A few years ago when Hello, Cupcake! came out I picked up a copy and was seriously impressed at all of the amazing cupcake designs! I love that the book provides step by step instructions, including photos, and walks you through the process of using simple techniques to create fun and festive cupcakes with common candies and snack foods. Even though I haven't had a chance to replicate many of the designs yet, others have and the results have been fabulous so I know it's possible! You can see a few of my favorites here, here and here! The authors released a second book this spring, What's New, Cupcake?, and of course it was in my Amazon shopping cart in no time.
For our Mother's Day brunch, I decided to finally attempt one of the designs I'd taken note of when I flipped through the second book after it arrived - mums! I thought the flowers would be the perfect centerpiece for the table. The design was labeled as one of the easy recipes in the book, and thankfully, it was! The flowers are created by cutting mini marshmallows in half on the diagonal and then dipping the sticky side in sanding sugars to make the petals. Green Twizzlers act as stems for the flowers to make them even more realistic. Though the authors suggested vanilla cupcakes for the flowers, I went with Martha Stewart's one-bowl chocolate cupcakes and topped them with cream cheese frosting.
I wasn't sure how well the cupcakes would hold up - would the marshmallows fall off if I made them the night before? I didn't want to risk putting in the time and effort to make all of the flowers only to wake up and find the marshmallows hadn't made it through the night. Instead, I made just one so I'd know for the future. I refrigerated the sole cupcake/flower overnight and was thrilled to discover it looked just as good in the morning as it had the night before! I made the rest of the flowers that morning and can also report that they were still going strong a day and a half later so these can definitely be made in advance. The flowers were a big hit at our brunch - the moms thought they were really cute. And now that I've tackled one of the designs from the book successfully, I have a feeling it won't be long before I start looking for an excuse to try another!
from What's New, Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
The quantities will vary based on how many cupcakes you make so I'm just going to provide the ingredient list below as well as the technique to make the flowers. If you wanted to make it even easier, you could use a box mix for the cupcakes and canned frosting.
cupcakes (I used Martha Stewart's one-bowl chocolate cupcakes - recipe here)
light colored frosting (I used Martha Stewart's cream cheese frosting - recipe here)
colored sanding sugars
mini marshmallows (you can use the pastel colored ones or plain white)
licorice pastels (Jelly Belly) (I couldn't find this candy so I skipped these)
green licorice twists (Twizzlers)
Bake the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely before topping each with a thin layer of frosting.
Use a separate bowl for each color of sanding sugar you plan to use (this will also allow you to save any extra for future use). Make the petals for the cupcakes by cutting mini marshmallows in half on the diagonal. The authors suggest 22 mini marshmallows for each cupcake, but I didn't count how many I used. Depending on how big your marshmallows are and how closely you space the petals, you may need more or less. I used the pastel colored marshmallows for the pink, green and yellow flowers and the plain white ones for the purple flowers. Once you've cut the marshmallows, press the cut side (it will be sticky) into the sugar to coat.
Starting along the outside edge of the cupcake, arrange like-colored marshmallow petals with the sugared sides up. Go all the way around the outside edge then move in and create another row of the same colored marshmallows inside the first. Continue until you've almost completely covered the cupcake. Repeat to cover all of your cupcakes with the marshmallows.
If you are using the licorice pastels, insert 5 like-colored ones into the center of each cupcake as stamens. I just used extra marshmallows to cover the entire cupcake since I couldn't find the licorice pastels. Arrange the flower cupcakes on a serving platter and trim the green licorice twists to look like stems for the flowers.