Since I learned to make my first ever tiered cake in an online course from Craftsy, I’ve been wanting to find a way to incorporate my besties (cupcakes) into the more traditional world of cake making. I decided to make a cupcake bouquet topper. I was shooting for the topper to look like a pumpkin (inspired by a cupcake pumpkin by Caring with Coupons). It ended up looking more generically fall floral and I’m OK with that. Any cake that is adorned with a big ball of cupcakes is clearly the best cake ever!
Below, you’ll find some of the Craftsy tips that I used to create this cake. Just like reading CliffsNotes won’t get you an A on your exam, the tips below won’t be enough on their own to show you how to make a cake like this. My very best tip is to take the Modern Buttercream course with Joshua John Russell on Craftsy – it’s free! You can also try any of the other Craftsy courses for 25% off with this link (about $30 per class after the discount).
Cake Decorating Tips
Always cut off the top of your cake so you have a smooth surface to frost. I always thought that a benefit of cupcake making over cake making was that you could taste them before serving them to your guests. Little did I know that you get to eat the entire top of the cake when you make a decorated one!
The photo below shows me making a guideline with my knife just before cutting the top off. The whole thing isn’t as scary as it sounds as long as you have the right tools. You absolutely MUST have a cake turntable. It makes cutting and frosting so easy; just hold your knife still and spin the wheel.
Here’s the top being removed from the cake – ready to eat!
Josh likes a high frosting to cake ratio so he actually suggests cutting each layer in half. Again, trust me, if you follow the steps in the video, this isn’t so hard – put the knife in the cake and spin… wheeee!
Always work on refrigerated cakes. Handling cold cakes is so much easier!
Always put a crumb coat on a cake. This is a layer of frosting that traps the crumbs so they don’t get in the pretty top coat. The crumb coat is like a frosting hairnet; when a cake has a crumb coat, you can see the crumbs through the frosting, but they are stuck and aren’t going anywhere. After the crumb coat is done, chill the cake again before putting on the final coat.
Use a bench scraper to even out the frosting. It’s amazing how much better this works than a spatula.
When you are ready to do the final smooth coat, first dip the bench scraper in boiling water to get it really hot. The heat helps to remove many little imperfections.
Use melted white chocolate as a glue to attach the cake board that your bottom layer is on to the presentation board that you will use to carry your cake around.
Use bubble tea straws as supports between the layers. Without the supports, the layers could collapse.
Use a pencil sharpener to sharpen a dowel rod. Secure all of layers together using the sharpened rod; it easily goes through all of the cake and the cake boards. Typically, you would just sharpen the rod on one end. However, to attach the bouquet to the top of the cake, sharpen both ends.
Although not covered in the class, I used a star tip to decorate between the layers.
How to Make the Cupcake Bouquet at the Top of the Cake
To create this cupcake bouquet, use 19 mini cupcakes on a 3 inch styrofoam ball. If you want to create a pumpkin, turn one of the mini cupcakes upside-down, remove its wrapper, and frost it green. To make the bouquet, follow the same basic technique that I used for my Father’s Day Cupcake Bouquet. Since we are using minis, skip the tissue paper entirely and use only one toothpick per cupcake.
Have you ever integrated cupcakes into your cakes? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!
See you on Craftsy!
P.S. For those of you wondering which cake recipe I used, it was a pumpkin cake recipe from Edna de La Cruz.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Craftsy. The opinions and text are all mine.