Anna Olson’s Easy Cupcake Decorating Guide for Beginners

Cupcakes are the ideal way to jump into the world of baking, or to make a fun afternoon activity with kids… after all, who can resist a cupcake? They are a universal, year-round treat, and decorating them with the kiddos can be a blast. So let’s keep things really simple, and get you started with these tips from Anna Olson.



  • Only a muffin tin, paper liners, basic mixing bowls and electric beaters are needed to make delicious cupcakes
  • Foil-lined cupcake liners retain their colour, where the pattern on a regular paper one can disappear once the cupcake is baked (especially if you’re baking chocolate cupcakes)
  • If you think you are going to get serious about cupcake baking, then invest in a mechanical ice cream scoop this is the best tool for precise and tidy portioning
  • Ingredients

  • Butter, sugar, flour, eggs, baking powder and milk or buttermilk are the basics needed
  • For the frosting, you just need butter, icing sugar and a little milk
  • Keep in mind that cupcake recipes are designed to be baked as cupcakes
  • Tip: Not all cake recipes can bake into a cupcake and may frustrate you because the wet batter spills over the edge of the paper liner or when you peel the paper liner, half of the cake comes away with it.

    Related: Anna Olson’s Quick Guide to Ingredient Substitutions

    floral cupcakes being frosted


    Now let’s get to the real reason we love cupcakes: frosting!

  • Buttercream cupcake frosting is the easiest style to make you simply whip butter and icing sugar together with a touch of milk until it is light and fluffy.
  • Then you are ready to dollop, pipe or get fancy with your cupcake decor. Whether kids are involved in this process or not, I usually make sure there are plenty of sprinkles around. With such a selection of colourful sprinkles now available, you can really express your sweet side when decorating cupcakes, no matter your skill level.
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