{Cupcake Decorating} How to pipe buttercream pansy-like flowers

by Alice Currah on April 9, 2010. Updated May 31, 2010

What do you do when your little sister calls you up and asks,
“How hard would it be to decorate frosting flowers on cupcakes?”
“How hard for you? Or how hard for me? Are you asking me to help you?”
“Um, yes.”

My sister, Janice, was in charge of bringing cupcakes for a friend’s baby shower who was expecting her first child, a boy. When my sister came over, her top priority was to make them “cute”. Okay, I can do cute. My only requirement would be that she, herself, would have to learn how to decorate them. Not that I was opposed to helping her but I am one of those types of people who believe in the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. In this situation it was more like, “Decorate others cupcakes and you’ll be asked to do them all the time. Teach others to decorate their own cupcakes and they have no excuse to ask you ever again”. In all honesty, I believe teaching her some basic cake decorating skills will serve her well in the lives of her children.  If she ever needs an assistant I’m just 5 minutes down the road.

What we ended up with were baby blue pansy-like flowers made from buttercream.  My focus wasn’t to re-create a particular type of flower, just a nice looking one.  We topped each one off with silver sugar sprinkles and the results were great.  Beautiful cupcakes always look and taste better, don’t you agree?

I had no intentions of doing a cupcake decorating tutorial when we started piping flowers but my sister kept on asking me,

“Shouldn’t you be taking pictures of this?  I think your readers would like to know how to do this.”

“No, I don’t want to take pictures right now.. let’s just get these done.”

“I know… lets videotape this!”

“No way, man… look at me!  I have no makeup, grubby clothes, and I don’t want to change.”

“Okay, how about we don’t get your face in the video.”

“You promise?! No face! Or else.. I am going to smoosh all your cupcakes.”


As a result we filmed a little video using her point and shoot camera.  Please forgive my messy kitchen and the quality of the video, but I think you’ll find it helpful if you ever plan on tackling buttercream flowers for cupcakes.  If you still have questions after reading this post and watching the video, just ask them in the comment section and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.  Enjoy!

Directions in a nut shell:  Fill pasty bag with medium firm buttercream frosting with a #61 or rose petal cake decorating tip attached.  The tip will look like a slanted tear drop.  Starting at the center of your cupcake and with the rounded part of the tip towards the center, squeeze and apply pressure to pasty bag in an upside down “U” rotation.  On the downside of the “U”, release pressure and connect the tip to where you started.  In other words, apply pressure when you go up and release pressure when you come down.  Continue to do this until the cupcake is full of pedals.  Easiest way to do this is to rotate the cupcake as you complete each petal.  To finish it up add a little squiggle to the top of the cupcake to cover up any holes.  Top off with a pinch of sprinkled decorative sugar.  It’s important to note that while you’re decorating, you’re piping wrist is at a 30 degree angle in proximity  to the cupcake.  However, you’ll want to make sure your cake tip is at a 45 degree angle.

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{ 81 comments… read them below or add one }

Elisa June 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Hi! Thanks so much for this awesome video! I love cupcakes and I love decorating them. What would happen if I didn’t have that kind of tip? Also where can you find that kind of tip? THANKS!


Maria July 6, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Thank you, that was so helpful, and it looked really easy….


toni August 6, 2011 at 9:21 am

would like to know what recipe u used


alice August 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Hi Toni, I use the buttercream recipe on the site. You can find it by entering vanilla buttercream in the search box.


Shawn September 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

Thank-you so much for listening to your sister and making this video!! I watched it so many times before I tried it. And the first time my results were a dud. But yesterday I got my courage up and with 104 and 125 tips (I don’t have a 61 yet) and a better understanding of what you were telling me I made some Pansy Cupcakes with Sugar Pearls. So this is what you inspired https://picasaweb.google.com/102577743941999550390/PansyCupcakesWithSugarPearls


cindy February 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm

very nice job, Shawn


Emi October 26, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Beautiful pictures! Very much appreciated you doing the video tutorial :) Will have to try this soon.. by the way how much food coloring did you add to the frosting recipe to get that color? Thanks again♥


Pam December 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm

hi in the video, are you decorating mini cupcakes? or regular size?


alice December 14, 2011 at 1:04 am

Hi Pam,
We’re making mini cupcakes but you can easily decorate these flowers on regular size ones.


Maureen Gutman December 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Your buttercream frosting (Chocolate and Vanilla) are WONDERFUL! I have tried several that were too sweet, but your are my keepers. Also love the how to video for the flower cupcakes and the converse cake you made for your nephew. I have shared your site with several friends. Thank you!


Gina February 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Thank you for the video! Iam going to try these today using your buttercream recipe, although you make these look alot simplier then I think they are going to be.


alice February 2, 2012 at 2:45 am

Gina, Once you make a few you get the hang of it very quickly. Good luck!


Yanet February 10, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I loved it. You are very talented on doing this. I’ve learned a lot with you. Thank you.


Shankari February 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm


I have tried making the all american buttercream following the Wilton method, substituting 1/2 of the shortening with butter. I do avoid the meringue powder since we do not eat eggs.

I have noticed that the buttercream stays fresh and soft as soon as I make it and pipe it immediately. After a couple of hours though, it gets a gritty/dry texture and leaves a nasty feel in the mouth. Do you have any suggestions on how I can retain the softness of the buttercream ? I really need to get this figured out since a friend has asked me to make a cake for her daughter’s birthday and I do not want to screw this up.

Thanks in advance for your help!



Laura31 March 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm

This is how I decorate cupcakes and they come out perfect http://howtofixstuff.blogspot.ca/2012/03/cupcake-decorating-ideas.html


carlos gonzalez April 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

thank you for this web site it helps alot on cup cakes and more!!:^)


Christine May 4, 2012 at 1:55 am

Thank you for this tutorial! I tried it last night and it turned out great! This may have even been my first time decorating with a bag and tip! I did use a different tip number, as I couldn’t remember what to get at Joann’s, so I just got a teardrop shaped one that was kind of big, as I made regular sized cupcakes.


Betty August 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Nice tutorial. Your cupcakes look great.


Joann September 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

Hi everyone, I am wondering if someone would be kind enough to direct me to this video. I am middle aged ( young) but not too savvy on my pc…many thanx in advance ! oh, and by the way ….these cup cakes look deliciously amazing! :))


Aracely November 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

I can’t seem to find the video on this page. Cam you send it to me by link?


kat November 23, 2012 at 6:00 am

hi alice! how do you make your cupcakes flat? mine become rounded (like a dome) and it might be difficult to pipe your flowers on a dome-shaped cupcake. appreciate the help! :)


Melanie January 14, 2013 at 8:45 am

Thank you for posting this. I enjoyed watching and learned. Because of you, I am motivated to check out more decorating tutorial videos online. People seem to love my cupcakes, but I get stressed when they ask me to make them because I’m tired of the same old basic “cover a cupcake with frosting” routine. Thanks!


Nichole Paige March 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I LOVED the flower tutorial! This will come in handy! Thank you!


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