The Simple Technique To Create Elegant Frosting Hydrangeas

For those of us who aren't professional bakers, walking through a bakery can remind us of taking a stroll through an art gallery — we spend just as much time in awe of all the bakers' artistry as we do drooling over the confections. Mountains of intricately piped buttercream are usually the star of the show as their vibrant colors and seamless designs have us asking ourselves, "How did they do that?" But you'll be glad to know that as incredibly detailed and elaborate as the piped frosting may appear, there's often a fairly simple tip or trick behind the look.

To impress guests at your next function or if you just want to improve your cupcake decorating skills, creating frosting hydrangeas on your next batch of cakes is a deceptively simple way to achieve elegance and detail. The first thing you'll want to ensure before trying out this technique is that you have a large closed-star tip — such as a Wilton 2D piping tip — on hand. This is how you'll get that classic hydrangea petal shape.

Now, the real secret here is to create a two-toned icing by first spreading the walls of your piping bag with a layer of whichever shade of frosting you'd like your hydrangeas to be. Next, fill the center of the bag with white frosting. When the icing is dolloped around the cupcake, it will appear as if the flowers have a white center that flawlessly blends into a bright, colorful outer edge.

Other methods of creating frosting hydrangeas

Another technique to try is to start by laying out a piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Take a shade of purple, pink, or blue frosting, and spread it out into an even layer along the plastic wrap. Next, spread a thicker layer of white frosting down the center, being mindful not to mix the two shades too much. Fold the icing and plastic wrap in half to create a roll shape and wrap up the excess plastic. Cut off one end of the plastic and place the roll inside a piping bag with the tip already in it. Now, simply pipe small petals around the cake, making sure to add several layers of dollops.

Alternatively, you can opt to forgo the white icing and simply fill your piping bag with two shades of hydrangea-colored frosting side by side — this will create the effect of multi-dimensional petals. Whichever method you choose to pipe your petals, be sure not to overfill the bag for optimal control, and try to keep pushing the buttercream down so it doesn't build up at the top. Perhaps most importantly, try not to over-mix and over-work the frosting when you're making it. Over-whipped frosting can create air bubbles that will look like little holes in the petals, so ensure everything is as smooth as possible before piping.