Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cupcake Bouquet

Monday night was the Pops Concert / Dessert Auction at school. This is an annual fund raiser that the choir booster hold to raise money for camp scholarships. During this event, five different choirs (6th grade - 12 grade) sing, with desserts being auctioned off in between choirs. Both of my boys are in choir, so of course I wouldn't miss it. It's crazy and loud and a huge money maker for the choir.

This year I entered two items in the auction. My cupcakes have been gaining some attention over the past few months, so I wanted to make sure I brought my A-game. The item I worked the hardest on was my Cherry Coke Cupcakes. I had a dozen cupcakes arranged around four cans of coke and all in a clear plastic cake box that I bought at the local grocery store bakery. I really was not prepared for the attention these cupcakes got. They were one of the last items to be auctioned and they went for ... wait for it ... $200. My jaw was on the floor as I watched the bidding sore past $100. The last bid I heard was $125 before Erin, the junior high choir director yelled $200. She's one of my biggest cupcake fans. I was in shock. I found out later that those cupcakes went for the highest dollar amount of the night.

The other item I entered in the auction was this ...

... a rose bouquet made of cupcakes. I have been wanting to try one of these for a while now, so I seized this opportunity. With it being Valentine's week, I had made close to 100 cupcakes over the weekend. This is what I did with the extras. The white roses are red velvet cupcakes, the pink are vanilla cupcakes, and the red are chocolate cupcakes.

Even though the Cherry Coke Cupcakes went for more money, I got more compliments for these cupcakes. At the auction, this bouquet was auctioned early in the evening. My friend Sharon, who plays the piano for all of the choirs, and who I've given cupcakes to in the past just because I think she's cool, ended up winning them. I was amazed that these "extra" cupcakes went for $85.

All in all, it was a really exciting night.

Since so many people asked me how I made the bouquet, I thought I'd make a pictorial tutorial. So, here goes ...

The first thing I did was buy a pot and a styrofoam ball that fit in it nicely. I really had no idea how expensive styrofoam balls were. Who new?

To assemble, I inserted 2 toothpicks into the ball right next to each other and then slid a cupcake down onto the toothpicks. I continued around the bottom of the ball until I had made it all the way around the pot.

I tried really hard to not leave space in between the cupcakes. I also just randomly picked up cupcakes so that the flavors were all mixed up.

Then I started on the next row up and kept going until I had covered the whole ball.

I had to do a little squeezing at the top so as to not leave a huge gap on the top. I was able to get 29 cupcakes on this one. The math geek in me immediately began stressing over the fact that 29 is a prime number. Who has a bouquet with 29 flowers in it? Who gives someone 29 cupcakes? Oh well ... 29 it was.

Next up ... icing the cupcakes.

I started off by just making a batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream. I just left it white so that I could ice the red velvet cupcakes.

To make the roses, I use a 1M tip. Just start in the middle of the cupcake and swirl out to the edge. I tend to make counterclockwise swirls. There are many great tutorials on YouTube for learning this technique.

I then put some pink gel coloring in the buttercream to tint it all pink for the vanilla cupcakes.

Next up, red coloring was add to the pink to make a nice red rose color for the chocolate cupcakes.

I was a little unhappy with some of the gaps between the cupcakes ... so ... I got some green tissue paper to use as filler. I cut it into squares and used an ink pen to carefully poke it into the gaps.

And it made a lovely centerpiece for my table ... overnight ... until I had to take it to school for the auction.

This bouquet had a "wow" factor. At the end of the evening, I saw Sharon's daughter, Kimmi, walking out with a pot and styrofoam ball with empty toothpicks sticking out of it. There were a few cupcakes left, but there were plenty of them gone. I really hope Sharon got some for herself ... because like I said before, I think she's cool.

I hope to make one again with different kinds of flowers on it. With it being Valentine's Day, the roses just seemed appropriate.

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