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Make-a-Cake Series: Cupcakes

Did you see the winner of the Ribbon Retreat +Fabric?  Scroll down or click here.

Also, I mentioned a bit about the Sullenger family and their tragic accident last week.  A song was written for them in honor of their little Preslee and is being sold for $1, here.  All money donated will be given to the Sullenger family to help pay their bills from Preslee’s stay at the Children’s Hospital.
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How could anyone not love cupcakes?
It’s your own little personal cake…with LOTS of frosting. What’s not to love?

Cupcakes are really great by themselves but I really like the option of adding them to serve alongside a cake.

It’s an opportunity to add more color to the table, like this cake:

I think the red really helped this cake.

or for a cupcake tree, that are so popular for wedding and showers right now:

There are so many different things you can do with them.

Buttercream or fondant? Filling or glaze? Blue or yellow?

So many options.  Ok………I might like cupcakes a little too much!

Not to mention the cute liners you can get these days.

Like these. Too cute, right?

There are a few tips that work for me that I want to share.

I am going to show you how I add a jam filling to cupcakes.
How to put a buttercream swirl on your cupcakes.
Also how to put fondant on your cupcakes.

Here are some of the supplies:

1. Buttercream –see recipe below
2. Piping bags
3. Jam
4. Piping tips

Many of you have asked for my buttercream recipe.
I haven’t ever included it because I do not use my own recipe. I use the Wilton recipe.
Here it is, but know, that it is not my own.
Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approx. 1 lb.)
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk

Cream shortening with electric mixer. Add vanilla and milk. Add sugar, 2 cups at a time.  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored for 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.
YIELD: 3 cups

Jam Filled Cupcakes

Bake cupcakes.
Cut tip off of piping bag and drop filling tip into the bag and fill the bag with any type of jam you like.  Insert the tip halfway into the cupcake and squeeze a small amount of jam into the cupcake.

**Tip– you can use any type of filling you want.

 Now you have a sweet fruit surprise in your cupcake.

Topping your cupcakes with a buttercream swirl.

First lets talk about putting buttercream into a piping bag.
Fold the bag back and spoon in the buttercream. Then fold the bag back into place and twist the top of the bag until the buttercream comes out of the end. This way you don’t get buttercream on the outside of the bag while filling.

To put a swirl of frosting on a cupcake, use a 1M tip.

When making the swirl, start by squeezing a small amount of buttercream on top of the cupcake to make a frosting base. Then make a swirl around that base, then another swirl around the base. Then one more swirl will go on top of the base. When you get to the top, stop squeezing and lift straight up. You should have the base and three swirls around the cupcake.

Don’t they look ready for a party?

Fondant Covered Cupcakes

Bake your cupcakes and then frost them with a layer of buttercream.
**TIP- -If your cupcakes ended up baking flat (without a dome on top), make a dome with the buttercream. Just make it thicker in the middle.

Roll out your fondant and cut out a circle that fits the top of your cupcake. 
I used the smallest circle cutter from the same set I used in the Flag Cake post. 
(Fondant tutorial here.)

Place the circle of fondant on top of your cupcake and work it with your fingers to smooth it out and get it to fit to the edges.

Now add your decorations.

I just piped a dot border and cut out fondant flowers for the top.

Easy, right?!

Now you are ready with some new tricks for your personal sized cakes!

Happy Decorating. 

Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Anonymous says:

    these were soo easy and funn! thanks!

  2. Ivanova says:

    Thank you. I've been wondering how to do that :-)

  3. Brittany says:

    The A Team- The buttercream I use pipes really well. I have never had it melt on me but I have not served it outside in the sun, that might make it melt. The meringue power in the buttercream is a stabilizer so it helps keep the buttercream smooth but it will hold it's consistency.

    Michelle- I use the same recipe as I do for cake with my cupcakes. If you missed it you can find how I bake cakes in the "baking, stacking and icing" post. I hope that helps!!

    Kayla, I can think of one one reason why the sprinkles would not stick. Buttercream will start to get a "crust" on it as it sits out in the air. So the sprinkles would not stick it the cupcakes sat out for a bit before you started to put the sprinkles on. If you applied them right away it should not be a problem. Good Luck!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I just have a quick question about the frosting. I made "Ice-Cream Cupcakes" last night for my daughter's class, and as any 4 year would, she wanted sprinkles on these cupcakes. I thought oh no problem we have some cute sprinkles in the cupboard, but as I shook them onto the buttercream frosting they just rolled off, I couldn't get any to stick. Do you have any suggestions how to get them to stick for next time?


  5. Michele says:

    Have you shared your recipe for cupcakes? They look delicious!

  6. The A Team says:

    I have started making cupcakes for a few parties and they have turned out really good, but I have been looking for a good buttercream. I noticed your recipe, and I was wondering how well does it pipe onto the cupcakes and how long can they be displayed before frosting melts?

  7. Brittany says:

    The baseball hat–

    I know there are a few ways to make them…this is what I came up with.

