Ÿ I'm always trying new recipes, but my favorite time saver is to alter a box cake. I follow the directions on a white cake mix, but substitute 1 cup of the water with fruit purée (baby food). You can also add other flavorings such as extracts and spices. A favorite combination is a box cake with applesauce, cinnamon and mini chocolate chips.

Ÿ Fill your decorating bag by placing it in a plastic cup for support

Ÿ To add a little color, take a Popsicle stick or knife and swirl some color gel around the inside of an empty bag and then add a different color of icing. It makes a variegated look

Ÿ For cupcake decorating, use a #1 M or N tip. It will be your cupcake's best friend.

Ÿ Using the #1 M tip, start in center of cupcake and work your way around to the outside. It will look like a large rosette.

Ÿ Using a #21 tip, do a shell border around the cupcake and then fill the rest with stars, all with the #21 tip.

Ÿ Add extra powdered sugar to grocery store vanilla icing to stiffen it for decorating.

Ÿ Use a coupler in the decorating bag for extra support and to allow for changing tips.

Ÿ Load two colors in the decorating bag side-by-side to pipe a two-toned swirl on the cupcake.

Ÿ Candies and cookies make good cupcake toppers.

Ÿ Sprinkles make everything better!