Frosting cupcakes to look like flowers—such as CIA Dianne Chef Rossomando’s sunflowers, zinnias, and chrysanthemums—is easy when you use a pastry bag and a special “leaf” piping tip that you can find at most kitchen and craft stores. To create a two-tone effect that mimics the looks of flowers in your garden, alternate two complementary colored frostings side by side in a piping bag.
For a video demonstrating the recipes for Yellow Butter Cake and Buttercream Icing, visit this post: Frosting Cupcakes to Look Like Flowers: A Mother’s Day Tip from the Culinary Institute of America.
Recipes adapted from Baking at Home by the CIA.
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
- 1 cup whole or low-fat milk (divided use)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper cupcake inserts inside cupcake pan.
- Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and 1/2 cup of the milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- In a separate bowl, blend the eggs, egg whites, the remaining 1/2 cup milk, and the vanilla extract. Add to the batter in three additions, mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Scrape down the bowl between additions.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and bake until a skewer inserted near the center of one of the cakes comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, allow the cakes to cool, and remove from pan.
Recipes adapted from the Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus extra as needed
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk, plus extra as needed
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture, 2 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Increase the speed to medium and, with the mixer running, add the cream in a thin stream. Increase the speed to high and whip the buttercream until very smooth, light, and a good spreading consistency. Adjust the consistency if necessary by adding a bit more confectioners’ sugar or cream. Use to fill, ice, and decorate a cake.
Once blended, buttercreams can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To use after refrigeration, let the buttercream soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until it is a smooth, light spreading consistency, 3 to 4 minutes.