“Oh, it’s easy!”
When you hear this phrase, it’s usually received in one of two ways: 1) factually, as in this thing is actually very simple to do! Or 2) in jest, and you’re thinking there is no way in the wide world that thing is easy at all. I’ve seen a lot of Pinterest Pins and quite a few Facebook posts and the majority of them are actually – factually – pretty easy. One such post that has recently become quite popular is a cake decorating technique that makes your cupcakes or cakes look like gorgeous hydrangea blooms.
I promise to not make a habit of doing a baking post every time it’s my turn here on the blog, but I felt I had to address this one… IT REALLY IS EASY!! Go ahead and laugh, but when you are 10 piping strokes in and your cupcakes are looking more like your grandmother’s garden in May than an edible dessert, you’re going to shout out loud, “THIS IS SO EASY!”
All you need is a fresh batch of cupcakes (or a cake), 2 shades of chilled buttercream icing (buttercream works best), a Decorating Bag , plastic wrap, and a closed star decorator tip (I prefer a Wilton No.2D Decorating Tip).
- Decide what shade of hydrangea bloom you want. I am in love with the light blue and lavender ones, so we’ll use this color combo as the example.
- Ice the cake with a crumb coat. This gives the blooms a background in case there is any visible space between blooms. Make sure the buttercream icing is kept very cool or chilled since the warmth from your hands will melt it fairly quickly. You do NOT want runny icing!!
- Since you want more light blue color than lavender, start by spreading a thick layer of light blue icing onto a piece of plastic wrap that is similar in size to your icing bag. Next, spread a thinner layer of lavender color icing right on top of the light blue layer. This lavender layer will blend into the light blue as it’s piped out of the bag.
- Roll the plastic wrap into a log shape, give it a gentle twirl, cut off the end, and insert it down into your icing bag with the star tip already in place.
- Holding the icing bag upright, practice piping the blooms onto a paper towel until the desired color blend begins to appear. This may take several tries since the icing has to mix inside the bag before it comes out.
- Once the colors begin to blend, begin piping blooms on the outside of your cupcake or cake and work inward. You can always add more blooms over the previous ones for depth.
- Voila! YOU’RE FINISHED!!!!!
Now see?! You have a simple yet beautifully decorated dessert that looks as if it took days to conquer. Honestly, the hardest part for me is waiting for the icing colors to blend and come out of the bag properly.
A tip to make the process even faster? Make up several plastic wrap tubes of layered icing – I like to call them “icing cartridges” – and keep them in a cool place. Usually one cartridge of mixed colors will cover about 4-5 cupcakes or the top half of an 8 inch cake. If you already have several tubes layered and rolled, all you’ll need to do when you’ve depleted what icing you have in your piping bag is take out the plastic wrap, replace it with another roll of icing, and practice a few blooms until the color starts to match what you’ve already done.
I have tried spreading the main color of icing straight onto the sides of the piping bag and then adding the secondary color in the middle. It comes out the same, but this method of mixing the icing is a lot messier and much more time consuming than just slapping the layers together on plastic wrap then putting it into the bag. It’s also a bit trickier trying to get the colors to blend like the previous batch since it’s harder to control the amounts.
You can also add some leaves around the edges for a finishing touch. Hydrangeas have big, wide, dark leaves so I use the biggest leaf tip I have (a Wilton 67) and go around the outside of the blooms and place a few leaves or groupings sparingly. With or without leaves, this decorating technique looks so impressive while also being impressively easy to do.
Have you tried this technique yet? Send us some pictures! We’d love to see your finished product.