I recently made this cupcake bouquet for a baking competition at my day job, and I thought I'd take a minute to share the frosting recipe and technique for making the bouquet. You'll notice that this is not my usual frosting recipe; the frosting for this cookie bouquet needs to be fairly stiff and able to form a crust, which sounds like it would be something disgusting, but only means that it will give you crisp edges on your roses and that your roses will not fall off of your cupcakes, like they would with a softer frosting. Take my word on this. Also, I hope to update this with some pictures of frosting techniques and assembly, but since I didn't originally plan on posting this, I don't have pictures of the original assembly!
The cupcakes should be more dense than my normal cupcakes, too, in order to hold up to the the toothpicks that will support the bouquet. Since I didn't feel like cultivating a brand new cake recipe the night before I needed to submit my creation to the judges, I modified this Simple White Cake from Allrecipes by doubling the recipe and substituting almond extract for the vanilla one for one for a classic wedding cake texture and flavor.
I made the frosting (recipe is at the bottom of the post), and then chilled it while the cupcakes were baking and cooling off. It is essentially that your cupcakes are completely cool before assembling the bouquet.
For the assembly, I used:
- the doubled Allrecipes cake recipe as cupcakes
- the frosting recipe below, ALSO DOUBLED
- Wilton 1M tip
- Pastry bag, or ziplock bag, in which to place the tip and frosting.
- green tissue paper, cut into 2" x 2" ( roughly ) squares.
- toothpicks ( the number you need may vary, but expect to use as many as 40 )
- an 8" styrofoam ball from the craft store ( or wherever you happen to find your styrofoam balls )
- vase/ base capable of holding the weight of the ball and 24 cupcakes plus frosting
- ribbon, to tie at the base of the vase
- Press the styrofoam ball into the vase until it is firmly wedged in. You will hear crunching. It's okay! It's just styrofoam. This is why you bought it.
- Add each cupcake to the ball in the following manner:
- Stick two toothpicks, approximately ¾" apart into the styrofoam ball.
- Jab the cupcake ( through its little cupcake liner ) onto the toothpicks until it is resting on the ball
- For the bottom row, it is helpful to slightly angle the toothpicks up, so that the cupcake rests on them at a 45° angle instead of a perpendicularly, so that they have a little something extra keeping them from sliding off of the bouquet.
- Repeat until the ball is covered in cupcakes. It's totally okay if you have some small holes where you can see the ball underneath -- we'll take care of that later.
- Frost each cupcake using the "rose" method:
- Press the tip to the cupcake, squeeze to get a bit of frosting going onto dead center of the cupcake
- Lift the tip straight up ¼" to ½", then move it back down (almost touching the cupcake) immediately next to the first bit of frosting.
- Keeping the pressure on the frosting bag firm enough to have frosting constantly moving through the tip, move the tip around the first bit of frosting, and continue moving around in a spiral until you reach the outside of the cupcake
- Finish the rose by releasing the pressure from the frosting bag ( to stop the flow of frosting ), and pressing the tip lightly onto the cupcake while pulling down and away.
- Once all of the cupcakes are frosted, take two squares of tissue paper and stack them so they are offset. The outline of your two pieces of tissue paper should have 8 points, not 4 points. Stick a toothpick through the tissue paper, and stick the tissue paper and toothpick assembly into the ball to fill any holes between cupcakes.
- Tie a ribbon on the vase, and you're finished!
Cupcake Bouquet Frosting
- 1 cup salted butter 2 sticks or ½ pound, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- In a large bowl, beat the room temperature butter for 1 minute on medium.
- Turn off the mixer, add 1 cup of the sugar, beat on low until combined.
- Repeat until all of the sugar has been mixed into the butter.
- Add the heavy cream, and beat on medium for 2 minutes.