How to create cosmic galaxy effect frosting for cupcakes

baking, buttercream, cakes, cupcakes, frosting, piping, recipe, recipes, red velvet

You can’t go wrong with a bit of stardust, can you?  I love things with a cosmic pattern, from clothes to bags.  But I wondered how it would translate to cakes, and I’m pleased to say I’m happy with the results!

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Look at them, all sparkly and dark.  This can be done with buttercream or cream cheese frosting, all you need is a piping bag and some gel colours and you’re good to go.

UPDATE: I’ve now created a cosmic galaxy effect full size cake too!  If you’d like to give it try then click here, and for the cupcakes, read on.

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I’ve gone for cream cheese frosting here.  To make enough for 20 cakes you’ll need:

  • 100g soft butter
  • 180g cream cheese
  • 560g icing sugar
  • gel food colouring in black, blue, pink and purple
  • edible glitter

First, in a freestanding or hand held mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter for a  couple of minutes until pale and smooth.  Add the icing sugar in two stages, beating well between each, then give it another couple of minutes so it looks really smooth.

This would be delicious enough on its own, but galaxy frosting makes everything even better so here’s how you achieve it!

Divide the frosting into 4 bowls – you don’t need to measure it precisely, judging by eye is fine.  Add a couple of drops of different food colouring to each and mix well until you get the colours you want.  I ended up using just under a quarter of a teaspoon.

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Now it’s time to create the galaxy swirl effect!  Take a piping bag, and pop in the nozzle of your choice.  It’s better to have something that creates ruffles rather than a plain round nozzle, so I went for an open star.  Now take a tablespoon of pink, and drop it in the piping bag.  Follow that with a tablespoon of blue, then purple, then black, and keep going with all the colours alternately until you’ve used it all up.  You should have something like this:

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Don’t worry about being precise with the amounts and order, it all adds to the effect, and everything will swirl nicely together.  Before you pipe the first cake, give the piping bag a bit of a squeeze until more than one colour comes out – we want the galaxy effect from the start on the cupcakes!  Then take your first cake and pipe away.  I normally hold the piping bag upright at a 90 degree angle to the centre of the cake and squeeze the piping bag until the frosting starts to reach the edge of the cake, then as I keep squeezing, spiral the piping bag upwards in a circle until it’s a nice big swirl, then gently lift the bag away as I stop squeezing.

This is really fun to decorate cakes with!  You’ll notice how all the colours blend into each other, and every single cake looks slightly different.  All you need to finish them off is a sprinkle of edible glitter.

I hope you enjoy this technique – these cakes are a bit of a show stopper, and nowhere as difficult to make as you might expect – but you don’t need to tell anyone that!

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53 thoughts on “How to create cosmic galaxy effect frosting for cupcakes

    1. Yes it’s different. With liquid food colouring you need a lot of it to get a bright colour, this makes your icing very runny and the colours will not be so intense. Gel colouring is more solid and the colour is very concentrated so you only need a tiny amount (like the size of a pea) and it will be very bright and not alter the consistency of your icing. You can get it from baking shops and Amazon. Hope that helps!

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      1. Thank you! I experimented with liquid dyes yesterday but picked up some gel dyes today. I’ve noticed some people going for a lighter pastel effect (basically what I ended up with yesterday) but I’m really taken with the black galaxy effect you’ve used 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, I have another question for you 🙂 do you remember how much dye you added to the cake batter? Something I forgot to try yesterday (although it probably wouldn’t have worked as well without the black gel).

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  2. Hi, these look gorgeous! Could you tell me what edible glitter you use please? Some of the ones you can buy look a bit crap, but yours look nice & sparkly! Thanks😊

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Yeah that sounds like a great idea! I’m actually planning on making a big galaxy effect cake this week and though about just dotting on the different colours and smoothing them out so if it goes ok I’ll put up a post about it 😊

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      1. Did it work? I was thinking about doing a big cake as well and just dotting the different colors and swirling, wanted to know how it turned out.

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      2. I think it did work for me! Your technique sounds like it would work out great too. I’m actually just putting together a post on how I got on which I hope to have ready tomorrow so you can judge for yourself 😊

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  3. Hi! I am thinking of trying that recipe for my birthday but i’m aiming at around 24 cupcakes. How do I figure out the amount of ingredients I would need for the frosting? Do you perhaps calculate it somehow…? I’m sorry, it’s my first time doing something as fancy as this! It’s absolutely stunning though!

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      1. Update on it. DON’T USE WHIPPED! It came out pastel and the black was over powering over all the other colors. I even went to a local bakery and they tried it… had the same problems. Oh well. We still managed to make some pretty cupcakes tho. Thank you for your help.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. These are dropdead gorgeous!! Oh so glad i found this! 😍 Question. You listed soft butter (in my side of the globe soft butter are those spreadable ones for a quick sandwich per say). Will it have a big of a difference if i used regular room temp butter? Or was this just the way u would normally say “butter, softened at room temp” ? Sorry for the silly 😉

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    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by! Oh wow I didn’t realise it could mean two different things so thanks for pointing that out. I definitely mean “butter softened at room temp” – it’s much tastier! Good luck 😬

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  5. These look amazing!! I want to try but I can never get the colour right with buttercream, do you mind me asking what brand of food colouring gel you use? Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Can the same be done using whipped cream frosting? I will be preparing cakes and cupcakes for a birthday party with the Galaxy theme. Whipped cream frosting is requested for the cakes and cupcakes. The recipe that I used to make whipped cream frosting consist of instant pudding, milk, Cool Whip and vanilla extract.

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    1. Hi there, thanks for looking. I’m afraid I’ve never made whipped cream frosting. If it takes gel colourings well and can be piped then I don’t see why not, but I can’t say for definite. Good luck!

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  7. I have never had luck creating “true black” frosting without either adding a ton of gel, or starting with a chocolate frosting base. What is your trick to get it past the grey stage?

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  8. I made 13 cupcakes today so I used only a fraction of your amount of ingredients and they came out okay. My frosting was very liquid. 😦 I’ve made other cupcake frostings and they turned out fine. Maybe I took the butter out of the fridge way too early (also the cream cheese). Or maybe it didn’t work so well because I used waaay less icing sugar than you. Almost 600g for 20 cupcakes? Well I’d get diabetes from that. 😀

    I like the result but I will try them once again with a better frosting recipe to make them look more like yours. Thanks for the instruction though!

    Greetings from Germany 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your comment – my recipe needs that amount of icing sugar otherwise it doesn’t work and goes runny. It’s cake so it’s got to be sweet 😜 anyway good luck with other recipes, it’s more the technique I’m trying to share here anyway!

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      1. I was totally sure that the missing icing sugar would be the reason. Mistakes were made. 😀 Apparently by me. Doesn’t matter though because everyone loved the cupcakes and I’m sure to try the cake one day! ❤

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  9. Oh, wow! These are gorgeous.
    And perfect for somebody who’s obsessed with space like I am. This looks manageble too even though I suck at baking.
    I guess the gel food colouring doesn’t make the icing as runny?
    Well, it looks great. Thanks for this. 🙂
    LG, m

    Liked by 1 person

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