Spring means Mother’s Day, bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, and brunches. When working on my April editorial calendar, I wanted to publish a dessert fit for all of these April and May occasions. Additionally, one of my goals this month is practicing a new cupcake decorating technique. The pieces all fell into place and before I knew it, a cupcake bouquet had bloomed.
Today I’m teaching you how to arrange a beautiful cupcake bouquet complete with buttercream stems and a charming buttercream bow. A little nervous about all this piping? I have you covered. Crafting these buttercream flowers is a lot simpler than it looks. It just takes a little practice, guidance, and a sturdy frosting.
Completely new to piping tips? Here is my basic guide to piping tips with a video.
The main focus today = buttercream hydrangeas and buttercream roses.
Tools for Cupcake Bouquet
- A large star piping tip for the roses, hydrangeas, and bow. I like the 1M piping tip, but the 2D piping tip works too!
- 352 leaf piping tip for the leaves
- A round or flat tip for the stems. I used a round tip, but it ended up looking messy so I flattened the stems out.
- Piping bags (disposable or washable— 12 or 16 inch)
- Gel food coloring (I used dusty rose, mint green, and violet)
- White sugar pearls and green sprinkles for decoration, both optional
I only used 3 piping tips: flowers + bow, leaves, and stems. Using the same piping tip for the roses and hydrangeas makes things convenient. You could even get away with only 2 piping tips if you use the leaf tip for the stems! If you don’t have this 22 piece piping tip set and are interested in cupcake/cake decorating, pick it up. I LOVE IT. All of the piping tips you need for this cupcake bouquet are included. (You’ll get the 2D instead of the 1M, but both can produce a rose and hydrangea!)
Aren’t the colors beautiful? The muted pink, violet, and mint green are all calming and soft shades for springtime. “Dusty rose” and “mint green” are sold in a 12-pack with other pastel colors and “violet” is sold in another 12-pack with more basic colors. Get creative with which colors you use! I will say that I prefer using gel food coloring instead of liquid food coloring in frosting. Liquid coloring isn’t as concentrated, so you usually need more– and more liquid could alter the consistency of your frosting.
First, bake some cupcakes. I stuck with basic vanilla cupcakes. One batch of my homemade vanilla cupcakes recipe yields 12 standard, plus 12 mini cupcakes. I loved the variation of cupcake sizes for the cupcake bouquet presentation, but you can keep them all the same size if you prefer. Other flavor suggestions:
- Lemon Cupcakes
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Banana Cupcakes
- Confetti Cupcakes
- Pistachio Cupcakes
- Strawberry Cupcakes
We’ll use vanilla buttercream, of course. You want a very sturdy frosting that will hold the detailed flower designs. I strongly recommend the vanilla buttercream recipe below. I love it because while it’s sturdy and strong, it’s also creamy and fluffy. Functional AND tasty, I love it!
PIPING HYDRANGEA FLOWERS
The piped hydrangea technique is very popular right now and great news: it’s a wonderful technique for beginners. I was pleasantly surprised (1) how quick it is and (2) how easy it is. To produce a gorgeous and real-ish looking hydrangea flower, use 2 or 3 colors of frosting. More than 3 colors could look overwhelming and maybe a little messy, too. I used 3 colors. I tinted the frosting pink, purple, and kept some white. There are many ways you can fill the piping bag to pipe hydrangea flowers, but I prefer to keep it REALLY simple. Drop spoonfuls of colored frosting into your piping bag, alternating colors. 1 spoonful of pink, 1 spoonful of purple, 1 spoonful of white, repeat. Your piping bag will be marbled with different colors.
The first hydrangea you pipe may have only 1 color of frosting, so you can always pipe a little frosting onto a plate until you begin to see all the colors coming out. Grab your cupcake and place the piping tip on top of the edge. Using steady and medium pressure, begin piping stars all around the edges, then fill in the center. It’s easier to watch than to read!
Impressive looking, but easier than you ever imagined. What I love most is that every hydrangea cupcake is unique. Some have more pink, others have more purple, some have white and pink, etc. Makes each one special.
I taught you how to pipe roses last year, remember? We made two-toned roses. You can just use the same piping bag you use for your hydrangeas since it’s the same exact piping tip. I piped solid color roses with leftover pink and white frosting. Place the piping tip directly on top of the center of the cupcake. Using steady and medium pressure, pipe a tight spiral around the cupcake. Lessen some pressure as you come to the end. If the end looks a little messy, add some leaves using 352 leaf piping tip.
