How to Decorate Cupcakes Without Icing

Cupcakes are a delicious treat, but they can get a bit overshadowed beneath a thick layer of icing. Never fear! There are plenty of tasty, creative ways to spruce up your cupcakes without piling on the frosting.


[Edit]Add a dollop of whipped cream.

  1. Whipped cream is a light, refreshing alternative to frosting. Once your cupcakes cool off, spoon a bit of whipped cream on top. If you’d really like to spice things up, sprinkle lemon zest, sprinkles, or chopped nuts on the whipped cream.[1]

    Decorate Cupcakes Without Icing Step 1.jpg
    • If you aren’t in the mood for whipped cream, spoon on some Greek yogurt instead.[2]

[Edit]Dust on powdered sugar.

  1. Use paper stencils to dust fun designs on your cupcakes. Cut up long, vertical strips of paper and arrange them on top of the cupcake. Scoop ½ cup (50 g) of powdered sugar into a sifter and coat the exposed sections of the cupcake. Then, remove the stencils so you can admire your powdered sugar design![3]
    Decorate Cupcakes Without Icing Step 2.jpg
    • You can also use cocoa powder instead of powdered sugar.
    • Use perforated baking sheets, cooling pads, and letter stencils to create fun, unique designs on your cupcakes.
    • You can do this with any kind of cupcake!

[Edit]Drizzle on some glaze.

  1. Glaze provides the sweetness of frosting without the thickness. Whip up a simple glaze with 1½ cups (173 g) of powdered sugar along with of milk and 1 vanilla bean with the seeds removed from the pod.[4] Drizzle the glaze on top of your cupcakes for a simple, sweet, no-nonsense topping.[5]

[Edit]Add some fresh fruit.

  1. Fruit is a refreshing, healthier alternative to frosting. Chop the fruit into smaller pieces or slices, and arrange a piece in the center of each cupcake. For an extra burst of fruity sweetness, spread a layer of jam or jelly on the cupcake before arranging the fruit slice.[6]
    Decorate Cupcakes Without Icing Step 4.jpg
    • For instance, you might top your cupcakes with blueberries, sliced strawberries, or sliced kiwi.
    • You can also spread melted jam, jelly, or preserves on top of your cupcakes.[7]
    • This is a great addition for any kind of cupcake.

[Edit]Drizzle on some caramel sauce.

  1. Caramel glaze provides a richer, more dynamic flavor for your cupcakes. Pour 3 US tbsp (38 g) of caster sugar into a saucepan with a couple spoonfuls of water, stirring the sugar until it dissolves into the water. Then, mix in of cream, of butter, and a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool off, which will help it thicken up. At this point, drizzle the caramel sauce over your cupcakes.[8]

[Edit]Layer white chocolate and coconut.

  1. Melt a handful of white chocolate chips in the microwave. Spread the melted chocolate over each cupcake in a thin layer. While the chocolate is still wet, dip the cupcakes in a bowl of coconut flakes.[9]
    • You can try this with a variety of tasty toppings, like sprinkles, candy, or cereal.
    • This tastes great with chocolate cupcakes.

[Edit]Spread on peanut butter and Nutella.

  1. Mix equal amounts of Nutella and peanut butter in a bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave until it’s completely melted. Then, spread the tasty mixture on top of each cupcake.[10]
    • When melted, Nutella and peanut butter acts more like a glaze.

[Edit]Add chocolate ganache.

  1. Chocolate ganache is a tasty replacement for icing that you can make at home. Add 9 oz (261 g) of chopped, bittersweet chocolate to a bowl. Boil of heavy cream in a saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate, and mix the ingredients together until they’re smooth. Give the ganache several minutes to cool, and then spread it over the tops of your cupcakes.[11]
    • Chocolate ganache is a tasty addition to chocolate cupcakes.[12]

[Edit]Melt marshmallows on top.

  1. Add a marshmallow to each cupcake before they’re finished baking. Take a look at your oven timer while your cupcakes are still in the oven. When there’s about a minute left, place a small marshmallow in the center of each cupcake. The marshmallow will melt and create a sweet, sticky glaze all over your cupcakes.[13]
    Decorate Cupcakes Without Icing Step 9.jpg
    • As an extra touch, sprinkle crushed graham crackers on top.

[Edit]Top with cookie dough.

  1. Add an extra dimension of flavor to your cupcakes. Scoop some of this cookie dough on top of each cupcake a simple but delicious decoration. Double-check that cookie dough is safe to eat raw, or make your own edible cookie dough at home.[14]
    Decorate Cupcakes Without Icing Step 10.jpg

[Edit]Decorate with edible flowers and honey.

  1. Spread a thin layer of honey on top of each cupcake. Then, stick edible flowers on top of the honey, which helps them stay in place. Keep things simple with just 1 edible flower per cupcake, or add multiple flowers to create more colorful confections.[15]
    • For a simpler cupcake, spread honey over the cupcakes and leave it at that.
    • Some edible flowers are borage blossoms, hibiscus, lavender, pansies, and roses.[16]



  • If you aren’t pressed for time, mascarpone or merengue can add a tasty touch to your cupcakes.[17]


[Edit]Quick Summary

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