I had decided I wanted to make it a couple weeks before the party but of course I ended up crunched for time. Thankfully, I baked the cupcakes the night before. Here is what you need if you want to make your own:
- bucket or pot (I've seen ones done with terracotta pots and they look so cute!)
- styrofoam ball that fits into the bucket/pot
- 24 cupcakes, cooled
- frosting (piping bag and Wilton tip 1M if you want the rosettes)
- embellishments, if desired ("grad," M&Ms, ribbon, gift card, etc.)
- skewers, if you are using embellishments
Like I said, I was pretty crunched for time, so unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of my process while making the cupcakes. Based on what I had read about making these and giving it a shot on my own, I have the following recommendations:
- When baking your cupcakes, fill some liners half full, some 2/3 full and some 3/4 full. It really helps having different size tops when arranging the cupcakes because they won't all fit just right if they are uniform.It was nice to have some smaller ones to stick along the bottom. While you can see there was a couple gaps that would have been easier to fill had I had some more smaller cupcakes.
- Make sure your cupcakes are cooled. Even better, stored in the refrigerator because the warmer the cake, the more likely toothpicks won't hold it on. This means you have to plan ahead a bit. Baking the cupcakes the night before you need to assemble it worked perfectly.
- Start at the top of your styrofoam ball, placing three toothpicks dead center and wiggle your toothpick on. Again, put your toothpicks in the styrofoam ball first, not in the cupcake first. Make sure you have sharp ends sticking up waiting for a cupcake. Dull toothpicks do not puncture cupcake liners very easily and will cause total mutilation of said cupcake.
- Speaking of toothpicks, I used 3 in a triangular form for each cupcake. They weren't spread very far apart. A dime would not have fit between them but my pinky finger did. This gives each cupcake more to hold onto instead of one toothpick that is easily torn through thanks to gravity.
- For the horizontal cupcakes around the bottom, I added another couple toothpicks sticking straight out of the styrofoam ball, not into the liner/cake but just for support underneath each cake. Please contact me if this doesn't make sense. Some of the cupcakes would not have stayed on when I added frosting if I had not done this.
- Assemble the cupcakes onto the styrofoam ball before frosting. I repeat, frost very last! This avoids messing up the frosting as you stab each cupcake onto toothpicks. I did add my embellishments after frosting, which turned out okay. I nicked a couple with my fingers and skewers but it wasn't to bad.
- Regarding frosting, if you do not have air conditioning and do have a warm house, you may need to take breaks when frosting to avoid it dripping off the cupcakes. Just frost a few, stick the bouquet in your fridge for a few minutes and resume, repeating as necessary.
Our high school colors are yellow and blue so I tied curled ribbon to toothpicks and inserted it into the styrofoam ball. I found the "grad" letters at the Dollar Store. They were originally glasses and I just broke the part that goes over your ears off, then taped skewers to the back to get it to stand up. I also added skewers to the gift card to poke into the styrofoam as well. Oh, and the M&M's are tied onto the handles on each side of the bucket, before I placed the styrofoam ball in the bucket. Here's a not so good camera phone picture after frosting before adding anything else.
Here I am with the graduate and her cupcake bouquet.
|Photo credit: Dara's mom, Anne.|
Congratulations, Dara! I can't wait to see what you do after high school!
This post is linked up to some of the parties listed under my Show & Tell tab at the top of the page.