Mock Cupcake & Icing Practice

A cake or cupcake decorator I am NOT! Because my talent as well as the talent of many of my students is limited, alot of practice is necessary to help perfect our decorating techniques! Since I don’t want to waste money on actual cupcake and icing ingredients, but I do want my students to practice, this is the perfect solution. The Mock Cupcake & Icing Practice allows students to learn and apply various techniques and it doesn’t cost a fortune in the process!


  • What do pool noodle and instant potatoes have to do with cupcakes?
  • The answer is easy! The long pool noodle that can be purchased at the Dollar Store for $1 can be cut down into 2-3 inch cupcake forms with a serrated knife and a cutting board. I think I got 16 out of one…be sure to premeasure first! I linked one to Amazon below in case you don’t have access to a Dollar Store.
  • The box of instant potatoes can be mixed with water until is resembles the consistency of actual icing and you can even add food coloring!
  • However, before students actually get to practice icing techniques, they must explore the variety of types based on various tips that come with the icing bags.



  • Prior to actually practicing on the mock cupcakes, students explore various ways to ice a cupcake via this YouTube video titled, “10 Ways to Ice a Cupcake“. There is a notes form for students to complete as they view the video to keep track of the different techniques and tips.
  • Optional: The pool noodle cupcake forms can be used as is, or you can wrap them in foil or plastic wrap to cover the hole. Either way, they are easy to clean up by removing the covering and/or washing with hot, soapy water!
  • Students will mix up their mashed potato icing and practice all of the techniques from the video on their mini pool noodle forms. Their goal is to choose 3 techniques to perfect. Depending on how students do, you may need to add additional practice days before giving them the real ingredients.
  • When students are ready, they prepare real cupcakes from scratch or box mixes (depending on your time and age group) and real buttercream icing. Students must divide up their cupcakes between group members and apply the 3 techniques they practiced. Students must photograph and present their 3 best iced cupcakes for a grade.
  • If you want more extensive icing and decorating practice, here are additional resources that may be helpful: Cake Decorating Unit, Cake Piping Techniques from Wilton and Clover Cake Decorating for Beginners from Utah State University Cooperative Extension. If you happen to have really talented students or an advanced baking class, you might want to consider having them make beautiful cupcake bouquets!


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