Unless you have a skilled and steady hand, decorating cakes and cupcakes can be challenging.

There's a lot to worry about. First, you have to try to smoothly apply the frosting (which is easier said than done). Then there's piping the frosting, which involves coordination between your two hands -- one has to apply consistent pressure to the bag while the other moves at a steady and elegant pace. It's stressful! And if you don't succeed it can result in a cake that looks like this.

That's some serious pressure. And you know what? You don't have to take it because stencils can get the job done. Cake stencils call for just a sifter and some powdered sugar (or cocoa) -- no frosting necessary. But how many of us occassional bakers have a stencil lying around? And how many of us feel like going out to get one? (If you do, they are fairly affordable.)

Luckily, with a genius cake decorating hack, you can decorate your baked treats with items lying around the house -- so long as you're into lace and doilies.

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This hack, brought to us by blogger Sweet Verbena, is incredibly simple to do. Use a piece of lace, the cut-out part of a doilie or anything else similarly patterned and lay it over the (cup)cake. Dust with powdered sugar or cocoa. Quick tip: cocoa shows up nicely on yellow cake and powdered sugar pops on red velvet or chocolate. The only downside to this trick is that you have to wait to decorate right before serving for the best results -- the moisture from the cake makes this dusting disappear with time.

Want to try this hack? Give it a shot with one of the best cupcake recipes from the web.

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  • Blackberry Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://call-me-cupcake.blogspot.mx/2011/08/blackberry-cupcakes.html" target="_hplink">Blackberry Cupcakes recipe</a> by Call me Cupcake</strong> While these cupcakes look awfully fancy, they're made with a simple blackberry batter, vanilla buttercream and a drizzle of freshly made blackberry syrup. They're simple and delicious.

  • Nutella Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/nutella-cupcakes/" target="_hplink">Nutella Cupcakes recipe</a> by My Baking Addiction</strong> Not only are these cupcakes made with Nutella, but they're also topped with a piece of hazelnut chocolate.

  • Blood Orange Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.cafejohnsonia.com/2009/05/blood-orange-cupcakes-with-faux.html" target="_hplink">Blood Orange Cupcakes recipe</a> by Cafe Johnsonia</strong> Blood oranges have a unique flavor that comes across beautifully in cupcake form. The zest is used to flavor both the batter and the frosting.

  • S'mores Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.pastryaffair.com/blog/smores-cupcakes.html" target="_hplink">S'mores Cupcakes recipe</a> by Pastry Affair</strong> If you're a fan of s'mores, you're going to love this cupcake. Not only is it gorgeous, but it captures the flavors just right.

  • Buttered Rum Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://adventurescooking.blogspot.com/2012/02/buttered-rum-cupcakes-and-pirate.html" target="_hplink">Buttered Rum Cupcakes recipe</a> by Adventures in Cooking</strong> The whimsical decoration of this cupcake is like nothing we've seen before; and the batter is buttered rum flavor. It doesn't get much better than this.

  • Chocolate Cupcakes With Cherry Mascarpone Frosting

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://inthelittleredhouse.blogspot.com/2012/02/small-and-simple-things.html" target="_hplink">Chocolate Cupcakes with Cherry Mascarpone Frosting recipe</a> by The Little Red House</strong> We wish we would see mascarpone used as frosting on cupcakes more often -- it just makes sense.

  • Salted Caramel Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://passthesushi.com/salted-caramel-cupcakes" target="_hplink">Salted Caramel Cupcakes recipe</a> by Pass The Sushi</strong> We love salted caramel everything -- and we definitely love it when that flavor translates into a cupcake.

  • Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://thefauxmartha.com/2011/09/12/chocolate-ganache-cupcakes/" target="_hplink">Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes recipe</a> by Faux Martha</strong> A chocolate cupcake filled with ganache and topped with Italian meringue buttercream, these cupcakes are hard to beat.

  • Banana Cupcakes With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.yourcupofcake.com/2011/02/banana-cupcakes-with-cinnamon-cream-cheese-buttercream.html" target="_hplink">Banana Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream recipe</a> by Your Cup of Cake</strong> Banana bread is delicious, but these cupcakes boast the same flavors with the addition of buttercream frosting.

  • Vanilla Cupcakes With Vanilla Buttercream

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://jennysteffens.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-best-vanilla-cupcakes-with-vanilla.html" target="_hplink">Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream recipe</a> by Jenny Steffens Hobick</strong> No matter how many flavors of cupcakes we try, there will never be anything that can quite top a classic vanilla buttercream cupcake.

  • Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dessert/brownie-batter-chocolate-fudge-cupcakes.html" target="_hplink">Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes recipe</a> by Kevin and Amanda</strong> If you're a chocolate lover, look no further for a rich chocolatey cupcake recipe.


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