A whirlwind of a week and I was off for the weekend before I got a chance to post about the rose cupcake topiaries I made for my daughter’s 4th birthday in Wonderland! So here it is, a bit late, so let’s get into it!
It was about two years ago that I first tried to convince my eldest daughter to let me throw her an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party. It all started when I chanced upon this flower bouquet. I saw this and immediately wanted to make one. I mean how awesome is a cupcake bouquet?!! Instantly my mind and mouth started singing “painting the roses red, we’re painting the roses red”. No matter what I said she was not interested in an Alice party. I bookmarked the bouquet anyway.
Then last fall I spotted this rose cupcake bouquet on Heather Bailey’s blog and I knew, I knew I was going to throw an Alice themed party for my youngest daughter’s 4th birthday. It was my last chance, it was do or die! But how to pipe those roses!
Then this past February, Amanda of i am baker posted this amazing and amazingly simple rose cake tutorial. All I needed was a 1M tip? Seriously, piping roses is that easy? Get out! As luck would have it, it was the one tip I did not have, but a quick trip to Bulk Barn fixed that. All I needed was a 1M tip! Well and a couple of pots and styrofoam balls.
Styrofoam balls were easy to find at Michael’s and with my 40% off coupons, they were cost efficient. It was a little trickier finding the right pots. I searched ALL OVER for weeks! A lucky late night trip to Home Sense yielded these green pots for $5.00 each! Perfectly shaped and a much better price than the pots I was finding in just about every other store. How much do I love Home Sense? Lots!
I also spent about a week searching for the right cupcake liners. I really wanted brown liners for the rose stem and could not find brown liners anywhere in town. Then I opened my baking cupboard one afternoon to an avalanche of candy melts, only to find a cupcake kit from Valentine’s Day 2010 which included lightly polka-dotted brown cupcake liners. Perfect! I love how things just fall into place. Ha ha, pun was not intended.
I wrapped the styrofoam balls in a single piece of green tissue paper and placed the ball on the pot. If your ball sets into the pot snugly, no taping or gluing needed, just wrap and place. These are 10″ balls, but you can use any size ball for a bouquet or topiary, just choose your pot first, then head to the styrofoam balls and pick the size that fits best.
Bake your favorite cupcakes in cupcake liners. A 10″ inch ball can easily fit up to 24 cupcakes, so you would need to bake 4 dozen of your favorite cupcakes. I didn’t want a fully covered topiary, I wanted some green space because the rose bushes in the Alice story are not brimming with roses, so I put a dozen cupcakes on each ball. Starting at the top of the ball, I inserted two toothpicks per cupcake, spaced about 3/4″ apart and pushed my cupcake onto the two toothpicks. I moved around the ball, placing toothpicks and cupcakes until I felt the topiary was covered with just the right amount of cupcakes.
You can see more of the toothpick/cupcake process over on Cooking with Carrie.
If only I had pictures of me icing these cupcakes because that was an adventure! It was certainly a test of my piping abilities. Just picture me holding a piping bag, elbows sticking out, standing in a semi-squat bent over sideways depending on which side I was piping. It was quite a sight to see. But it does keep the icing perfect. No squishy marks on the cupcakes or distorted icing that would surely happen if you iced the cupcakes and then put them on the ball.
To ice, use an icing with consistency that will set on the cupcake and not fall off. Any homemade buttercream or ready-made Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines icing in a can will work. Then fit a piping bag with your 1M tip and you’re ready to go!
To make a rose, start piping in the center of the cupcake and slowly move your tip in a circle around the center until you hit the outer edge. Seriously, that’s it! It’s all in the tip!
If you have to move the topiary to another table in the house, move gently and you should be ok. If you have to transport in the car, have someone hold topiary in their lap on top of a cardboard flat or apron, just in case a cupcake falls off the ball. Expect to lose a couple of the cupcake sitting lower on the ball, so always travel with a few extra cupcakes and a piping bag filled with icing, just in case you need to touch up on location.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I hope it has inspired you to craft a rose cupcake topiary, I would love to see it if you do!