Today is National Cupcake Day, and here at InStyle, we couldn't be more excited. It's no secret we love a good cupcake: From the sinfully delicious cake itself to the satisfyingly sweet frosting, one bite into the treat leaves us in a state of pure bliss. But it's not just the taste that has us head over heels—it's their panache. And lately, we've become fascinated with how various cupcakes are swirled. They've got style.
So we invited some of our favorite bakeries in to show us exactly how they sculpt the signature swirl with their frosting. From Magnolia Bakery, to Georgetown Cupcake, to Sprinkles, check out how each bakery creates their one-of-a-kind look.
"You can tell a Georgetown Cupcake just by its frosting style," says co-owners (and sisters!) Sophie LaMontagne and Katherine Berman. "The key to amazing frosting is to start the very best ingredients and whipping your frosting on high speed for at least 7-10 minutes." The duo, who uses European Style butter and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, begin by placing the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large plain round metal tip. To recreate, start with the center of the cupcake and apply even pressure to your frosting bag, moving it in a quick circular motion around the cupcake, ending in the center with a burst of pressure. "The key to getting a beautiful fluffy cloud of frosting on top of your cupcakes is to frost with confidence — move the bag quickly without hesitation!" says the duo, who also star in the hit series DC Cupcakes on TLC, and are best-selling authors of The Cupcake Diaries and Sweet Celebrations. "Practice makes perfect!"
Made famous by an appearance in Sex and the City, this famed New York City bakery perfects its frosting sans a pastry bag; instead, it is applied by hand and stylized with the flick of a wrist and a classic frosting spatula. The classic cupcakes, iced with the signature swirl, are famous for their pastel colored vanilla buttercream and assortment of sprinkles and edible decorations.
Since opening their very first location in Beverly Hills, Sprinkles has hooked celebrities and foodies alike with their handcrafted cupcakes, topped with trademark modern dots. "Sprinkles are hand-frosted using an off-set spatula, creating a lovely, smooth swirl," says Katy Zanville, general manager of Sprinkles on Liberty Street in New York City. "This is far more difficult and labor-intensive than your run-of-the-mill pastry bag--but at Sprinkles, we believe hand-frosted means “made with love!” The Sprinkles swirl is elegant yet homespun, creating the perfect palette. But hold that spatula--you can't become a froster overnight--it takes time! "Sprinkles frosters need to frost 1000 cupcakes before they become a pro," she says.