Cupcakes

Fun Ideas to Decorate Easy Sunflower Cupcakes

By July 30, 2020February 17th, 2021No Comments

2 Easy Ways to Make Sunflower Cupcakes with Fun Details

easy to make sunflower cupcakes using fun details

Learn how to make these cheery sunflower cupcakes step-by-step. Both designs are beginner-friendly, one made with basic piped buttercream, and the other made out of chocolate petals. The cute and clever details keep these cupcakes easy to make and also A LOT of fun! Sunflowers are fun flowers!

Our home state of Kansas is teeming with sunflowers through the summer and into the fall. What better way to pay tribute to our home sweet home than with a cupcake featuring the state flower? 

Made with the perfect shade of golden yellow, the buttercream flowers can be created using just one or two frosting tips. The chocolate petals are made from yellow candy melts traced on our free printable petal template 

simple ideas for sunflower cupcakes-buttercream or chocolate petals, brown centers with chocolate covered sunflower seeds or chocolate covered oreos

The star component of these cupcakes is the chocolate-covered sunflower seeds. An unexpected but clever detail, they’re a simple way to add texture to the sunflower centers.

We found the sunflower seeds at one of our favorite local stores, Nifty Nut House. They have an array of colors to choose from. We went with black seeds on some for a realistic look, but thought it would also be fun to use a mix of rainbow colors on a few cupcakes for a happy sunny touch. 

Good to Know:

  • Do some prep the day before: bake the cupcakes, make the buttercream (it’ll be fine in the fridge), and make the chocolate petals. 
  • It took us an afternoon to complete these cupcakes. We did bake the cupcakes and make the petals the day before.  

How to Make Buttercream Sunflower Cupcakes

You don’t have to be an experienced decorator to make these sunflowers. The design is beginner-friendly, using just a couple of frosting tips. Tammy whipped these out in no time using a simple piping pattern.

What You’ll Need:

  • Batch of Cupcakes-your favorite recipe/box mix 
  • Buttercream-medium consistency, about 3 cups is plenty 
  • Wilton Icing Colors
    • Leaf Green
    • Golden Yellow
    • Brown (optional)
    • Black (optional)
  • Cocoa Powder 
  • Piping Bags 
  • Couplers 
  • Wilton Tip #12 (optional) 
  • Wilton Tip #67 
  • Wilton Tip #352 
  • Fudge Dipped Oreo Thin Bites
  • Black Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds
sunflower cupcake made with buttercream leaves and petals and chocolate covered sunflower seeds on the center

It’s All About the Buttercream

Frosting can make or break any dessert, so it’s important to get it right. The keys to a great buttercream: flavor and consistency. Flavor, well because, we’re talking dessert here. Consistency of buttercream is especially important when using it to decorate. Buttercream with a stiffer consistency works well for piping and details because it will hold its shape instead of melting into a gloppy mess.

Check out our medium consistency buttercream recipe.  It’s easy to make and tastes delicious, too!

Color shades are also important when decorating with colored buttercream. Sunflowers are known for bright, golden yellow petals. This yellow shade was easy to replicate using just one simple color: Wilton Golden Yellow. The deep brown center of the sunflower was surprisingly the most challenging to replicate.

So what’s the secret to achieving a specific shade? 

Well, in our opinion, there isn’t one. Food coloring charts like the Wilton Right Food Coloring Chart​ are a helpful resource, especially if you’re not sure where to begin, but we feel they are just a starting point. Honestly, we typically jump right in with good ol’ trial and error.

We find it works best to start with a little color and add to it until you achieve the desired shade. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a small dollop of buttercream first to see if you like the color result you’re getting. 

Here’s what we used to create the colors for our sunflower cupcakes. We used about 1 cup of frosting for each color

  • Petals: Wilton Golden Yellow​ is spot on for sunflower petals, simple. 
  • Leaves: we used Wilton Leaf Green-hence, the name. 
  • Flower Centers: this shade was the only tricky one for us. We started with Wilton Brown with a touch of Wilton Black to darken it up. We weren’t thrilled with the result. The buttercream wasn’t darkening up like we wanted, so we headed online for answers. The solution: cocoa powder. It was way more effective for achieving a deep brown shade, plus the buttercream was chocolate-flavored, BONUS! We suggest starting with the cocoa powder first and adding brown or black icing color as needed. 

Which Icing Tips to Use to Create Sunflower Petals and Leaves

For the petals and leaves: If you’re aiming to keep these cupcakes super easy, you can make them using just one tip-Wilton #352 will work for the petals and leaves. Just make sure to use couplers on your piping bags so you can switch the tip from one bag to the other. 

We chose to go with Wilton #67 ​for the petals and use #352 just for the leaves. We liked the look of the petals having a slightly elongated shape next to the leaves. 

