Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is the first gift giving occasion of the new year and it’s just around the corner. Homemade gifts always mean that little bit more (unless my boyfriend is reading this, in which case nothing means more than Mulberry!) and if you’re struggling to think of the perfect gift for a partner or a friend, cupcakes are a great way to go. I spent my weekend playing around with various options for creating some Valentine’s cupcake decoration ideas to share with you.
1. Piped Buttercream Roses
This one’s lovely and simple, with a closed star nozzle, starting from the centre of the cupcake, pipe the buttercream in a spiral to cover the top of the cupcake. Mix up the tradition and make up a 12 rose bouquet!
2. Sugarpaste Roses – Individual Petals
Take a 1cm ball of sugarpaste and flatten it out with your thumb to create a petal shape, roll this to form the centre of the rose, create another petal in the same way and fold round the outside of the cone you’ve created – you can brush the petal with water to make it stick if you have trouble. Build you in this way until the rose is the desired size. Smooth buttercream over the surface of the cake for a vintage look and make two teardrop shaped leaves for the rose to sit on.
You can also cover the top of the cupcake with embossed sugarpaste cut with a circle cutter with a slightly larger diameter than the cake. I used a brickwork embossing pad. I got these flowerpot cupcake cased for Christmas last year and they make botanical projects look super cute! Just be sure to make it clear that they aren’t edible – I took these cupcakes into work and the cases were lucky to come back without bite marks!
3. Rolled Sugarpaste Roses
Making roses from individual petals can be fiddly, if you’re after something easier – rolled rose are the way to go. Flatten some sugarpaste into a strip about 1.5cm tall and 6-7cm long. Gently curve in one end and then roll the strip into a loose spiral and leave to dry. I embossed a circle of sugarpaste with a quilted pattern and rolled some teardrop shaped green icing into smaller, fuller leaves.
The great thing about rolled roses is that you can use one, two or even make a whole bouquet of them!
4. Moulded Flowers
Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about roses! Break with tradition and create a moulded flower. These are little kits that come with a flower shaped cutter and a silicone mould. Roll out a thin layer or flower paste (works better than sugarpaste as it will roll thinner and looks more delicate), cut out the flower shape and place it in the bottom half of the mould, press the top half down and voila! A perfect flower. The blooms here are hydrangeas and cherry blossoms with a little dot of alternating colour sugar paste in the middle embossed with the end of a piping nozzle.
What’s Valentine’s Day without hearts, it’s what it’s all about right? Working on the flowerpot theme I used a grass nozzle and some green buttercream to keep it botanical. Then I decorated with some candy hearts from Sainsburys sprinkled on the top (not everything needs to be handmade!)
Just in case the thought of bought icing decs shocks you, here’s one with an embossed sugarpaste heart
The ultimate cupcake personalisation – why not immortalise your loved ones initials onto a cupcake. My idea was that I’d eat Jon’s and he’d eat mine (romantic no?) – Cyrano de Bergerac he ain’t, I found my cupcake alone on the kitchen counter!
It’s easy to pour your heart into decorating these cupcakes so that you can show someone how much they mean to you plus you can mix and match techniques and colour schemes to make something truly unique. The colours I used here were Wilton paste colours in pink, yellow and green.