Frugal Skill-Building: Cupcake Icing Tutorial From YouTube

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When I was in 5th grade, I decided I wanted to learn how to crochet. Because no one I knew nearby was skilled at crochet, I checked a book out from the library, convinced my dad to buy me a crochet hook and a skein of yarn, and learned how to do it on my own.

A few years later, when I was in high school, I taught myself to quilt using the same methods (with less stunning results, but they worked).

I would say I am good with cooking and baking, but I have never learned to make those nice finishing touches to cakes. I’ve usually outsourced birthday cakes to my friend Bridget, who has a side business making cakes. She’s the one who made this amazing Thomas the Tank Engine cake for my son’s second birthday.


This past year, I have been making my own cakes and cupcakes, but they are plain and simple. Bridget learned her skills from a Wilton Cake Decorating course at Michaels. I looked into doing the same, but I didn’t want to pay if I didn’t have to. I decided to give YouTube a try to see if I can pick up some basics. I used a 50% off coupon to buy a Wilton cake decorating kit and another coupon to buy a cake turntable. My kit had everything I needed to do some basic piping for cakes, cookies, and cupcakes.

My daughters are having a combined birthday party next month, and I wanted to make a rainbow cake with piped icing. I did my first trial last week. I started out by dividing a bowl of yellow cake batter into four bowls and coloring them different colors. My daughter helped me to put some of each color in each cupcake tin. It was a little bit technicolor for me, but my 5 year old liked it.

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I used this video to learn some basic techniques for cupcakes, and after a few tries, I think I got it! The nice thing is if it looks bad the first time, you just scrape it off, put the icing back in the bag, and try piping it again.

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My first attempt at rainbow cake turned out well too. I’m not sure how much I like the technicolor cake, so I am thinking of making some regular cupcakes with rosette icing piped in different colors and shaped into a rainbow, like this one, instead of a brightly colored cake. If my plan goes well, I will be able to keep homemade cakes on the menu for many years to come.

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2 thoughts on “Frugal Skill-Building: Cupcake Icing Tutorial From YouTube

  • I’ve done the rainbow cupcakes before. I bought Icing color gels from Michael’s and the colors were much more vibrant. Sam’s daughter and grandson loved them!
    I want to learn to make cupcakes from scratch like on Cupcake Wars…

    • Thanks for the suggestion! My grocery store dye only came in 4 colors, and I would like to expand that. I will keep a look out for some 50% off coupons at Michaels.

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