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Buttercream Flower Series Part 6 – Pansy

This is the final instalment of our buttercream flower series. I hope you’ve enjoyed my demos and have tried out some of these new techniques at home. I’d love to see what you’ve created, so please get in touch or leave a comment on my YouTube videos and let me know what you thought.

You will need:

  • Standard petal nozzles, two sizes
  • Standard leaf nozzle
  • Piping bags
  • Knives
  • Purple, yellow and green buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Cupcakes
  • Pearls and edible glitter

Getting set up: 
Fill your large petal bag with purple, the smaller petal bag with yellow, and the leaf bag with green. 

Petals: Because you’ll be doing three pansies on each cupcake, you need to position them carefully so they fit nicely together. Using the same technique as the magnolia, place the thicker edge of the nozzle on the cupcake and make almost a full circle. Then almost directly on top, make your second petal, also almost a complete circle. Move on to the second flower next to this and make your two petals. Then, the third. Next, using the yellow bag, thick nozzle side down, start at the centre of the two petals, make one large full circle all the way round. This is a smooth movement. It does take practice to get your spacing right, so don’t give up! Add the large yellow petal to all three.

Leaves: Fill in the edges with your leaves – they can be long and thin, short and thick, rippled or smooth, it’s up to you!
To finish them off perfectly, pop one pearl in the centre of each flower, and sprinkle with glitter.
One of the things you can do is make the big petal two tone using a dark purple and yellow, but this can be challenging. But once you’ve got the hang of the technique, feel free to give it a try.

If you have any questions, give me a shout, or if there are any future demos and tutorials you’d like me to do, let me know!
Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 5 – The Protea

While this video was initially uploaded in celebration of Heritage Day, a collection of protea cupcakes will make a stunning addition to you celebration at any time of the year.

You will need:

  • Standard leaf nozzles
  • Red, green and white buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Piping bags
  • Cling wrap
  • Knives
  • Cupcakes
  • Edible glitter

Getting set up:
I like to do the proteas in two tones with dark pink and white, so make your cling wrap buttercream sausage like I’ve shown you in previous videos and slide it into a piping bag with a leaf nozzle.  Fill the other leaf nozzle bag with green buttercream, and the round nozzle bag with white.

Centre stamen: Start with the round nozzle and squeeze a large tall blob in the centre as a base to work off. Then from the base, pull lines of buttercream upwards to the tip with the same nozzle to create a row of stamens all around the blob. Pipe two layers.  

Petals: You’ll use the two tone and leaf nozzle bag for the petals. With the thick side of the nozzle facing downwards, start at the base of the white stamen, squeeze and pull upwards. Then, overlapping slightly, do the next petal by squeezing and pulling up, and so on. Squeeze enough at the beginning to get a nice base for your petal, then pull upwards, leaving some of the white centre showing at the top. Add as many layers as you like, until the cupcake is mostly covered. Yes, this is a lot of buttercream, but it’s going to look gorgeous!

Leaves: The leaves you’ll pipe the same as the petals: working from the bottom, squeeze and pull up. Slightly overlapping, pull the leaves upwards, leaving the tops part of the petals and stamen exposed. 

And finally, you guessed it, a sprinkle of glitter!

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 4 – Carnations

There’s something so delightful about this beautiful buttercream flower, and once you’ve got the hang of this technique there’s really nothing to it. We’re just using one nozzle – the standard flower petal nozzle and the medium sized one is perfect for cupcakes.

You will need:

  • Standard flower petal nozzle
  • Red and pink buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Knife
  • Cling wrap
  • Piping bag
  • Pearls and edible glitter

Getting set up:
These carnations will be mostly red with a pink frill along the edges of the petals. Spread a large amount of red buttercream onto a piece of cling wrap, then edge it with a little pink. Roll, twist the ends, snip one end off. Pop your nozzle into a piping bag and slide your buttercream sausage in with the lighter colour in line with the thinner edge of the nozzle. 
In this video, I’ll be piping into parchment square instead of cupcakes. Remember, this is a great way to practice your techniques without having to bake a batch of cupcakes each time.

Petals: There will be more than two rows of petals, so start right at the edge of the cupcake and work around a large imaginary circle. Put the thicker edge of your nozzle down first with the thinner side facing upwards. Using a similar technique to the magnolia, we’re going to follow the imaginary circle making half circles, but this time shaking the nozzle slightly as you turn. Then, starting at the centre of that first half circle, start a new half circle, shaking gently as you twist. Complete three layers and form the final petal in the centre by twisting slightly to finish it off. 

As always, add a touch of glamour with a tiny edible pearl in the centre, and glitter!

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 3 – Magnolias

In this instalment we’ll show you how to make a beautiful magnolia flower – the symbol of longevity. It’s a simple yet beautiful flower that doesn’t require any complicated techniques.

You will need:

  • Standard flower petal nozzle, two sizes
  • 2mm circle nozzle
  • M-shaped leaf nozzle
  • Green, brown and white buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Cupcakes
  • Piping bags
  • Knives
  • Edible glitter

Getting set up:

Load your piping bags. Brown into the bag with the round nozzle, white into the petal bags, and green into the leaf bag.