    I baked one half of a sports ball cake pan for the hat. then I covered it with fondant.
    Then I traced a baseball hat brim with cardboard from a cake box. I cut the the right shape and covered it with fondant. I bent the brim over a cup that made it the right shape for 1 week.
    I attached the brim with buttercream.
    I took a tongue depressor and inserted it into the hat just under the brim's middle to help the brim hold its shape.

    The base is 1 layer of cake covered in white.

    The "sand" is crushed graham crackers.

    I hope that helps!

  8. Anonymous says:

    My only question is how did u make your baseball cap for your ny yankees cake??

  9. Julia says:

    Awesome, thanks! :-)

  10. Brittany says:

    Julia– I'm sorry this response took so long (I have been out of town).
    I don't get 24 cupcakes out of a box mix either. I get more like 15. I think they are small if I try to get 24. I do follow the cake baking tips I use. They come out a bit better. I have not had my cupcakes shrink but I would think to just watch your baking time, pull them out right when they are done. I do turn my cupcakes in the oven when they cook, I also switch the rack they are on.
    I hope this helps!

  11. Mandy says:

    i loooove cupcakes!!!

  12. McKenzie says:

    Britt – you continue to amaze me! I never knew you were into this. Do you ever use couplers?

  13. Sassy Sites! says:

    I featured you today over at Sassy Sites! Stop by and say HI! AND…I am going to be doing a giveaway tomorrow, so add my blog to your sidebar and get a head start on the FUN! :)

  14. Julia says:

    These look awesome! But I was wondering if you have any tips for actually making cupcakes. I loved your tips for making cakes, but for some reason cupcakes don't seem to work out quite as well for me (go figure!). For example, the box mix says it will make 24 cupcakes, but I'm lucky if I get 19, and they don't even look that full. How many do you typically get out of a box mix? I use an ice cream scoop to fill them, but it doesn't seem to help. And with some box mixes they seem to shrink up to nothing if I don't get them out of the pan within literally 3 minutes. Also, do you follow the same guidelines when mixing (1/2 cup of oil, don't overmix, etc.) for the cupcakes as you did for your cake post? If you have two pans of cupcakes in the oven at the same time, do you switch them at a certain time to keep them from over/undercooking? Thanks for the help!

  15. Anonymous says:

    For some reason this post isn't showing up under the make-a-cake series (I have that part bookmarked, and just happened to have checked the regular site and saw this post).

  16. Tanisha says:

    Wonderful! They look delicious!

  17. Alisha says:

    Hi Ashley,
    I've been following your blog for over a year now and I love it.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for posting about the Sullenger's. I am Preslee's Aunt, and just wanted to let you know that it's really sweet of you to think of them during this time. I don't know if anyone has told you that our family appreciates it.

  18. Brittany Cooper says:

    I love these!!! Do you think my husband would want some for his upcoming birthday?? Ummm… Probably not. I guess I'll have to throw my daughter another birthday party – so cute –

  19. jptmtm2 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this information with us. I have been wanting to start doing my own cakes and stuff and you have given me that nudge. I posted a pic of the spongebob cake I made using fondant for the first time. It was easier then I thought it would be thanks to your recipe and tips. I agree with Gwen it would be awesome if you could share how you made the baseball cap. Thanks again!!

  20. Rachael says:

    So adorable! Such fun and it all looks delish!

  21. Rachael says:

    So adorable! Such fun and it all looks delish!

  22. Gwen says:

    I would really love to see how you made the baseball hat! I love it!

  23. Stef Thacker says:

    I am so happy that you are sharing these fun little details for the cake series! I am throwing a bridal shower and want to use these cute ideas for the dessert! Thanks for sharing! Its a great help for me!

  24. L.A. says:

    Stoppin by from
    That's such a genius idea about the filling….I'm gonna have to make cupcakes now…twist my rubber arm :) Thanks for this great tutorial!!!

  25. Susan says:

    I so have enjoyed this series. I'm hoping to make a cake and cupcakes for my little guy's 1st birthday coming up in a few months. In the meantime, my husband's pretty happy about "practice" (more sweets for him)! Thanks!

  26. RubyRed1085 says:

    I LOVE cupcakes! Just made over 100 of them for my son's 1st birthday party. What a joy that was to do. haha.

  27. Anissa says:

    Another great post! Keep um coming! Love it!

  28. Amanda says:

    I have never seen or thought of covering a cup cake in fondant! Thanks for the Idea!

  29. Caroline @ The Feminist Housewife says:

    These look unbelievably delicious! mmm!

  30. Amanda Joy says:

    Awesome! I just purchased some pastry frosting tips so that I can get nice big swirls for my cousins wedding reception next week:)

  31. 1 Funky Woman says:

    Oh my I want one or two right now! We just visited a little cupcake shop that opened. What a great idea for a business. I love the one with purple fondant!

  32. Haylee says:

    I was hoping that you would include your recipe for fondant.

  33. Adam and Sarah says:

    love it!

  34. Coco loves vintage says:

    mm suddenly I feel very hungry :)

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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