Whether you make cupcakes from scratch or buy them premade, there's always good reason to add an eye-catching finishing touch. Here are 10 imaginative ways to spruce up this classic dessert. Whatever decorating tips you employ, remember to brush freshly baked cupcakes with your fingers or a clean paintbrush to get rid of any stray crumbs before you start frosting or glazing. The experience of eating a cupcake also has to do with how it's displayed. When your batch is ready to serve, set them out on an attractive platter of some kind, such as a rustic cake stand, silver serving dish or plate with an interesting pattern. Have fun and remember that when it comes to decorating cupcakes, your imagination is the limit!
Of course, the standard colored sprinkles in solid or assorted colors are a tried and true cupcake decoration. Your options range from fine, sandlike granules to tiny pearl-sized nuggets or shapes. When applying fairly small flakes, hold the shaker higher for a light, even dusting and lower for denser coverage. But don't let what's prepackaged as "sprinkles" on grocery stores' baking aisles limit your creative prowess in the kitchen. There are many relatively small edibles that can serve as a type of sprinkle -- many of which are already in your kitchen pantry! Try sprinkling on chocolate chips, grated nuts or even coffee grounds. Spices like cinnamon, cayenne or cloves can also do the job and add another dimension of flavor to your baked confection.