Standard leaf nozzle
Standard Petal nozzle

Petals: Pick up your cupcake. Using the larger petal bag, follow an imaginary circle with the thick side of the nozzle down, squeeze and form a half circle. From the centre of that first half circle, make another half circle, and so on. Work smoothly and confidently. Both the hand with the piping bag and the hand holding the cupcake will move. Continue this until the first layer is complete. 
Then take the smaller nozzle and use the same technique in the centre of the ring of petals you’ve just completed. 
Centres: Take the brown icing and pipe a little ball in the centre, squeeze and pull upwards to create a stem. You’ll make three of these little stamens. 
Leaves: Always do the leaves last to fill in the gaps nicely. Starting under the lip of the outer petals, squeeze and pull with a slight shake of the hand to create your leaves. 
Finally, give it a sprinkle of glitter to add a touch of glamour.

TIP: Instead of practicing on cupcakes, cut a square of parchment or baking paper and stick it to your surface using a blob of buttercream.

If you want to decorate a cake with these flowers without having to ice directly onto the cake, pipe the flowers onto parchment paper in advance. Let them dry and harden for a day or two and then lift them off the paper and ond onto your cake with a spatula. 

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 1 – Intro and Roses

Over these long moths of lockdown, many people have used the extra time to try new things, learn new skills and even start side hustles. So it’s not surprising that 2020 has produced a whole new crop of enthusiastic home bakers. You’ve perfected your sour dough recipe, made and eaten more banana bread than you’d care to admit, and even ventured into the realm of cakes and cupcakes to help make those lockdown birthdays special. But what about decorating your bakes? 

Our Buttercream Flower Series over on YouTube is the perfect place to start learning how to finish off your cupcakes beautifully. I’m all about teaching budding bakers new techniques and I’m a firm believer that no matter your skill level, there’s always something new to learn. 

The six instalments each cover a different kind of flower that you can recreate with just a few supplies from your local baking store.

Week one I started with a simple, yet elegant, buttercream rose. 

The Rose pattern can be used in so many different ways.

You will need:

  • A selection of nozzles
  • Piping bags
  • Cling wrap
  • Knives
  • Pink and white buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Cupcakes
  • Pearls and edible glitter

The consistency of your buttercream needs to be just stiff enough that it holds its form. In winter in Cape Town I find I normally need to soften it a little, and in summer I need to harden it a touch to make it perfect to work with. 

TIP: Cling wrap makes things so much cleaner and easier, especially when you’re doing multiple colours. Spread the dominant colour down on a piece of clingwrap. Add a thinner strip of the lighter colour down next to it. Roll the cling wrap up and twist the ends. Pop your nozzle into the piping bag, trim the one twisted end off and slip your icing sausage into the bag, twist the end and squeeze till both colours start coming out.

Twist the end of the piping bag closed and, holding it in the palm of your hand, squeeze the bag from the top. This saves you from icing squirting out the back. 
Centre the nozzle on the cupcake and squeeze, pull up and out towards the edge, circling smoothly around. 
It’s going to take some practice, be patient and keep at it. Piping requires muscles and movements you may not have used before. A good idea is to practice on a flat surface till you’ve got the hang of it, before worrying about actual cupcakes or cake. It’s easy to scrape up the icing and try again and again till you’re happy with the result.

Have a delicious day!

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Buttercream Flower Series Part 2 – Sunflowers

Part 2 – Sunflowers 

The next episode in our Buttercream Flower Series, shows you how to make bright and beautiful sunflower decor for your cupcakes. 

You will need:

  • Leaf nozzles 
  • 2mm circle nozzle
  • Yellow, green and brown buttercream (thick enough to hold its shape)
  • Piping bags
  • Knives
  • Cupcakes

TIP: If you have leftover colours of buttercream from a previous bake, instead of wasting it, put it all together, add cocoa and you get a beautiful rich chocolate buttercream.

Getting set up

Pop the small round nozzle into a bag and add a little of the chocolate buttercream. Twist closed and set aside. 
Using the v-shaped leaf nozzles, load two more bags with the yellow and green buttercream. You’ll need more yellow than green since you’ll be doing at least two rows of petals.

Petals: You’ll be following an imaginary circle in the centre of the cupcake. Using the yellow buttercream, squeeze and pull towards the outside of the cupcake. Repeat all around the edge of your imaginary circle so you have petals that are broad at the base and thin at the top. Overlap them slightly as you go. Don’t worry if your circle ends up a little lopsided, you can always add more petals to even it out. Besides, not even nature is perfect. Now do the next row inside the one you’ve just finished, overlapping the first layer slightly. Make sure you leave a big enough space in the middle for a nice large centre.
Centres: Pipe little dots all the way around the centre, work from the outside inwards until the space is filled. 
Leaves: Like you would with the petal, you squeeze and pull, but shake your hand a little as you pull to create the leaf texture. Pipe leaves all the way around the edge, under the outside line of petals.
The finishing touches: Glitter, of course! Try to only sprinkle the petals. Chocolate sprinkles are great to add to the centres for extra texture and taste.

Have a delicious day!