Watermelons, fireflies, cookouts — all remind us of the summer but here in Maryland there is another ubiquitous summer emblem — our state flower, the black-eyed susan. So when celebrating with friends and family last weekend, we had all the quintessential Maryland summer favorites — crabs and beer (natty boh of course), finished with these black-eyed susan cupcakes!
These little sugar flowers are fun and easy to make, and while I chose my state flower, you can obviously make them any color you’d like. When made with royal icing, they will harden overnight and will keep indefinitely to easily and quickly add a decorative touch to any of your baked goods. All you need, really, is a drop flower tip to add a simple elegance to your cakes and cupcakes!
I followed these instructions, from the Wilton website:
Ingredients and tools:
Drop flower tip (Wilton #2D)
Tip #3 (or other small round tip)
Optional — leaf tip
4 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
6 tablespoons water
Prepare the royal icing: in the bowl of a stand mixer (I’ve also done this — with great difficulty — with a heavy-duty handheld mixer), combine the sugar, powdered egg whites and slowly add the water. Mix until combined and no longer shiny. Separate into sealable containers based on the number of desired colors. GRADUALLY add more water to each container until it is the desired piping consistency, mixing by hand. Use gel colors to add coloring to each batch.
The color you are using for the center of the flower should be slightly thinner than the petals, to avoid that “hershey kiss” look.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Use the drop flower tip to pipe the petals. Hold the bag completely perpendicular to the baking sheet with the tip touching. Gently yet firmly squeeze the bag. Release, and then gently lift the bag away.
Yay! You have made the petals!
Now fill in the center with the round tip.
I felt like the flowers needed a little green, so I started out adding a stem to each one. This looked like crap. So I stopped. In retrospect, it would have been best to pipe some leaves separately with a leaf tip and just stick them on top of the cupcake beside the flower.
As a variation, you can twist the bag as you’re piping to give it a different look — see here.
Allow them to dry overnight, then place them in an airtight container or bag where they will keep indefinitely.
I think it was maybe 4-5 years ago that chocolate stout cake recipes started popping up everywhere? Maybe the trend has faded but I have all this guiness in my house that I am never going to drink, so I thought this would be a perfect use for it. And truthfully, these cupcakes are freaking good. Very rich and moist.
I used this basic cake recipe, simply making cupcakes instead of a bundt cake. They were done pretty quickly, in under 20 minutes.
And the icing…
I will never use anything but this Swiss buttercream to ice my cakes and cupcakes again. Amazing. I could eat it straight up with a spoon. Use a large star tip, such as Wilton #1M, to pipe it on all fancy.
So lovely, and yet, someone like me who lacks any artistic skills can do it. Yum.