Sunday, April 22, 2012

Succulent Cupcakes


It's difficult not to pass any neighborhood flower shop or overlook the multitude of Pinterest boards showcasing the adorably trendy succulent plant. I get it... They're small, extremely easy to maintain and crafty terrariums have just about replaced all mini zen gardens. These water saving plants (did you know cacti are succulents!) are so popular right now, I had to scour four different plant shops to find some to model these cupcakes after. The cupcakes might get eaten, but the plants are here to stay. Say hello to spring and swap these cupcakes for a cake at your next event.

To make the "terra-cotta flower pots" and the actual plants, you'll need fondant. Fear not—you can buy it at any craft store—it's just like working with clay, so have fun with it! Before we start rolling out any fondant, we need cupcakes to work with. I rarely do this, but for today's post I decided to cut corners and use a cake mix. I know its taboo in the pastry world to use a "box" cake, but no one can deny the convenience of it! (I won't tell, if you don't.) To elevate the cake mix, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne. Voilà! Mexican Chocolate cake:)




I also kept things simple with frosting. Domino Sugar has the simplest buttercream recipe around. It's pretty sweet, but this buttercream is the perfect base for the "dirt." I dyed the buttercream to match the graham cracker crumbs, but then I realized the color resembled a peanut butter frosting. Next time, Ill skip the food coloring and just use peanut butter in my frosting.



Is there anything graham cracker crumbs can't solve!? Once you've frosted and covered your cupcakes with "dirt" you're ready to work with the fondant. Use gel food coloring (also available at craft stores) to match the terra-cotta and the succulent green colors. Dust your work surface with a little confectioners sugar to prevent the fondant from sticking and roll the fondant out to make your terra-cotta pot. Use buttercream to stick the fondant to the cake. Remember to wrap any unused fondant immediately or it will dry out.



Build your succulent from the inside out. Use a dab of water to stick the petals to each other.

Mini muffin tins help to mold the petals. They will harden as they sit, then you can assemble the layers, using a dab of water or buttercream as glue.


I had purple edible petal dust to highlight the tips of the succulent petals, but you could easily use cocoa powder instead. I used powdered sugar to add the "frosted" effect.






Can you tell which one is the plant and which one's the cupcake?









69 comments:

  1. WOW! these are absolutely stunning! i can only imagine the time and patience it would take to create such perfect leaves! love, love it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These are fantastic! They look so real, I just love them! Thanks for posting a plant that's just not "another flower"

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so clever and looks so tasty! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. These are the best looking cupcakes I have seen in a while. Has anyone tried to make them? They seem like they would take a bit of time to make.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Could I ask where you found that cookie cutter? I haven't seen one in that shape before and it works so perfectly for the leaves on the succulents!

    PS I am obsessed with these cupcakes! I will be making them the moment that I have the time. :) Excellent, beautiful work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Meredith! I found the cookie cutter at a cake supply store. It's an Azalea petal, and you can order it online from several stores. Thanks again:)

      Delete
    2. I really love the succulents and thank-you for sharing the process to make them! I'm thinking of doing thee for our wedding cupcakes and on the cake..I don't suppose you would be able to share what brand azalea cutter you have? I have been scouring google but none look quite like yours!

      Thank-you

      Delete
    3. I can't remember where I got mine, but this company sells them..Just scroll down to see the Azalea cutters. Thanks!
      http://www.sugarcraft.com/catalog/gumpaste/gumpaste.htm#a

      Delete
    4. FYI - my cake supply calls it a petunia cutter.

      Delete
  6. Adorable. Those are terrific. I loved going through your step by step...

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is really cool! I could not tell the difference and was wondering why on earth would you put that "plant" on a cupcake :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am obsessed with these! So clever.

    ReplyDelete
  9. These are genius. Love them!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hens and chicks are my favorite and these are the most incredible cupcakes - gorgeous

    ReplyDelete
  11. These are great! I have been wanting to know how to make a succulent. I can't wait to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow! These are so pretty and delicious looking. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. These are incredible!!! If only I had the patience to create the succulents...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey, this was My idea. LOL. I waited too long....love your stuff!

    ReplyDelete
  15. WOW! These are amazing! And I bet they taste delicious too!