For the brown centers: We used Wilton #12 for the brown centers, although this tip is also optional. You can put the brown buttercream in a piping or plastic bag, cut off the tip, and apply the frosting that way. 

Once you have your buttercream colored and you’ve decided which tips to use, it’s time to get to decorating!

Turn Those Plain Cupcakes into Brilliant Sunflowers

The buttercream sunflowers can be created in just a handful of simple steps:

  1. Use a large piping tip or a circle cookie cutter to make a light indention of where the brown center will be placed on the cupcake.
make a ring in middle of cupcake to position the brown center

2. Pipe the brown center with Wilton #12.

pipe a circle of brown buttercream for the center of the cupcake

3. Pipe the first layer of petals with Wilton #67, similar to a star pattern.

pipe buttercream petals around the brown center of the cupcake

4. Pipe leaves in between the petals with Wilton #352.

pipe green leaves in between the petals on the cupcake

5. Pipe a second layer of petals on top of the leaves.

pipe the top layer of buttercream petals to add fullness to the sunflower

Top off the cupcakes with a fun detail in the centers. We used mini fudge dipped Oreos and chocolate-covered sunflower seeds.

sunflower cupcake with buttercream petals and leaves with a chocolate covered oreo for the center
chocolate covered sunflower seeds on the brown centers are a fun detail on these sunflower cupcakes

Another Simple Way to Decorate Cupcakes Like Sunflowers

So maybe you’re not much of a “piper” when it comes to decorating with buttercream. Neither am I.  We came up with this method for sunflower cupcakes that is almost frosting-free! The delicate petals make for an eye-catching design, and the sunflower seeds are such a fun detail that adds some needed texture.

What You’ll Need:

sunflower cupcake made with chocolate petals and centers topped with black chocolate covered sunflower seeds

Make the Candy Petals

Once your cupcakes are baked (or bought!), get started on the sunflower petals. 

  • Print off our easy to use petal template
  • Place a piece of wax paper over the template, it helps to secure the template with tape. 
  • Melt the candy melts according to the directions on the package. 
  • Pour the melted mixture into a piping bag. Twist the bag shut and tie it off with a twist tie or rubber band-this prevents your mixture from hardening in the bag. 
  • Cut off the tip of the bag. 
  • Outline the petals and fill in, just like coloring a picture. Don’t worry about bumps or imperfections-the bottoms of the petals will be the visible side on the cupcakes. Also, don’t worry if you slip out of the lines-you’ll fix that later. 
  • Slide your template along under the wax paper to create more petals. Set the petals aside to harden. While the petals are firming up, this is a good time to make the buttercream. 

Whip Up the Buttercream

The buttercream on these cupcakes acts like a glue to hold the sunflower petals in place. We made about 3 cups: 2 C green + 1C brown. 

We used Wilton Leaf Green Icing Color​ to create a bright green shade for the base of the cupcakes.

To create the brown shade for the sunflower centers, we suggest cocoa powder. It will darken the buttercream quickly and also add a chocolate flavor. You can use Wilton Brown Icing Color ​in addition to the cocoa if you like. 

You can use a round frosting tip to pipe the green buttercream, or just cut the tip off the bag-that will get the job done just fine-whichever you prefer. We used Wilton #12 to pipe the brown centers. 

Assemble the Cupcakes

Once your buttercream is ready and the petals have hardened, you’re ready to create stunning sunflowers on your cupcakes! 

If some petals are too pointy at the tip or have some rough edges, shape them using a paring knife. Just cut away any excess chocolate and then smooth out the edges with your finger.

  1. Pipe a circle of green buttercream around the edge of the cupcake. 
pipe a ring of green buttercream around the edge of the cupcake

2. Arrange the petals in a circular pattern, with the middle of each petal placed on top of the buttercream. Broken petals? No worries! Go ahead and use them-they’ll be covered with frosting.

place the bottom layer of chocolate petals on top of the ring of green frosting

3. Pipe more green frosting in the center and between the petals

pipe green frosting on top of base layer of chocolate petals

4. Arrange the second layer of petals, offset from the bottom petal layer.

place second layer of chocolate petals in a circle on the cupcake

5. Pipe a circle of brown buttercream for the sunflower center.

pipe brown buttercream center for cupcake

Add the final detail: chocolate-covered sunflower seeds! The seeds enhance the centers with a lively pop of color while also adding some texture.

sunflower cupcake made with chocolate petals and rainbow colored chocolate sunflower seeds

Questions or comments? Get in touch with us in the comments below!

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We love seeing your creations!  Help us find your delightful dessert with #apieceofcakeparty

 

Fun Ideas to Decorate Easy Sunflower Cupcakes

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