Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Topiary Cupcakes

by Darla

With Easter right around the corner and spring knocking on almost everyone’s door, I have the perfect little cupcakes today.

These were inspired by the shamrock cupcakes that I made last month for St. Patrick’s Day. As soon as I saw them, I instantly thought of topiaries and knew I had to make them for Easter. They’re very simple, but look beautiful and take very little time to make, considering how festive they are. You can make any flavor cookie and cupcakes you like, or even use boxed mixes for more ease. Not to mention that there’s nothing stopping you from making these using dairy free/vegan or gluten free recipes.

I made my favorite rolled sugar cookie recipe (linked below), but punched it up for spring with a bit of lemon zest and a dash of lemon extract. Normally, I like a thick sugar cookie, and this is no exception, but because they’ll be cookie pops, as well as cupcake picks, I don’t want them to be too heavy, so I rolled them at about three-eighths of an inch (rather than my favorite half-inch thickness). Once all of the cookies are rolled and cut, I like to chill them in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before adding the sticks. Otherwise they tend to be too soft and they lose some of their shape as I add the stick. Once the cookies are chilled, gently slide the stick into the base of the cookie. Don’t just stick it to the back of the cookie, or you run the risk of the cookie falling right off the stick (especially once the decorations are added).

For the cupcakes, I made my yummy Chai cupcakes, but you can make any cupcake you like. The hubster requested these especially, otherwise, I’d probably have done lemon cupcakes to match the cookies. Ideally, I would have liked to top these with “grass,” but my grass tip (Wilton #233) was somehow lost in our latest move. I need to get a replacement, but I don’t use it often, so I forget. Anyway, I just tinted my frosting green and swirled some on top of the cupcakes, then sprinkled a few spring flower quins on each cupcake. Imagine how cute these would be if they were grassy mounds. :)

As for the “topiaries,” Once the cookie pops are cooled, I used a writing tip to outline each cookie in frosting, then filled it in. Next, while the frosting is still wet, I dip them into green sanding sugar to coat them and give them the shrubbery look. Finally, I dotted each topiary with tiny bits of frosting and placed a little flower quin on each dot.

Now all that’s left to do is to plant the topiaries in their “pots.” :)

These are so much fun, and they’re an incredibly easy way to make a treat for spring without slaving away. Even making everything from scratch, these only took me a couple of hours from start to finish…and they would have taken less time if I didn’t have to wait for everything to cool!

Plus, you can do lots of shapes. I used mini cookie cutters to keep the topiaries from being too top heavy, and I stuck with sweet, familiar shapes for spring. I was very tempted to do a squirrel shaped one though!

I love how adorable they look all liked up like they’re in a garden. These would be excellent for a garden party, or a garden themed party. Imagine how sweet they’d look on the party table surrounded by other garden themed sweets. I also love that you get two treats in one! Who doesn’t love to get a free cookie with their cupckae?! I’ll tell you one thing for sure, these made a lot of people smile around here. Proof:

Somebody stole one. I kid you not, a cupcake was stolen while my back was turned. I can’t be sure who took it, because both the hubster and our boy had green frosting in their teeth, but at least they shared, right? Enjoy!

Spring Topiary Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen
Ingredients

1/2 recipe Rolled Sugar Cookies (for lemon flavor, add 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract)

1 recipe your favorite cupcake recipe (needs to make 2 dozen)

1 recipe frosting

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting work well with the cookies

Design by Darla

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rita April 18, 2011 at 9:14 am

They look really cute! A silly question, I’m sure, but are the sticks you use in the cookies plastic? Wouldn’t they melt in the oven? I’ve seen a lot of people use them, but I’m not game enough to put them in the oven!

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2 Darla April 18, 2011 at 9:16 am

They’re actually paper sticks, just like you’d get in most lollipops. Mine are from Wilton, and this was the first time I’ve ever baked them, so I admit, I was worried. But I was concerned they’d turn brown, since they’re paper, but they were perfect.

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3 Betthany April 18, 2011 at 9:34 am

I have always wondered about those little sticks. Did you have to take a lot of care to shove them up inside the dough? Or can you just push the stick onto the back? I’m so afraid of messing up the shape I’ve cut out by pushing a stick up through the bottom.

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4 Darla April 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Hi Bethany,
I take care when I’m inserting them in the cookies, but I also move somewhat quickly. I chill the dough for about 10 minutes before I add the sticks, that way the dough is a little firmer and holds up better to the process.

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5 Lucy @ The Sweet Touch April 18, 2011 at 10:27 am

How cute! These could even be used for little party favors, how much fun would it be to serve them in little clay pots!?

Thanks for sharing!

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6 Darla April 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

You read my mind! I sooooo wanted to put these in tiny flower pots, but I couldn’t find them anywhere on the island. :( I still love them though. :)

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7 Dori April 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

I’m sure they would have been adorable with the “grass” but I like the contrast with the swirled icing and the sandy sugar…makes it look like a Zen garden…sorta.

I love the idea of the topiary cookies…just imagine the possibilities!

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8 Lizy B April 18, 2011 at 10:51 am

Great idea!! oh….how cute would a floating snitch be!!!!! or hedwig!

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9 Darla April 18, 2011 at 12:38 pm

So cute that there aren’t even words!!! I have so many more HP treats floating around in my head…and you’ve just added to the list!! :D

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10 Sonja April 18, 2011 at 11:42 am

Oh wow these cupcakes look awesome! What a great idea!! Thank you so much for your inspiration!
Lovely greetings from Austria!
Sonja

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11 Maria April 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

You are so creative! I love these! Perfect for spring indeed!

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12 Lindsey April 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I looked on your site but couldn’t find the Chai cupcake recipe. Would you mind sharing? Thanks.

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13 Darla April 18, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Hi Lindsey,
Thanks for asking…I meant to link them in the post. Oops! You can find them here and they’re now linked in the post as well. Thank you again. :)

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14 yasmeen {wandering spice} April 18, 2011 at 11:37 pm

what beautiful design sense! love the idea of a cookie pop as a topper… PLUS a cupcake.
genius, you are.

i also add lots of lemon zest to my sugar cookies (and everything else. love the stuff).

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15 Heather April 19, 2011 at 12:42 pm

OH, my goodness. Cute, cute, and more cute. I love them!

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16 bakingbitsandbobs April 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm

These are gorgeous!

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17 Stephanie April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I recently stumbled upon your blog and I found it amazing! Love the photos and the designs you use!

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18 blogbytina! April 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

wow, these little tree cakes are the cutest!

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19 Maureen April 21, 2011 at 7:55 am

Aren’t you the clever one! These are absolutely adorable and could be used anytime we’re feeling a bit summery. I’m definitely going to steal your idea for an upcoming gathering I’m having!

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20 susan April 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm

i Love, love, love, love these cupcakes! so, so, so, so cute!

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21 Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes April 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Oh my – these are simply the cutest cupcakes that I’ve ever seen! And I think that the slight crunch of the sugar cookie would be a lovely compliment to the soft cupcake and fluffy frosting.

Just adorable. Bravo!!!

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22 sweetsugarbelle April 26, 2011 at 1:06 am

I LOVE these too! I have been far to long without a visit!!! SO cute!!!

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23 sabrina March 6, 2012 at 1:45 am

it is the cutest thing i see so far in 2012..i even make ur picture as my desktop wallpaper..love it..

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