    Chelsea
    www.heelsandsunkissedcurls.com

    ReplyDelete
  16. These cupcakes are absolutely brilliant - I just pinned them. I just had to share with my followers :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. So creative! My mom is very nature-y and I think this would be a great idea for Mother's Day! Now if only I was as gifted as you:)

    ReplyDelete
  18. These are STUNNING. I have to try them out one day. My mother loves these little plants. I feel a birthday adventure in baking coming on!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello! I don't know how much you like to share, but how did you manage to get that excellent succulent green? I use americolor gel paste (exactly what you have in the picture above) and I can't seem to get it right!

    The cupcakes are amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! I always add lots of yellow to make more of a "leaf green" color. For the succulents, I also added a couple drops of black to dull the green. Hopefully that works. The best thing to do is add a little bit of color at a time, matching it to the actual plant in front of you. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. Thanks! I just wasn't sure if it was some wacky combo - like how you mix violet and yellow to get moss green (?!?). When I added yellow, it turned too much of a lime color - almost florescent! I'll try a bit of black - hopefully that will do the trick! Thanks so much!

      Delete
  20. Brilliant! What completely delightful, clever cupcakes! I can't wait for an excuse to make some of my own.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for sharing this tutorial! They look amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow! Your succulents are gorgeous! I recently made my own using old Wilton petal cutters, but the azalea is a great idea. Ordering one now...

    ReplyDelete
  23. Just saw you on "The Chew". You are my new hero... loved the cupcakes!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Just saw you on "The Chew", and WOW. Those cupcakes, aka, succulents, we're amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  25. what do you use if fonant is to sweet for you

    ReplyDelete
  26. ok call me dum but what is fondant?

    ReplyDelete
  27. I just saw you on the CHEW so impressed had to look you up! WOW!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Saw you on The Chew and you are so creative and inventive! Love the blog, love your ingredient images and designs. Totally fun and inspiring, I can't wait to read more and scour your blog and Pinterest for fun ideas and inspiration. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Amazing... they look so real! brilliant job!

    ReplyDelete
  30. i am in love with these! so happy to have just found your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  31. belli veramente..sembrano veri...

    tizzi

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh my! So beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is an absolutely brilliant idea-- beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I LIKE THESE VERY BEAUTIFUL CAKES BECAUSE THESE CAKES ARE LOOK LIKE AS AGAVE PLANTS.
    http://www.irabwah.com/gifts

    ReplyDelete
  35. A perfect tutorial! Thank you SO much!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Adorable! This technique could also be applied to polymer clay. Thank you, I have featured this on my Pinterest Board.

    ReplyDelete
  37. these are amazing..thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  38. EXCELLENT!!!!
    Thanks for sharing this great tutorial with us!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm in love with this cupcake design. <3

    http://www.bearnerdette.de/

    ReplyDelete
  40. These are beautiful! What specific green colour/dye did you use for the succulent made out of the Azalea cutter? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  41. These are beautiful! What specific brand & colour did you use for the succulents made out of the Azalea cutter? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I used AmeriColor Gels. I combined a few greens to match the plant leaves, but I recommend electric green and mint green with just a touch of black. http://www.amazon.com/AmeriColor-Gel-Paste-Electric-Green/dp/B000Q6JYKK

      Delete
  42. Seton: My fiancee and I are planning to do this as cupcake toppers for our wedding. I'm hoping you can help answer a few of our questions.

    1. Can we start with green fondant and use gel coloring to change it to the right shade?
    2. How long can we store these succulent fondants to still be edible? we were of using choco-pan or pettinice fondant. we are thinking of making them ahead of time and storing it in the fridge.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Brian. Congrats, first and foremost! I love the idea of using these as cupcake toppers at a wedding. To answer your questions...
      1. Yes, you can use green as a base color. You might have to add a touch of black gel coloring to dull the bright green color. And if its too dark, add some white fondant.
      2. Making them in advance is a great idea. Fondant has a very long shelf life but you don't want to put them in the fridge (the condensation will make them sticky). Keep them in an airtight container away from direct light, heat and moisture. They will get harder as they age, so if you really want them to be eaten, I wouldn't make them more than a week in advance. Hope this helps!

      Delete
    2. Thanks a bunch Seton!! :)
      Great site btw!

      Delete
  43. wow, how amazing they look so real thanks for the tutorial my mum would love them xx

    ReplyDelete
  44. I simply love these! The detail work is beyond belief and having tried using Fondant myself I know how difficult it can be. I just thought you might enjoy know a little "tid bit" about the plant you featured. My mother and actually everyone I know in my home town called these plants HENS & CHICKENS which I think is just perfect. The smaller plants try to keep up with the larger! Just discovered you today and will be coming back often.

    ReplyDelete