How to Decorate Your Cake and Cupcakes with Edible Candy Flowers and Butterflies.
I came across this idea courtesy of Martha Stewart. "Thanks, Martha. Sometimes you come up with ideas that I'm willing to tackle. And that is when I truly appreciate you." You can pick and choose between flowers or butterflies or put them together like I did. For me, I wanted a spring theme since my daughter's birthday is in April. I made both cupcakes and a cake, so these candy décor ideas can spice up either option. I found these to be delightfully simple to make. With the extremely large amount of candy varieties existing today, you have multiple options for achieving a similar look. Here's the skinny...
What You Need:
A flat, stiff green candy like taffy tape
The actual creation of the lollipop flower is so easy you'll smile. The other wonderful aspect of the lollipop décor is that children love lollipops. Even my nephews wanted the "flower" cupcakes so that they could snag the lollipop. It's like a post-dessert dessert.
I wanted flat lollipops rather than Dum-Dums (though those would be quite cute too), and I had a difficult time finding them. I ended up buying a HUGE bag of assorted candies for just the lollipops, which was more than I wanted to spend with tons of extra candy left over. I was surprised at the difficultly of finding a bag of old-fashioned lollipops. And yet the candy challenge continued. Not locating green taffy tape, we tried multiple options for the leaves. DO NOT attempt to use fruit roll-ups. They will flop over into sad shriveled leaves. You want to find a flat yet stiff green candy. My mom ended up locating a candy that reminded me of sour straws in flavor and texture, but were squared and flat. Not being a popular candy, I can't recall the name, but, they worked perfectly. Another option could be watermelon airheads because they should be green, able to keep their form, and flat for cutting leaves.
After you've baked your cupcakes and applied your icing of choice (plus sprinkles if desired), simply unwrap your lollipop and press the stick down inside just enough to ensure the flower remains standing. Allow plenty of the "stem" to still show. Take your green flat candy, and cut leaf shapes out of them with kitchen scissors. Don't have kitchen scissors? GET THEM! Once you start cutting with kitchen scissors (especially if you have children... cut up pizza, pancakes, etc. with them... but I digress), you won't go back. But, seriously, you can use regular scissors, just wash them first for germs' sake. Once your leaf shapes are cut, press them down into the icing. You can use the lollipop stick for balance if needed. You can choose one or two leaves or alternate how many leaves and on which sides for variety.
What You Need:
- Pretzels. Choose between plain, white chocolate or chocolate covered pretzels, or yogurt covered pretzels. I wanted white butterflies, so I opted for white chocolate covered pretzels.
- Circle candies Choose between M&M's, smarties, or any other small round shaped candy. I don't remember the brand I chose (sweet tart type candy), but there are so many little round candies out there to use. I initially planned on M&Ms, but then liked the pastel colors better with my overall color scheme.
- Black licorice
These are so cute and rather simple to make. You have a lot of flexibility with your candy choices which seem in endless supply unlike the trickier lollipop flowers.
I found cutting antennas for the butterflies a bit time-consuming and delicate. My sweet mother helped me with this part and she seemed to have no trouble making skinny tiny antennas for them. Maybe it's just me or maybe I was too stressed at the time for something so meticulous.
Take your baked cupcake already frosted, and start by placing the pretzels onto the cupcake. You want to place the pretzels down at an angle so that the "wings" are sticking up. Place them about half inch apart and then slightly squeeze them toward each other, leaving enough room for the body, while assuring their position in the icing. You will have to hold the wings for a few seconds until the icing "holds" them in place. This may take a little experimenting but should not be difficult. If the wing drops flat onto the cupcake, lift it again, hold it in place a bit longer maybe even positioning it deeper into the icing if needed.
When the wings are stable, take your round candies (M&M's) and make a head first, placing it just beyond the end of the pretzel wing. Then you have two options: Either continue to use round candies for the body or take a colored icing and dot the body on using smaller circles of icing. The benefit of icing (which is what good ol' Martha used) is that you have a contrast in size between the head and the body. However, I liked how mine turned out, and I think the candy body is easier and quicker.
Finally cut tiny thin pieces (about half inch in length, experimenting with the size to fit your preference) of black licorice with scissors to create antennaes for the butterflies. Gently push two licorice "antennaes" into the icing on each side of a butterfly head. Ta-da!
When decorating the cupcakes, I generally centered the butterflies and flowers on the cupcake. For a cake you can creatively place them where you see fit. With my cake, I wrote out the birthday message with icing first before applying the candy flowers and butterflies. This gives you room to move your hand around as you write and ensures room for your message. The candy accents join the birthday message for a special touch.
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