The Paper Towel Hack That Makes Decorating Cupcakes So Easy

Paper towels on a holder in the kitchen
Paper towels on a holder in the kitchen - New Africa/Shutterstock

Are you still decorating your homemade cupcakes with just frosting and a spatula? If so, put your treat down and get on TikTok because times have changed. If you spend an afternoon getting lost in the thousands of videos from talented bakers, we wouldn't blame you because you can learn everything from mastering buttercream swirls to creating zebra cakes. Even if you're not looking to make anything fancy, there are some super easy tips to make extra details, like using a paper towel to create a delicate texture.

You may have never given it a second thought, but most paper towels have embossed prints, which keeps the multiple-ply paper products from separating. Depending on the brand, these patterns can look like diamonds, grids, and even swirls, which can make the top of a cupcake look super professional. You don't need any special decorating skills to pull off this hack; all you have to do is press the frosting into the towel. After you pick your best cupcake recipe, just grab a roll of paper towels, and you're ready to start.

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid

Frost, Press, Freeze, Then Peel

A cupcake with paper towel print pressed into the frosting
A cupcake with paper towel print pressed into the frosting - TikTok/@cakedbyrach

In a recent TikTok video, Caked by Rach shows exactly how easy it is to get a little texture on the top of a frosted cupcake. First, pipe or spread a little frosting or some traditional buttercream onto the top of the cake, then flip it over and press it into a clean sheet of paper towel in the center of a pattern.

Thanks to the magic of the internet, you don't see a crucial step in the video, which is freezing the cupcake for about 20 minutes to set the pattern into the frosting, although the author includes this tip in the caption. Don't skip this part, especially if you're working with a very sticky substance like cream cheese frosting. Otherwise, the towel will just pull away from the cupcake with a bunch of frosting and you'll end up with a big mess. If this happens, however, don't stress it. Just smooth out the frosting and start over with a fresh piece of paper towel.

If you're really having trouble getting the pattern to set, you can also try frosting the cupcakes and then letting them sit for an hour or so for a crust to form on the outside of the frosting. Then repeat the process, and give it some extra time in the freezer to set.

Look For Towels With Different Patterns

A shopper selects paper products at a grocery store
A shopper selects paper products at a grocery store - Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

Once you get the hang of pressing patterns into your cupcakes, look for paper towels from different brands with unique embossing. Bounty, for instance, has a diamond-shaped pattern, while Viva has zigzags, and Scott has a ridged pattern on its rolls. Now that you know how easy it is to make a pattern in cake frosting, you'll probably take your time in the paper towel aisle next time you're at the grocery store — you never know when you'll find an interesting new pattern.

If you're not a paper towel user, you can pull off the same trick with reusable towels or other pieces of cloth with embossed patterns. Bread bakers frequently use antique lace doilies for flower patterns so that you can give granny's old keepsakes a new life in the kitchen as cupcake design elements. Just be sure to wash your pieces before each decorating session so you don't transfer any antique germs onto your baked treasures, and rewash them after decorating to prevent any cross-contamination in your next batch of cupcakes.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal