Cupcake Topiary Instructions

Baking By knlcox Updated 24 Aug 2015 , 12:46pm by knlcox

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knlcox Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 5:12pm
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I have been asked to post instructions on making the cupcake topiary in my it goes! Warning, though, I'm not very good with explanations!!! If anyone has an easier way of explaining things or doing things please share. I would love to hear thoughts and ideas. This was a challenge for me and if it can be made easier then share! icon_biggrin.gif

Also, please be so careful. When the cupcakes are pulled off the Styrofoam looks like a mid-evil torture device. Those toothpicks are sharp and will stab ruthlessly without thinking twice. Someone suggested I snip off the top part of the toothpick before inserting them so little hands can pull off the cupcakes and won't be hurt too bad. So, snip away!

Here it goes!::

Styrofoam ball
a disc arranger (small Styrofoam used to hold fake flowers in place) the width of the pot you are using
3 dowel rods if using small ones, or one thick one about ½ inch to 1 inch thick depending on size of Styrofoam ball
green or brown floral tape
lots of toothpicks
a glue gun and glue sticks
a flower pot
Paper towel or plastic bag

*Put the disc arranger into the flower pot. After leveling it use the glue gun to glue it into the pot where it does NOT move.

*Take 3 dowel rods and tape them together to form a shamrock shape if using smaller dowel rods. Use the green floral tape to tape them together. Start at the top and pull the tape taught around the 3 rods until you reach the bottom. If using a larger rod use the floral tape to cover the rod.. You can even use brown if you would rather the stem look like the bark of a real topiary tree.

*Push the rods into the center of the disc arranger in the flower pot.

*Push the Styrofoam ball onto the rods and make sure it is completely even on all sides.

*Take a plastic bag or paper towel at this time and tape it to the top of the pot around the bottom of the dowel rods incase the icing splats off..yes it sounds like a SPLAT as it falls off the ccs.

*Take a cupcake liner and position it on the ball. I lightly traced around the bottom using a marker to mark where I want the cupcakes to be placed. I used a cupcake liner because I know thats how large the cupcakes will be when they are baked. Mark the places on the ball where you will set the cupcakes. There will be gaps between some of them. Thats perfectly fine. You can stuff leaves in the gaps around the ccs!

*Take the Styrofoam ball off the rods and place it UPSIDE DOWN where it will not move while you work on placing the bottom cupcakes on. I just set it directly on another flower pot to keep it in place or just some place stable to keep it from moving. Remember, the hole you just made on the bottom of the topiary should be on top so you can put on the bottom cupcakes.

(I used an extra dowel rod to gently push the toothpicks into the ccs, and used pliers to pull them out if I needed to)

*Place 3 cupcakes around the hole with 1 toothpick in the center of each to make sure they fit well.
Take 2 more toothpicks and put them criss cross into the cupcakes to make them secure. Picture an X shape.

*The 2 toothpicks should be making an X but NOT touching each other in the cupcake or else the cupcake will tear and fall apart when someone goes to pull it off the ball. I put one toothpick on one side of the cupcake and the other on the opposite side.

*Maybe like this: Picture a face on the cupcake and I put one toothpick slanted on it's forhead and the other slanted in the opposite direction on it's chin. The FOREHEAD is the top of the cupcake nearest the hole or directly in front of the hole.

* Keep the toothpicks at a slight slant also or else when the cupcake is pulled off it will tear it. Youll have to experiment here with some extra cupcakes you dont intend to use on the finished product. Put them on and make sure theyre secure, then pull them off to see how easy it is for someone to pull it off. I HOPE IT MAKES SENSE!

*After setting the first 3 around the hole turn it upside down to ensure the cupcakes are secure. Allow it to sit that way for a minute or so. If its secure, turn it upside down again to add the next row, and the next after that.
*At this point I iced the cupcakes and let them sit an hour so they could dry or crust. I needed to add a bit of powdered sugar to my butter cream recipe to make it a tad bit thicker than normal. Someone told me to add flour to thicken it without adding the extra sweetness. I should try that! I didnt want the icing to fall off the cakes and splat on the table or the pot.

*After the icing was dried a bit, I prayed really hard then I turned it right side up and set it on the dowel rods. I let it sit for a minute to see what would happen and probably prayed some more. A couple of the ccs lost their icing on the SIDES and I found splats on the table. I just added more and let it sit for awhile and it set well. It was trial and error at this point. Then I just added the other cupcakes.

*As I neared the top I only needed 1 toothpick per cupcake, in the center of each. I didnt add 3 as I did the others.

*I iced them all and let it sit for about an hour. A couple of the ccs lost their icing but I just put more on and they did fine after that.

*Funny thing is the ccs on the bottom NEVER lost their icing, just the ones on the sides.

26 replies
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knlcox Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 5:17pm
post #2 of 27

Here is a link to the pic of my cupcake topiary.

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WeeSooz Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 5:42pm
post #3 of 27

That looks amazing! That would be such a lovely gift too. Do you mind me asking what tip you used to ice the cakes?

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knlcox Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 5:47pm
post #4 of 27

I used a Wilton 1M tip. It makes beautiful flowers!

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knlcox Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 6:10pm
post #5 of 27

When I made my topiary I did not put anything in the pot to keep it from toppling over, it just stayed up on it's own. I think next time I will add beans or rocks to put underneath the small styrofoam disc arranger inside the pot. My topiary is still standing as is! It's been bumped and hit, pushed and pulled, even had a toy car jump from cupcake to cupcake. Still Standing! But for future reference I think I would put something slightly heavy in the pot to ensure it will not topple over with the weight of the cupcakes.

