a good cream cheese frosting. It tastes great on top of almost any cupcake (e.g. banana, carrot, red velvet), but it really tastes its best straight out of the bowl. This specific recipe requires the use of heavy whipping cream. Make sure that the the cream you use contains at least 36% butterfat (or milkfat), that ensures that the frosting will come out fluffy and keep its form after piping. I made the mistake of using a whipping cream below 36% and my frosting turned out way too watery. If you’re not sure on which brand of heavy whipping cream to use, Borden Farms makes a good one and so does McArthur.
2. Chocolate Frosting from Joy of BakingEveryone knows that the best thing to put on top of a chocolate cupcake is, of course, more chocolate! These instructions will have you melt 4 oz. of unsweetened cocoa. Instead of using a microwave try putting the chocolate in a heat safe bowl and placing it on top of a saucepan of bowling water, that way you ensure even melting without running the risk of burning the chocolate. Frosting always makes for a tasty treat and no doubt, this recipe from Joy of Baking sets the “chocolate” bar pretty high.
3. Classic Vanilla Buttercream from Savory Sweet LifeAh, vanilla buttercream. This classic frosting is always reliable, always elegant, and always delicious…if you find the right recipe that is. There are plenty of vanilla buttercream recipes online, but to find one that isn’t watery, and/or greasy, isn’t that simple. I’ve always had trouble making a good vanilla buttercream, so when I found success with this one from Savory Sweet Life, I stuck with it and it hasn’t failed me since. I should also mention that the photo above just proves how versatile vanilla frosting can be by just adding some food coloring.
So there you have it, my top go-to frosting recipes. I hope you’ll give them a try. I would also love to hear what your favorite go-to frosting recipes are so feel free to leave a comment!