It's pretty. It's fun. Best of all, you can eat it. These are just three reasons to make a cupcake bouquet for your next baby shower, bridal shower or birthday bash. Prepare the base in advance, get yourself some buttercream tints to match the party's color scheme, and you're good to go.
What you need:
- Vase or flower pot
- Styrofoam ball
- Paper cups
- Sticky putty (poster putty)
- Hot glue gun (or other glue)
- Cupcakes baked in green liners
- Extra green cupcake liners
- American buttercream (tinted in whatever colors you'd like your flowers to be)
- Piping bags
- Large star tip
1. Build the bouquet base
It's worth the time to build a solid base . Future you will thank you when it's time to transport your cupcake bouquet.
Place a styrofoam ball into a flower pot or wide-mouth vase. The ball should have the same diameter as the vase or be a tiny bit smaller. Anchor it to the vase with a little bit of sticky putty or hot glue if you plan on reusing it. I used a 6-inch round ball for my bouquet base.
2. Attach the paper cups
The extra work of cutting and gluing paper cups to the styrofoam ball may seem like a pain, but toothpicks alone will not do the job. Trust me: there will be heartbreak if you skip this step.
Cut off the bottom of a paper cup, leaving the sides about 1 inch tall. Repeat with enough cups for all of your cupcakes. Add a drop of hot glue to the bottom of one of the cut cups. Glue the cup to the styrofoam ball so the edge sits on the edge of the vase.
Push a toothpick through the bottom of the cup into the styrofoam ball. Leave about ½-inch of toothpick sticking up. Insert two more toothpicks to create a triangular shape.
Repeat with more cups and toothpicks all the way around the edge of the vase, then fill in the top of the ball. Use three toothpicks in the cups on the side of the ball and two toothpicks in the cups on top of the ball. Place the cups as close to each other as possible, but don't worry if there are some gaps. We'll fill them in later.
3. Add the cupcakes
Place cupcakes inside the cups. Make sure all the toothpicks in each cup pierce the cupcake paper to anchor the desserts.
4. Fill in the empty spaces
Turn a cupcake liner inside out and gather the sides together, creating a little ruffle. Use the ruffle to fill in the gaps between the paper cups.
If needed, anchor the ruffle with a toothpick. Repeat until all the gaps are filled.
5. Pipe the frosting
Now to decorate ! Fit the piping bag with the large star tip, then fill with your tinted buttercreams. I used solid pink and yellow for my mix of hydrangeas and rosettes, but feel free to do it your way. You can even mix colors in your piping bag to make flowers with variegated petals, or make a dramatic monochrome arrangement with flowers all in the same shade.
To pipe hydrangeas:
Hold the piping bag vertically about ¼-inch from the surface of a cupcake. Apply pressure and allow the buttercream to billow out of the tip, creating a single, small blossom. Release pressure when all the petals of the blossom are touching. Repeat and overlap blossoms until the cupcake is covered.
To pipe rosettes:
Hold the piping bag vertically over the center of the cupcake less than ¼-inch from the surface. Apply pressure to the bag until the frosting makes contact with the cupcake. Continue applying pressure while moving the tip in a circular motion around the center. Begin to decrease pressure as you finish the circle you're piping. Release pressure entirely and pull the tip down and away from the swirl to finish.
See how using a mix of different flowers really amps up the texture? Total wow factor.
Once you're done piping, pop your bouquet into the fridge for at least 20 minutes so it sets up firm. Don't take it out until it's go time. If the arrangement is nice and cold, it's much more likely that everything will stay put while you're moving it.
Photos by Erin Gardner