I think this cupcake looks pretty good. My piping is improving and I like how this particular swirl turned out. But. The sad truth is this icing tastes disgusting. It is Italian Meringue Butter Icing and is quite tricky to make. You have to be confident with egg whites and hot sugar syrup and following your instincts to know when it is ready.
And, it turns out, it also really has to be made with butter. My fake butter icing is edible because the amount of sugar in it mostly masks the taste of the margarine but this icing has twice as much marg as sugar in it and there is no escaping from the taste. Which is a shame because the texture is good and I enjoyed piping with it. But there is no point in icing which doesn’t taste good, so next week’s birthday cake, which this was a dry run for, will have fondant icing instead. And if I make this icing again, it will be for people who can eat butter so no compromises will be necessary.