Cupcake Decorating for the Home Baker

A lot of our cupcake-decorating techniques work well for baking at home without having to purchase special tools. Here are three of our favorite ways to brighten up any batch!

Blended Frostings

Haystack cupcakes with coconut-vanilla frosting

Sometimes, a classic buttercream isn’t unique enough. We mix our vanilla frosting with shredded coconut to create a distinctive, shaggy texture for our Coconut Haystack cupcakes, and we combine crushed Oreos with buttercream to top our Funky Chunky Oreo cupcakes. Shredded chocolate, chopped nuts, and chopped marshmallows would mix well into any frosting flavor, too. Of course, blended frostings are hard to spread or pipe in a pastry bag, so we like to just scoop them onto each cupcake to showcase the texture. This is a great technique to use when you want the mix of smooth frosting and crunch!

Rimming cupcakes with sprinkles

This is one of our favorite ways to give a cupcake some crunch and a pop of color. You can frost cupcakes flat with a spatula or kitchen knife or, if you do have the supplies, swirl with a pastry bag and a round tip. Once your cupcake is frosted, fill a bowl about one fourth of the way with your favorite sprinkles. Pick up a cupcake with your right hand if you’re a righty (or left if you’re left-handed). Then, holding both hands over the bowl, use a handful of sprinkles to coat the rim of the cupcake.

Don’t stop at sprinkles! We recommend rimming cupcakes with anything small enough to stick to the frosting. Graham cracker crumbs, crushed Heath bar, mini chocolate chips, and granulated sugar are all delicious.

Rimming cupcakes with sprinkles

Chocolate Drizzle

Rolo cupcakes with milk chocolate drizzle

To add texture and flavor, we often drizzle cupcakes with melted chocolate once they’re frosted. We recommend microwaving some chocolate—melting wafers are especially good—in a small bowl, stirring it every thirty seconds. If it’s too thick, add a small spoonful of a high-quality oil. Coconut oil and palm oil shortening (opt for trans-fat free) are both ideal, but butter doesn’t work because it can make the chocolate seize up. It contains water, which forms a syrup with the sugar in the chocolate and causes it to separate into grainy clumps. 

As you drizzle the chocolate, don’t worry about making the streaks parallel or the same width. A little variation makes the cupcakes look unique and homemade—the most delicious kind!

It can also be fun to combine flavors and techniques to create a theme—we use a swirl of marshmallow frosting, a drizzle of milk chocolate, and some crumbled graham crackers around the rim to decorate S’mores cupcakes. 

You don’t need a lot of equipment or experience to take cupcakes to the next level, especially with some creativity!

S’mores cupcakes drizzled with milk chocolate and rimmed with graham crackers

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Cupcakes are our specialty at Treat, but we love cookies. Here’s our inside “scoop” on everything from raw to baked, chips to chunks, and “regular” to special diets!

Cookies accomplish a few things cupcakes can’t. For those who want a smaller dessert, cookies are often the perfect size compared to cupcakes. They’re also easier and neater to eat on the go.

Some of our favorite classic cookie flavors are sugar, chocolate chip, M&M, and peanut butter, but there are so many new flavors to explore too. It can be fun to invent a homemade version of favorites such as Oreos, Thin Mints, and Nutter Butters. For example, we recommend using a mixture of caramel and flaked coconut on top of shortbread circles to make cookies inspired by girl scout Caramel DeLites.

Matching cookie flavors to the seasons is also a good option. For spring and summer baking, we love flavors such as lemonade, key lime, and s’more. You can even use food dye to make marbled red, white, and blue sugar cookies for the Fourth of July. Fall and winter are our favorite time to use warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; we also opt for maple, peppermint, and hot cocoa when the weather is chilly.

There are so many ways to make cookies your own. In fact, sometimes a great idea for changing a recipe comes from a “happy accident” and the troubleshooting that follows! For instance, when a batch of our peanut butter cookies turned out a little too soft, we dipped the bottoms in white chocolate to stabilize them. Now, we sometimes use a layer of chocolate to keep soft cookies from cracking.

Similarly, we try not to give up on cookies that are imperfectly cooked. We recently overbaked a batch of sugar cookie stars by a few minutes, and we weren’t sure if we could use them. But they turned out to have a toasted, caramelized flavor, almost like graham crackers. We finished them off with marshmallow cream and chocolate dip, and the s’mores sandwich cookie was born.