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ksic Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 6:58pm
post #6 of 27

Thank you for the instructions! I think I'll give this a try for teacher appreciation gifts!

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LizS2 Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 7:00pm
post #7 of 27

Would icing them first and letting the crust before attaching to the ball work?

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knlcox Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 7:12pm
post #8 of 27

I tried icing them first before toothpicking them to the ball but it really ruined the icing. The toothpicks had to be forced through the set icing and left holes in the tops of the flowers. I had to fix them and just ended up scraping off the frosting and starting over...... when I iced them first. It may work for you! All you can do is try it and let us know what happens!

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WeeSooz Posted 25 Apr 2011 , 7:54pm
post #9 of 27

Thank you, I have a 1M tip, but mine didn't look like that! Maybe I just need to practice some more. icon_smile.gif

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cakesbykaty Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 2:53am
post #10 of 27

Thank you for doing this, I have a graduation party coming up and I think she will want one of these. My question (and I know you are tired of answering them!) is did you transport this cake, and if so do you have any suggestions for getting it to the party in one piece? Also, what size styrofoam ball did you use to put 33 cupcakes on?

I really can't get over this, you did such a great job!!

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cake_architect Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 3:06am
post #11 of 27

just gorgeous! i love it, and you did an excellent job icon_biggrin.gif

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knlcox Posted 26 Apr 2011 , 10:58am
post #12 of 27

I used a 6 inch styrofoam ball and my pot was a 5.25 in pot.

I did not transport this in my car but I DID carry it around my house from room to room to see if anything would happen. It did not. The cupcakes stayed on very well. I shoved it around on the table and was very rough with it and it still held very well! I think if you were to transport it, maybe you should look into putting something heavy in the flower pot under the disc arranger such as beans to keep it from toppling. It is top heavy and yours could topple over in a car if you were to make a turn, unless you're holding it. I've seen bouquet boxes for cupcake bouquets with a hole cut out in the bottom of the box to hold the flower pot. I think putting it in one of those to stabilize the bottom would help with transporting it.

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SweetcakesCT Posted 27 Apr 2011 , 7:21am
post #13 of 27

Thanks so much for the wonderful instructions. And your work is just exquisite.
I do have one question for you, though. It sounds as though you put the toothpicks through the cupcakes from the top, before they are frosted, correct? If so, this sounds to be different from what most folks do when they make cupcake bouquets. (unless they use the cup method, which is what I've been doing.) I would love to give this a try!!

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knlcox Posted 27 Apr 2011 , 11:36am
post #14 of 27

SweetcakesCT, I did put the toothpicks in before icing. I have never tried this using the cups! While I was researching how to make this topiary I did read quite a bit about those little cups some are using to keep the cupcakes on their cupcake bouquets. I didn't have any cups so I did it this way with the toothpicks. If anyone is willing to try the cup method with the little cups placed on the styrofoam ball before adding the cupcakes, please share your experiences! It may be much easier than using so many toothpicks. But then how would the cupcakes stay in the cup? With the same amount of toothpicks? I've never tried the cup method so I'm not too sure how the cupcakes stay in the cup after the cup is on the ball. I'm still looking for an easier way to keep these cupcakes on the ball! thumbs_up.gif

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Aryelle2685 Posted 5 Jun 2011 , 2:10pm
post #15 of 27

How about if you use royal icing on the bottom of the cupcakes to hold them? t would be an extra holding support besides the tooth picks.

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divinecc Posted 6 Jun 2011 , 3:34pm
post #16 of 27

Royal icing would hold great, but try taking the cupcake out to eat it I think the wrapper would stick and all you would get is a hand full of cupcake!

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rosa369 Posted 6 Jun 2011 , 4:14pm
post #17 of 27

I saw the picture, absolutely beautiful!!!! What kind of Buttercream did you use??? Butter or shortening? Thank you for the instructions!!!

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knlcox Posted 17 Aug 2011 , 2:06pm
post #18 of 27

I used a 1/2 butter 1/2 shortening mix. It was a crusting buttercream. If anyone used a different type of buttercream and had success please share your experience!

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amaryllis756 Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 9:54am
post #19 of 27

That looks really great. Almost gives me enough courage to try

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gourmetsharon Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 11:10am
post #20 of 27

for the disc arranger, that's a flat piece of styrofoam?

Thanks for this great tutorial! and for sharing!

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sweetideas Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 12:19pm
post #21 of 27

Very beautiful! You did an amazing job. And your instructions cracked me up. Prayer works. icon_smile.gif
Thank you for sharing. icon_wink.gif

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knlcox Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 3:22pm
post #22 of 27

Thank you. I find that if I say "please God, please God, please God" several times he seems to listen! By that point I'm usually tired after hours of trying.

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AnitaK Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 11:18pm
post #23 of 27

Absolutely beautiful - thanks for your instructions. When icing your cupcake roses, did you start in the center with your tip?

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knlcox Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 12:06am
post #24 of 27

Yes I started in the center and went to the edge of the cupcake touching the paper cup. The paper cup helped some to keep the buttercream from sliding off.

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knlcox Posted 11 Nov 2012 , 6:14pm
post #25 of 27

I'm just bumping this up for several requests I've had of others looking for these instructions. I hope everyone has a great day! If anyone has any questions I'll do what I can to help!

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knlcox Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 12:28pm
post #26 of 27

I have step by step photos! If anyone is interested in seeing the steps please email me at [email protected]  or [email protected]  Thank you! For some reason I can't edit this tutorial so I can add photos.  I don't know if I should add them in the comments here since there are so many!

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knlcox Posted 24 Aug 2015 , 12:46pm
post #27 of 27


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