Let cupcakes cool before frosting. Even the youngest bakers can help. Give them miniature spatulas or small, blunt butter knives for the frosting and turn them loose on the decorations.
Hold cupcakes by their bottoms and roll the frosted tops in bowls of coconut flakes, chopped nuts, sugar sprinkles, candy confetti, etc. If you want to sprinkle the toppings instead, place the cupcakes on racks set on baking pans to catch any stray bits.
If you're serving cupcakes at a party, you can bake them a week ahead and freeze them until you're ready to decorate. By the time you're finished with a dozen or so, they'll be thawed and ready for serving. Display them on a tiered cake server or special cupcake stand.
When you're decorating with juicy fruit, place the fruit just before serving so the color doesn't "bleed" into the frosting.
Silicon cupcake liners let you play with shapes such as squares, hearts and butterflies, and come in an array of colors. Hint: even though silicon has a nonstick surface, a light mist of cooking spray helps the cakes release more easily.