I have been wanting to attempt making cupcake sunflowers for a while. Everyone seems to have a different version of them, but I purchased a leaf tip a while back that I hadn't had a chance to use. I tend to get bored of making the same design over and over, and since the Ladybug cupcakes I made a while back were so popular, I thought that it would be easy to make a neat little garden of cuppies!
I had a request from my resident to make vanilla cupcakes. I tend to like to make crazy kinds of cupcakes instead of just plain vanilla or chocolate, so I accepted the challenge (and just another exam of me going above and beyond... heh!). I compared various recipes for vanilla cupcakes online, from the Magnolia Cupcakes to the Billy's Bakery version. They were actually quite similar. I sort of integrated both of them and came up with my own version of a vanilla cupcake.
Baa Baa Vanilla Cupcakes - makes approximately 30 cupcakes
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the two flours and the baking powder. Stir to ensure that the ingredients are mixed.
- Cream butter in a large bowl on medium speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the sugar to the butter, mixing well after each cup.
- Add each egg separately, mixing well with the mixer after each addition.
- Add the vanilla to the milk. Alternate adding the dry mixture and the milk to the egg-sugar-butter mix. Mix well after each addition on medium speed so that the mixture is uniform.
- Fill the cupcake liners with 1/2 - 3/4 of batter. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
I don't normally over-indulge myself on cupcakes, but these were sooo good that I had to eat a few without frosting! I also didn't take any pictures of them undecorated. You will just have to believe me that they are vanilla, I guess :)
I used my favorite Swiss Meringue Buttercream for the frosting, since it has a light and buttery taste and works well for piping. Thanks, Martha!
- Leaf tip (available here) OR you can cut a "V" from the end of a zip-lock bag reinforced with scotch tape!!
- Crushed chocolate cookies or black sugar for the "seeds"
- Yellow-tinted buttercream (or other stiff frosting of choice)
2. Pour the decoration you will be using as the seeds into a flat bottom bowl. Put the cupcake face down into the sprinkles/chocolate/cookies to cover the entire surface of the cupcake. The picture I took of this unfortunately came out blurry.
3. Using the leaf tip (or plastic bag) with the V perpendicular to the cupcake, pipe on the yellow buttercream in a ring around the outside of the cupcake. This took a while for me to get the hang of it. For the first five cupcake I also was using the tip incorrectly. The pictures on the Wilton website make it look like you want the V parallel to the cupcake, but it won't look like a leaf (see my picture below). I only took pictures of my good looking cupcakes, but I guarantee there were ugly ones.
This is what the piping looks like if you have the "V" parallel to the cupcake.
A single ring of petals
4. Make a second ring of petals slightly overlapping the outer circle. It is nice to put the added petals between the ones you have already piped.
5. Ta-da! Sunflowers! Using brightly colored paper liners make them look like they are in a flower pot :)
I then made the ladybug cupcakes (you can see how from my earlier post here)
The purple flowers that you see in some of the pictures are violet-colored marzipan that I rolled out into thin strips and then rolled up at a slight angle to make them look like flowers. I didn't make very many so I didn't make a photo tutorial.
And there you have it! It's easy to make a nice little garden from cupcakes. If I had more time, it would have been cute to put one of the ladybugs on top of the sunflowers, too!
Happy cupcaking! :) May your kitchens be full of little yummy cakes ... like mine!