Allergy-friendly cookies

Similar to our position on cupcakes, we believe everyone should be able to eat an awesome cookie, regardless of diet—but it’s not always easy. Almond flour and coconut sugar have made it possible to create a paleo-friendly cookie for those who keep a grain- and refined sugar-free diet. We also use a blend of gluten-free flour to make gluten-free cookies and logs of cookie dough to bake at home.

People often ask for baking instructions for the gluten-free cookie dough. We recommend cutting the log into circles ¼ inch thick and baking them at 350 ̊ for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges are golden brown. But everyone’s oven is different—it’s best to keep an eye on the cookies!

To add some personality, try sprinkling crunchy granulated sugar on the cookies before they’re baked or dipping the baked cookies in chocolate. In the spirit of the donut-shaped sugar cookies we made this month, why not use a small spoon to take a hole out of each cookie and then decorate them as miniature donuts? If you believe donuts are incomplete without frosting, try topping them with a simple glaze made of ½ cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and any food coloring you like.

Edible cookie dough: What’s the deal?

Lately, there’s been a craze in the bakery world for edible cookie dough. In January of 2017, Kristen Tomlan opened a New York City shop called Dō (“dough”), and we decided to bring the idea to Needham in the summer of 2018. 

Raw eggs and raw flour are unsafe to eat because of bacterial risks, but we omit eggs and use heat-treated flour instead, so our dough is safe and delicious served raw. At home, in order to make cookie dough recipes safe for eating, be sure to heat the flour to the safe temperature of 160 ̊ Fahrenheit. You can use the oven—spread 2 cups of flour on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes at 350˚ Fahrenheit—or you can microwave 1 cup of flour for a minute and 15 seconds in total, pausing to stir it every 15 seconds. Each egg in the dough can be replaced with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 3 tablespoons of water, or you can use 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and 2.5 tablespoons of water.

There’s a major debate over whether cookie dough tastes better cold or at room temperature. If you have fond memories of snatching bites from a bowl before baking cookies, the room-temperature option might match how you think cookie dough should taste. But if you enjoy a cool treat that’s a little like ice cream, you might prefer to refrigerate the dough before serving. 

Either way, the world of cookies is changing. We can’t wait to see what comes next!

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We can’t believe these are vegan …

Apple Pie
There’s nothing like warm homemade pie.

4-5 Granny Smith Apples
1/3 cup vegan margarine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 pre-made 9-inch pie crust

The Spruce’s Printable Recipe

Flourless Brownies
Here’s a vegan, gluten-free, and grain-free recipe!

Oh She Glows’ Printable Recipe

Basil-Berry Lemonade Sorbet
It never hurts to keep some sorbet in your freezer for times when you need something sweet.

1 cup sugar
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil
6 cups frozen mixed berries
3/4 cup lemon juice

Good Housekeeping’s Printable Recipe

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5 Things to bake over break

Rice Krispie Treats – Marshmallow goodness, a kid’s favorite. Personally, we love Shugary Sweet’s recipe!

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies – Chocolate chip cookies are great, but mini cookies are even better! Check out Two Peas & Their Pod’s recipe.

Nutella S’mores Dip – Recall warm summer nights with this chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker combination. Here’s a super simple dip recipe on My Recipes.

Quick Whoopie Pies – For a quick and easy chocolate fix, make a four ingredient whoopie pie with Midwest Living’s recipe.

Oreo Brownies – Spice up your regular brownie recipe with irresistible Oreos. See Go Go Go Gourmet’s recipe for more.

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Treat Cupcake Bar Events, Classes and More!

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winter sparkle cake pop class 12/1


Winter Sparkle Cake Pop Class, Sunday, December 1st, 12:30-2pm
Creating cake pops is so much fun. Crumble and squish moist cupcake cakes and scrumptious frosting into a dozen impressive cake pops in sparkly winter fun designs.
$70/student. Sign-up in-store, over the phone (781) 444-4995 or online using link below
Class is appropriate for adults and teens. Younger children MUST be accompanied by a parent.
Each student will receive guidance and lots of fun tools to create an assortment of one of a kind cake pops to take home.


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Cupcake Wars Features Local Treat Cupcake Bar This Weekend

Just in time for its third anniversary, Boston-based Treat Cupcake Bar will make its national television debut this Sunday, June 23 on the Food Network’s popular series, Cupcake Wars.

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Treat Cupcake Bar Does Battle on ‘Cupcake Wars’

Newton Patch analyze our cupcake wars experience

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