Cupcake decorations can be almost anything edible, ranging from small candies to cake toppers to custom-made paper designs. Perusing a cake decorating store or specialty baking store and picking out supplies and decorations is part of what makes creating those cupcakes so much fun, but even if you don't have the cash to shell out for supplies, you can still use items you have around the house as creative and fun cupcake decorations.
Purchasing Cupcake Decorations
If you're not a very crafty person or don't like the idea of spending time and energy on decorating your cupcakes, you can purchase decorations from in-store or online retailers. Most supermarkets stock simple cake toppers or candy decorations, and those supplies are all you need for basic cupcake designs.
If it's just the directions of some more difficult decorations that intimidate you, try searching for step-by-step tutorials and simple instructions from baking-supply stores such as Wilton. These stores often sell molds and equipment that will let you make more complicated decorations instead of buying them.
When you're searching for something specific that you're not able to make yourself, check the stocks of online retailers. Many carry specialty sugar decorations or figures that are pre-made and can be shipped all over the world. These decorations may not taste as good as those you could make yourself, but they're professionally done and will look great on your cupcakes.
Dragées are small candy balls that are often coated with a silver, bronze, or gold-like substance that makes them shimmery. They look very elegant on their own and are used to decorate many wedding cupcakes and cupcakes for other formal occasions. Most dragées have a hard outer coating and can be difficult to bite into, so they shouldn't be given to very young children. Because they capture so much attention, most decorators don't use more than a couple of dragées on a single cupcake.
Commercially available sprinkles can be very complex and come in shapes such as hearts, stars, or even animals. Store-bought sprinkles don't usually have much taste by themselves and are used instead to enhance or diversify the texture of a cupcake.
A bright cupcake wrapper can draw attention to a very plain cupcake, and most baking stores sell a wide variety of wrappers. You can also try making your own, but if you'd rather spend your time decorating cupcakes, it's quick and inexpensive to just pick up a couple of packages of custom-designed wrappers.
Making Your Own Cupcake Decorations
You can make almost any cupcake decoration yourself with a little time and creativity.
Cupcake toppers are paper or plastic designs that you can stick on top of a cupcake with a toothpick or craft stick. They take the focus off the cupcake, so if you're not an experienced decorator or don't have time to do much more than spread on your icing, they're a good choice. The toppers can be edible or not, and you can create them with stickers or handcrafted paper designs that you attach to toothpicks. If you choose to give cupcakes with toppers to very young children, make sure to remove the toppers first so that the kids won't accidentally try to eat them or poke themselves with the sharp sticks.
Sprinkles, or jimmies, are one of the simplest cupcake decorations available. Bottled sprinkles are nothing more than colored granules of sugar, and you can make your own by mixing thick sugar granules with a drop of food coloring and letting them sit until they dry.
Fondant leaves and flowers or other shapes can be made from rolled fondant cut with cookie cutters or shaped with fondant tools. Make these decorations with gum paste and placed on top of frosted cupcakes when dry.