Forget a cherry on top, there's only one way to finish off a cake or a cupcake and that's with even more sugar! Here is a quick run through of some of my favourite icing.
Buttercream (as seen here)
Mix together 115g of softened butter with 170g of icing sugar.
Use a wooden spoon to beat well together for a thick, rich butter cream.
With an electric whisk you can create a much lighter icing - in texture and in colour. This is what I use to pipe onto cupcakes, add a drop of food colouring to suit.
Glacé Icing (for example)
Difficult for me to describe the quantities you might need for a batch of cupcakes - I've just gotten to the stage where I add it into a bowl and make it up as I go along.
Start with about 3 tablespoons of water in a bowl, and add a tablespoon of icing sugar at a time - stirring thoroughly. Keep going (with lots and lots and even more icing sugar) till you get the texture you desire, and add more water if it looks like you need a bit more quantity.
This is very easy to make with lemon juice instead of water for lemon flavoured icing, orange juice for... You get the idea!
Glacé icing will get you a lovely smooth topping. If you wanted something with a bit more crunch and crumble, like you would find on top of a lemon loaf - you need to change the sugar. Try a combination of caster sugar and granulated sugar. When you make it, it appears quite watery - but it will dry out and granulate again.
I saw a recipe the other day for a raspberry and orange crush cupcake. Make a batch of cupcakes with some crushed raspberries folded through., and when cooked top with an orange sugar crush... Definitely the next one on my list!
Chocolate Fudge (pictured at top, with Barbie Sprinkles)
OK, guilty secret alert, but ever since I tried Betty Crocker's Chocolate Fudge Icing I've stopped trying to make my own. It tastes divine! It's a wee bit expensive so I do intend to find a home-made version, but I keep saying "Next time!"
See Also: Cupcakes; Cakes