Although my piping skills are far from great, in my defence, the canned frosting suggested as the icing base in Hello Cupcake was way too soft to maintain the stiff peaks required for perky sunflower petals. I don't know what brand of frosting the authors used to obtain their beautiful results, but unfortunately, my Betty Crocker canned frosting just wasn't up to the job - it smells and looks wonderful, but it needs a serious dose of Viagra before it is suitable for this kind of job. I also hated piping with a ziplock bag - it's a great technique if you are fresh out of parchment paper and don't have an icing bag, but I was less than excited by the lack of control and precision, so much so that for about three quarters of the cakes, I used parchment piping bags.
The other thing to bear in mind when making designs from Hello Cupcake is that while they are meant to be easy (except obviously for a gumby like me), they do not mention that they are meant to be quick - and they ain't. It took me just over three and half hours from start to finish to decorate 24 cupcakes with my Dali-esque creations, and as I did not start until 9pm, it was a long night.
If you would like to make these cupcakes, or just have an eye for abstract art, you too can make cupcakes topped with Dali-inspired sunflowers (or, if you use a stiffer icing, sunflowers like the ones in the book) with nothing more than a batch of cupcakes, a box of Oreos, two cans of frosting, some food colouring, a box of smarties and a ziplock bag (or a roll of parchment paper). This is a pretty neat concept - go Hello Cupcake. You were also supposed to use flattened green lollies for the leaves, but Safeway doesn't seem to stock those and I forgot to get them when I was shopping elsewhere, so I just piped on the leaves with more green frosting.
Because these cakes are all about the look, I have not reproduced the cupcake recipe that I used here. Needless to say, you can use any cupcake recipe that you like. Hello Cupcake suggests vanilla cupcakes, I made orange cupcakes, but if chocolate devil's food is more your style, you can do that too.
Hello Cupcake is a great book for inspiration, but for truly professional looking results, in my view, you need to have a pretty steady piping technique, and to go the hard yards to make your own royal icing or a stiffer buttercream rather than relying on canned frosting.
Despite the fact that my sunflowers are seriously wilted, I think they are kinda cute. Whimsical? Yes. Weird? Definitely. Wonderful? Yeah, why not.
Happy 18th birthday Happy Love Strawberry!!!
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