Cupcake bouquets are not just cute to look at; they make delicious gifts for family and friends. You don’t have to be a world-class pastry chef to create this edible work of art, either; all you need are a few ingredients, some baked cupcakes and about an hour out of your day.
Bake cupcakes according to your recipe using colored cupcake liners. Use liners that match the color scheme of your flower pot and tissue paper. Allow cupcakes to cool before assembling your bouquet. Assemble your cupcake bouquet on the same day you plan on delivering it, since they’re difficult to store whole.
Place a Styrofoam ball inside the flower pot. A repurposed and redecorated cookie tin, coffee canister or formula canister works as a suitable container replacement, too. Use a ball that is wide enough to cover the opening of the pot and has a well-rounded dome sticking from the top. Press the Styrofoam ball into the opening of the container enough so that it isn’t moving around. The larger the Styrofoam ball, the more cupcakes and larger the container you need. Expect to use about 10 cupcakes for a 5-inch diameter Styrofoam. A Styrofoam ball is the easiest to use, but a Styrofoam cone can also work. Fill the bottom of your container with Styrofoam or paper and hot-glue the cone so that the base rests 1/2-inch from the rim of your container. A cone requires more cupcakes than a dome, so expect to use up to 20 cupcakes for a 10-inch tall cone. Don't use floral foam -- Styrofoam used for floral displays -- because these can flake off and crumble under the weight of the cupcakes.
Tint your buttercream in colors that complement the tissue paper and cupcake liners you're using or leave the buttercream plain white. Decorate your cupcakes using a layer of medium-to-thick consistency buttercream to cover the top of the unfrosted cupcakes. Cover the entire surface of the cupcake -- this will keep the cupcake from drying out while it's sitting in the display.
Set cupcakes in the refrigerator to chill until the cake surface has become cold and the buttercream is firm -- this tightens the crumb of your cupcake so that it does not crumble or break apart when you insert the skewer.
Push wooden skewers at a 45-degree angle around the sides, top and bottom of the Styrofoam ball. Skewers must be long enough to insert into three-quarters of the cupcake, but also penetrate deep enough into the styrofoam -- about an inch -- to hold the weight of the cupcake. Cut any excess off the skewer using the wire cutters.
Dip the tip of the wooden skewer into prepared royal icing. This glues the cupcake to the skewer and prevents them from falling off.
Slide each cupcake carefully onto the skewer. Space cupcakes evenly and adjust skewers if needed to cover as much space, but don’t worry about small gaps or openings.
Cut tissue paper into teardrop shapes resembling a leaf. Make the leaves long enough so that their tips stick out slightly past the top of the cupcakes. Place a small amount of royal icing, using a piping bag, in the gaps and openings in between each cupcake. Push the tissue paper leaves. Continue the process until all gaps are filled and you can no longer see the Styrofoam. If you don't have tissue paper, fill the gaps and spaces with green-tinted buttercream or fake leaves found in your craft store's floral department. Dip leaves into the royal icing and press them, stem side down, into the Styrofoam.
Let the cupcake bouquet sit for at least an hour until the royal icing has hardened. Cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Use decorator tips and a piping bag to create different frosting designs on your cupcake.
Don't put your cupcake bouquet in the refrigerator -- the condensation softens the royal icing and can make your cupcake bouquet fall apart.
Cupcake bouquets are top-heavy; secure them before transporting so they don't fall over.