I was recently invited to attend a cupcake bouquet decorating class at Manchester’s Hey Little Cupcake!, who turns a whopping 7 this month. I have worked at the cupcakery on and off over the past few years between travelling, so this was a great way of getting back into the swing of things.
After the initial polite chatter had died down amongst the group and the milk steamer was no longer hissing away behind the counter, owner and teacher Sarah took her seat at the head of the table and began by handing everybody in the group a handful of green sugar paste (fondant). This is an edible Play Doh-like material used by bakers around the world to create, well, really anything! In this instance, leaves for our roses.
We each carefully rolled out our portion of sugar paste and used a leaf cutter tool to get the perfect shapes.
We removed the excess sugar paste and gently scored our leaves to give them a little more character. As you can see, I went a bit overboard.
It was then up to the front counter for a quick demo in making a simple buttercream. Sarah is a firm believer in using the best quality ingredients.
Adding the vanilla after a good mix.
Sarah talked us through the type of decorating nozzle we would be using on our bouquets, in this case, one which piped a beautiful rose shape.
This nozzle is notorious for being a tad more on the tricky side to master, so under Sarah’s watchful eye, we each had a few practice attempts.
Now to get down to business. In front of us, we each had a basic plant pot, a round polystyrene ball, a sheet of tissue paper and 5 regular sized vanilla cupcakes.
We wrapped the ball in the tissue paper (for aesthetics) and stuffed it into the plant pot. This was to be our pin cushion, if you will. Next, we started securing our sponges to the ball with toothpicks.
Once the vanilla cupcakes had been suitably impaled from all angles, we could then fill in the gaps with 8 chocolate mini cupcakes – and of course, more toothpicks.
My finished ‘naked’ bouquet.
Piping buttercream roses onto angled cupcakes is no easy feat.
We decided on the classic colour combination of red and white, however you could combine any flavours and colours that take your fancy, if recreating this at home. Our sugar paste leaves had had a little time to harden over the length of the class so we could easily pop them onto our roses. Tip – they are also excellent for hiding any piping mistakes you may have made!
And here is the final product, finished off with a spritz of edible shimmer spray and secured to a cake board. We also added a ribbon to the base for an extra pop of colour. The cakes simply slide off the toothpicks and are ready to eat. The polystyrene ball can be recycled numerous times for future attempts, as can the plant pot; or you could be really sensible and put an actual plant in it if you’d prefer!
The bouquet decorating class at Hey Little Cupcake! runs for approximately 2 hours and costs £45 per person. To find out the next available dates, head to their website.
Happy birthday HLC!