How-to Video: Piping Icing on a Cupcake 101 (Ovaltine Cupcake with Nutella Buttercream)

I was amazed recently to find Ovaltine on the shelves at the grocery store. I hadn’t had or thought about it in about 35 years. There are certain memories of childhood that hold space in the brain in a sensory way, and Ovaltine is one of them. I can’t remember an actual occasion of drinking it, but I do remember the excitement and malty flavor from way back. When I drink it now I recall our black and white television, big cars with no seat belts, sans-a-belt slacks and the Brady Bunch. These were simple days, so it seemed to a 7 year old, and Ovaltine was one of the glimmering bonuses that life had to offer. Keep in mind that my household was without Twinkies or Soda, so when Ovaltine hit the threshold it was an occasion, a glorious one at that. It was like drinking a malted milk ball and I was in heaven.

In order to make the cupcakes look as gorgeous as they taste, you’ll want to decorate them like a pro. I’ve put together a video on how to pipe on a perfect base of icing. It can be the foundation for other decorations or leave it alone and it is a classic finish. I will share some tips on how to use the pastry bag and the key to piping anything from stars to roses.

Ovaltine Cupcakes and Nutella Buttercream


1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

2 ¼ cups sugar

4 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

1/2 cup Ovaltine Chocolate Malt

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk


1/2 recipe Vanilla Buttercream

1/2 cup Nutella

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.

Whisk together the flour, Ovaltine, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.

Combine the melted butter with the sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla, mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Add a third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix to combine on low speed. Add half of the buttermilk and mix to combine. Repeat with another third of the flour and the rest of the buttermilk, ending with the last third of flour, mixing after each addition. Mix the cake batter on medium-low speed for 1 minute.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners, not filling more than half way. You may end up having to fill a few more cupcake liners, but don’t overfill.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before decorating.

To make the buttercream:

Add the nutella to the finished buttercream and mix on low speed until it is well blended.

Here is a How-to video on how to pipe the buttercream onto your cupcakes to get a professional look:

Here is the equipment I used in the video:

18 Inch Featherweight Decorating Bag

Star Tip

More How-to Videos:

Part 1: Cut and Fill a Cake Like a Pro!

Part 2: Crumb Coat Your Cake

Part 3: Smoothly Cover your Cake with Icing

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13 thoughts to “How-to Video: Piping Icing on a Cupcake 101 (Ovaltine Cupcake with Nutella Buttercream)”

  1. This is a website I will come back to again and again. I’m the birthday cake maker in my family and your videos are going to be helpful.
    Thanks, Victoria, Bellingham, WA

  2. Thank you for the video on icing. I’ve always wondered how to pipe icing onto cupcakes. The whole release the pressure before lifting the tip is revolutionary…I now get it! Thank you so much!

  3. Hello Zoe!
    First I must say I love your blog! I read it every week and your recipes seem to be wonderful! =D
    I was impressed when you said that Ovomaltine disappeared from the shelves at the grocery store!!Where in Brazil where I live it’s a very common product!So interesting to see how easy things to get here are difficult in the us and the other way around!!

    This recipe seems to be very tasty because it joins together two things that I love :Omaltine and Nutella! I’ll try it very soom and hopefully I’ll be able do pipe the buttercream as well!I love your videos!


  4. Unfortunately trying to pipe the icing was a bit of a failure but the tips on pressure were extremely useful, thank you! The cupcakes themselves were extremely moist and had a great texture but sadly I didn’t get enough of the ovaltine/nutella flavour despite upping both. Thanks for the recipe though!

    1. Hi SBN,

      Cake decorating can take some practice, that is why I suggest starting on the parchment and doing the motions until they feel really comfortable. Glad the video was helpful.

      Ovaltine is a subtle flavor, but you can try increasing it even more, just not so much that the consistency of the batter is thrown off.

      Thanks, Zoë

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