Cristina Cooks: Hydrangea Cupcake Bouquet

Cristina Cooks: Hydrangea Cupcake Bouquet

Materials Needed:

  • Galvanized Pot 6” diameter opening
  • Rocks
  • 6” Styrofoam Ball
  • Moss Topper
  • Toothpicks
  • Cupcakes
  • Buttercream Icing
  • Piping Bag
  • 2D Large Closed Star Tip

Ingredients for Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 10 large, fresh egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions for buttercream:

  1. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.
  1. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so). *Don't begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl feels neutral, and not warm.
  1. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). *If mixture is too runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes and continue mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
  1. Add additional flavors, purees, as desired.

Assembly of Bouquet Vase: Everything you will need for the base of your cupcake bouquet can be found at your home and garden or craft store.

  1. You can use any sturdy vase, bucket, or even a terracotta pot. I used a galvanized pot.
  1. You’ll need to weigh down the pot with marbles, rocks, or even a sack of flour.
  1. Next, get a Styrofoam ball that fits in the pot. My pot was 6” in diameter, so I bought a 6” Styrofoam ball. Then I cut the Styrofoam ball in half with a cerated knife.
  1. To secure the foam ball to the pot, I placed beads of crafting glue around the inside lip of the pot and then placed the foam ball flush against the inside of the pot. You can also use a hot glue gun.
  1. Next, I wanted to disguise the foam ball and make a nice green base that would peak through any gaps between cupcakes. I bought a moss mat to use as a topper. I secured the moss mat topper with floral pins. And we have our bouquet base!

Bake Cupcakes: Next, we’ll need cupcakes. In order to make my Hydrangea Cupcake Bouquet, first bake your cupcakes.

  1. Use any box cake or your favorite recipe.
  1. I can fit 17 cupcakes for a 6” diameter Styrofoam ball
  1. Let them cool completely so your icing doesn’t liquefy

Figure out spacing of cupcakes: I needed to figure out the spacing of the cupcakes. We’re using toothpicks to secure the cupcakes to the Styrofoam ball.

  1. Start by placing one toothpick at the very top-most point of the foam ball.
  1. Then, thread a cupcake liner onto the toothpick. This will be your guide of how close to place your next toothpick. Continue until the toothpicks cover the foam ball.
  1. At the base of the cupcakes I would suggest two toothpicks per cupcake and insert them into the foam ball at an angle. This will help support the cupcakes at the bottom better.

Loading the piping bag: In order to create the look of hydrangea petals with icing we need to start with two different shades of icing. There are many different colors of hydrangeas. But no matter what color, they are always two-toned.

  1. We need a special tip to create the look we want. I’m using a 2D Large Closed Star Tip.
  1. Cut the end of the piping bag and place the tip through the opening we’ve just created.
  1. I placed the piping bag into a glass cup to make filling the bag with icing easier Next, I spooned one color into one side of the bag. Then I spooned the second color into the other side of the bag.
  1. I suggest using a buttercream icing. Butter cream icing is nice and thick so the “petals” will keep shape. Other icings may not be thick enough.
  1. Remove the piping bag from the glass and twist the excess bag off to force the icing toward the tip.

Creating the look of hydrangea petals: place your cupcakes on a Lazy Susan or hold the cupcake in hand, whichever feel better for you.

  1. Start with the tip of the piping bag flush on the surface of the cupcake.
  1. Squeeze the piping bag, pull up for a beat, and stop squeezing. That is your first cluster of hydrangea petals!
  1. Repeat, covering the cupcake in one layer of petals.
  1. Turn your wrist at different angles per cluster of petals to create a natural look. Go in for a 2nd sweep to fill in any gaps.
  1. If you mess up, just go in and cover your mistake with another “cluster of petals”.
  1. Side by side, the cupcake “hydrangeas” create a full look for your bouquet.

Placing Hydrangea Cupcakes On The Styrofoam Ball:

  1. You may want to poke starter holes through the bottom of the cupcakes to make it easier to place on the previously staged toothpicks.
  1. Start on the top and work your way down.
  1. Place them gingerly so as to not mess up the icing “petals”. If you mess them up, just go back in with the piping bag and cover the mistake.

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