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How to Make Buttercream Flower Cupcakes

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Buttercream buttercream everywhere, buttercream buttercream in you hair! That's right, I wrote a little ditty...you have my permission sing that to whatever melody you like. 😉 Fact is Buttercream is HOT this year, and not in the melting sense. I think there is a always going to be a magnetism towards that buttery blissful medium from both consumers and artists. For consumers, they feel like... "Yeah, I can and WANT to eat that... put THAT on my cake". For artists, it's a fairly quick medium and it has a very organic feel to working with it. You can pipe it, spread it and you can even sculpt with it (check out our Sculpting with Buttercream tutorial!). Will you be able to get the level of detail you would with fondant or modeling chocolate? Maybe not. But that is also debatable. 😉 Anywho, I say, embrace all edible mediums and their benefits! Flowers are one of the many ways to incorporate this delicious icing into your decor.

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Now these bad boys? Once you get the hang of them, you can pump them out! They are GREAT for weddings, birthdays, tea parties.. you name it, they pretty much steal the show. Of course, don't forget to charge more for your time and skill! 😉

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Few know this, but I actually spent the majority of my fine adolescent years working in a little gourmet grocery store bakery. Buttercream was our only choice for decorating, because it was efficient and cost effective. It was all about filling that case and making sure it stayed filled. Fondant wasn't even on our radar at that point (clearly I came to love it later on in my career). So, buttercream flowers was something I had to teach myself as it was a must for the "grocery store cake". One of the more experienced decorators at the time taught me how to make a rose. Once I got that down... it was PLAY TIME! Soon after my confidence grew, I created something I called "fun cakes" (just buttercream decorated cupcakes)... nothing new in the world of cakes, but new to our little bakery. Soon I was pumping out cupcake after cupcake adorn with flowers and adorable animals (that's a whole different tutorial).

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Now that was almost ten years ago! So why am I making these now? Two reasons: (1) A member asked if the Easy and Delicious Lauren Kitchens Buttercream would work well for buttercream flowers. Important, I made alterations to recipe to make it more suitable for flowers at the bottom of the page. (2) Shoot, I just wanted to see if I could still do it! So I dug out some old piping tips and tried to get up on that bike again. Was a bit rusty at first, my first few roses were not keepers. But, as always, practice prevailed and I came out with some flowers I was happy with! Decided I'd share how I did them (keep scrolling 😉 )...

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One of my favorite tricks?! SAVE YOUR HANDS. I mean, literally, save them from the aching pain at the end of the night. Because I was pumping out so many of these cupcakes, my left hand would be killing me by the end of the night from twisting the flower nail back and forth. Then I had an idea! I put a can (of beans, corn, whatever you have around) on my turntable, placed my cupcake on top of that, then piped my flower straight on the cupcake! Why the can you ask? To lift it up to a comfortable height AND so my hands could maneuver different angles. You not only save your hand, but you save some valuable time not transferring the flower from the nail to the cupcake. See it in action in the video at the bottom of the page.

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How to make them? Here is a previously recorded Facebook LIVE video tutorial. What is a Facebook Live? A live streaming video on my Avalon Cakes page, where viewers and I can interact in real time! This was previously recorded, however you can follow our Facebook page (be sure to click "on" for live notifications) and catch us when we are live again for one of our free mini tutorials! Better yet, you can become a member of the online cake school and access ALL of our tutorials, recipes, articles, calculators and private facebook group!

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What I used:

  • Rose tip: Wilton 104 (I then took a pair of pliers and squeezed it a little more closed, I prefer a more delicate thinner looking petal)
  • Grass tip: Wilton 233
  • Leaf Tip: Bakery Crafts 352 (you can also cut your own! See my Sunflower Cupcakes tutorial)
  • Progel Colors: Claret, Yellow, Leaf Green and Olive Green

Easy and Delicious Buttercream V.2

This recipe has been altered from Lauren Kitchen's recipe to better suit some palettes (sweeter) and also I find it a little better for piping/flowers. It's great for underneath fondant also as it gets nice and solid in the fridge.
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Yield:11 cups

Ingredients

  • 7 oz Egg Whites, Pasteurized
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar - sifted
  • 3 lbs Unsalted butter - SOFT, *if HUMID or hot hands, see notes below
  • 2 Tbs Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  • Measure egg whites in your mixing bowl.
  • Tare. Measure powdered sugar in bowl. (Or in separate bowl, either way, add powdered sugar at this time)
  • Using the paddle attachment, beat on medium/high (6 on KA) for 5 minutes. You are essentially creating a soft peak, glossy royal icing at this point. If it does not "peak", do not worry, our main concern is to dissolve the powdered sugar. You can incorporate more air into it down the line.
  • Make sure your butter is SOFT. Room temperature often isn't soft enough for me, so I'll put it in the microwave for 10 more seconds to make sure it's super soft to the touch. This will allow air to beat into the mixture easier.
  • Set mixer to medium, gradually add butter. Scrape bowl.
  • Don't forget to add your vanilla! Now, beat for 5-10 minutes on medium/high (6 on KA) until light and fluffy. To help remove larger air bubbles that may have formed, I reduce it to a low setting and let it mix for approx 2 minutes.
  • Fluffy delicious buttercream! Nom nom nom. See below for storage and other notes!

Notes

Notes via Lauren Kitchens:
Storage: The day after you make the buttercream, you will need to whip it at medium speed for 5 minutes. Store at room temp (68-74 degrees F) for up to 2 weeks. (Yes, you heard her correctly). Store in the fridge for up to 2 months. Store in freezer for up to 6 months.
Color: Use gel paste or oil colors to color your buttercream.
Egg Whites: Purchase the pasteurized egg whites in the grocery store next to the eggs. Most carton eggs are pasteurized. You can use fresh egg whites but it will decrease the shelf life of the buttercream unless you pasteurize them yourself. I do not recommend using meringue powder as a replacement.
Tips from Avalon:
For hot and humid areas, you have the option to take anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of the total amount of butter out and replace it (in weight) with shortening. If you have particularly warm hands and are doing a lot of piping (that includes buttercream flowers), I suggest this recipe with 1/4 of the total amount of butter replaced with shortening. I'm not a huge shortening icing fan, BUT some places *need* it for climate purposes.
 
 

Here's a helpful for storing your left over icings!

When freezing buttercream or ganache, I will put it in plastic wrap and then into a zip lock bag. I find this much more space efficient for my freezer, less dishes to clean and cost effective! Take it out the night before you need it again, unwrap it while it's still cold and put it in a bowl at room temp to whip up again the next day after it has thawed! Great for small amounts of different colors too!

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 Published: 06/20/2016

Last modified on January 16th, 2021

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Avalon YARNES

Avalon Yarnes is multi-award winning cake artist and educator. Her work has been featured on tv shows, in magazines, books and more. She has been named one of the top 10 Cake Artists in America by Cake Masters Magazine and Dessert Professional Magazine. She's always cooking up something innovative that she can share with her students. Learn with Avalon here inside Avalon Cakes Online School of Sugar Art, where her (and her friends) teach you how to make incredible art with of cakes, cookies and more!

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2 comments on “How to Make Buttercream Flower Cupcakes”

  1. I love this buttercream but I would like mine whiter.

    Could I whip the butter to a much lighter color before including it at the same time as you suggest here in this recipe ?

    1. I've never personally tried that but worth a shot! I'd also suggest adding white food coloring and a tiny TINY bit of purple (to cancel out the yellow) -- this will get you to white pretty easily!

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