How to Make a Butterfly on a Cupcake With Buttercream Icing


A charming decoration for a little girl's birthday party or to herald spring, a butterfly can be piped directly onto a cupcake with buttercream frosting and a decorating bag. There are several small components to piping a butterfly, but none of the techniques require advanced skill. You can add various colors to the frosting to give the butterfly a whimsical quality. You can also refer to real butterfly images for ideas on shape, colors and markings to make the butterfly look as authentic as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Offset icing spatula
  • Food coloring
  • Decorating bags
  • Small round decorating tip
  • Small star decorating tip
  • Medium round decorating tip
  • Frost the top of each cupcake with buttercream frosting and spread them smooth with an offset icing spatula. Color the frosting in a color that coordinates with the color you wish to make the butterflies or use plain white frosting as a background.

  • Add black or dark brown frosting to a decorating bag fitted with a small, round decorating tip. Draw the outline of two wings on top of the cupcake. The wings should be mirror images of each other with a small gap between each shape for the butterfly body. Squeeze the bag with medium pressure and drag the stream of frosting along to draw the shapes. Refer to pictures of real butterflies, if needed. One basic shape looks much like an uppercase letter "B," but with a base that is smaller than the top, but you might prefer your wings more angular than curvy.

  • Insert a small star decorating tip into a decorating bag and fill the bag with the desired color for the wings.

  • Position the star tip just inside the border lines and squeeze the bag to pipe a star shape on the cupcake. Stop squeezing when you achieve the desired size and pull the tip straight up away from the cupcake. Reposition the star tip directly beside the previous star and pipe another star. Repeat this process until you fill in the butterfly wings. If desired, you can do the outer edge of the butterfly wings in one color and fill it in with a second color.

  • Pipe the antennae, starting between the wings at the top of the cupcakes, and bring the antennae up in a curve with a circle at the tip. Use the same color and decorating tip you used for the butterfly outline.

  • Insert a medium-sized round decorating tip in a decorating bag and fill it with brown or black frosting, the same color used for the outline and antennae. Squeeze several small dots to fill the space between the two wings. Squeeze the bag with medium pressure until the desired size is achieve. Stop squeezing and pull the tip straight up to finish the dot. Alternatively, you can squeeze a dot, lift the tip and move it directly beneath the first, creating a row of dots with one continuous flow of frosting. This is the same technique used to make cake borders.

  • Fill a decorating bag with a contrasting color to the color used to fill in the butterfly wings. Use the bag with a medium or small round decorating tip. Squeeze dots on the wings to make butterfly markings. The arrangement is entirely up to you, but you might try a series of two or three diagonal dots on each wing section that get gradually larger as you work your way from the body to the wing tips. Alternatively, place small disk candies on the butterfly for the markings.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're going to be using the same color frequently, but with different decorating tips, it's easiest to insert an icing coupler in the decorating bag. You can use the coupler to easily switch out the decorating tip without needing a separate bag of frosting for each tip. For example, fit the couple with a small, round tip for the wing outline and antennae, then switch out a medium, round tip for the butterfly body.

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  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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