Vanilla-Buttercream Frosting and Poppies

Making frosting poppies is easier than you'd think. Use our step-by-step photos as reference as you pipe the blooms with a petal tip onto a flower nail (wilton.com). Use these buttercream poppies to decorate Orange-Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Buttercream Poppies.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 5 cups frosting
Vanilla-Buttercream Frosting and Poppies

Photography: Ditte Isager

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2011

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 large egg whites or pasteurized egg whites
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Gel-paste food coloring in Red Red (nycake.com)
  • Poppy seeds, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Heat sugar and egg whites in the heatproof bowl of a mixer set over a pan of simmering water, whisking constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

  2. Whisk with mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy and cooled, about 10 minutes. Whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 2 minutes more.

  3. Reduce speed to medium-low, and add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

  4. Switch to the paddle attachment, and raise speed to medium. Beat buttercream until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

  5. Pipe the poppies: Transfer one-quarter of the buttercream to a bowl (reserve remainder for frosting cupcakes), and tint with food coloring until you reach desired color for poppies. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large petal tip. Cut out twenty 2-by-3-inch rectangles of parchment. Adhere 1 parchment rectangle to a flower nail with a dab of buttercream. Holding the piping bag at a 45-degree angle, pipe 1 petal. Pipe a second petal, overlapping the first by 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Making a tighter turn with the nail, overlap the second petal to pipe a third.

  6. Sprinkle poppy seeds in the centers of flowers to create the look of stamens. Gently remove parchment from nail, and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining parchment and tinted buttercream. Refrigerate poppies for at least 2 hours.

  7. Gently remove poppies from parchment using an offset spatula. Place 1 on top of each cupcake.

Cook's Notes

Buttercream can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before using, and beat on low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Buttercream poppies can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

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