Roses are really fun and your cupcakes have never looked more lovely!
ARRANGING A CUPCAKE BOUQUET
Now that you have your hydrangea cupcakes and rose cupcakes, begin assembling your cupcake bouquet. There are many ways to present a cupcake bouquet. You can get REALLY crafty and assemble a pot with Styrofoam, but I just used a tray. Any large serving platter is great! Use your leaf tip to fill in any gaps. Adding green sprinkles on the stems, as well as a bow, was a last minute decision because my stems looked a little bare. White sugar pearls are a nice finishing touch.
Do you want your cupcake bouquet to have only roses, only hydrangeas, or both? Maybe some buttercream sunflowers too? Get crazy, have fun! By the way, you use the same leaf tip for the sunflower petals.
Cupcake bouquets are so simple and look way more intimidating than they really are. They’re a wonderful addition to any bridal or baby shower, Mother’s Day, brunch, wedding, or any event this season!! Assuming everyone loves flowers… and cupcakes… and a lot of buttercream. 😉Print
How to arrange a beautiful cupcake bouquet complete with buttercream stems and a charming buttercream bow!
- 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks; 345g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 6 cups (720g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream (milk works too but the frosting won’t be as creamy)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- salt, to taste
- food coloring (I prefer gel coloring)*
- 1 batch baked & cooled cupcakes (vanilla, lemon, chocolate, etc)*
- optional for garnish: green sprinkles, white sugar pearls
- With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Mix on low until it begins to come together, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. (I add 1/8 tsp salt.)
- Spoon 3/4 cup of frosting into a separate bowl. Stir in a drop of green food coloring. Add to a piping bag fitted with the 352 leaf piping tip (see note). This will be for the stems and leaves. Set aside.
- Divide remaining frosting up evenly depending how many colors you are using. Tint frosting your desired colors.
- Fit a piping bag with a 1M piping tip or 2D piping tip. Add spoonfuls of frosting to the bag, alternating colors. Your piping bag will be marbled with different colors. Twist the open end shut and squeeze the frosting down to the tip. Squeeze some frosting onto a plate until you begin to see more than 1 color. (Or just pipe this onto a cupcake!)
- Hydrangeas: Place the piping tip on top of the edge of a cupcake. Using steady and medium pressure, begin piping stars all around the edges, then fill in the center. For some flair, add a few white sugar pearls to the hydrangeas!
- Roses: Place the piping tip on top of the center of the cupcake. Using steady and medium pressure, pipe a tight spiral around the cupcake. Lessen some pressure as you come to the end. If the end looks a little messy, add some leaves using the 352 leaf piping tip.
- Assemble the bouquet: Arrange cupcakes in a circular shape on a serving platter or food-safe tray. Use any extra cupcakes as decor around the bouquet or serve separately. Pipe leaves around any edges of cupcakes to fill the gaps. Pipe the stems coming out of the bottom of the bouquet. If desired, top the stems with green sprinkles. Using the 1M piping tip or 2D piping tip and any color frosting, pipe a bow on top of the stems.
- Your bouquet is ready to serve! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
- Make Ahead Instructions: Make frosting 1 day in advance, cover it tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to use the next day. Beat it on medium speed with the mixer for a minute or two before using.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Cupcake Liners | Cupcake Pan | Mini Cupcake Pan | Piping Bags | Pastel Gel Paste Color Kit | Regular Gel Paste Color Kit | Wilton 1M Open Star Tip | Wilton 410 Round Tip | Wilton 352 Leaf Tip | White Sugar Pearls
- Food Coloring: Gel food coloring colors I used are dusty rose, mint green, and violet.
- Cupcakes: One batch of my homemade vanilla cupcakes (what I used) yields 12 standard, plus 12 mini cupcakes. I loved the variation of cupcake sizes for the cupcake bouquet presentation, but you can keep them all the same size if you prefer.
- How To Make Stems: I created a few different cupcake bouquets and was never pleased with my stems. I settled on using a round tip, then flattened the stems out with a spoon so they looked less messy. Use any round or flat piping tip for the stems, but be sure to use a coupler so you can easily switch between your stem tip and leaf tip. You could even use the leaf tip for the stems and if that’s the case, you don’t need a coupler. 🙂