1. To pipe a gardenia, use tip No. 126 and an up-and-down motion to create a circle of curved white petals.
2. Add a second layer of petals. Use a grass tip and yellow icing to create the center of the flower.
3. For a rose, pipe a tight spiral out of pink icing using tip No. 127.
4. Turn the tip sideways, and continue to pipe upright pink petals encircling the center bud to fill out the rose.
5. To create a sunflower, use leaf tip No. 69 to pipe two circles of v-shaped yellow petals. The old-fashioned tip is split in the middle, which creates the seam in the center of the petals.
6. Fill in the center of the flower using star tip No. 16 and brown icing.
7. Create a bouquet of violets using tip No. 104 and light purple icing. Pipe four petals around a center point, and pipe several small blossoms to cover the top of the cupcake.
8. Use a small tip, such as tip No. 2, to pipe two small yellow dots in the center of each blossom.
9. To pipe a daisy, turn tip No. 126 upside down and pipe several elongated petals around the edge of the cupcake. Piping with the tip upside down helps add volume to the petals.
10. Fill in the center of the flower using tip No. 16 and yellow icing.
11. For a tropical flower, pipe two layers of big, loopy red petals using tip No. 126. For the larger petals, squeeze the bag for an extended amount of time as you form the loop. Place a length of uncooked spaghetti in the center of the cupcake.
12. Slide tip No. 8 down over the piece of uncooked spaghetti, squeezing the piping bag filled with yellow icing as you move it up the length of spaghetti. This coats the noodle with icing and creates the stamen of the flower.
13. Use tip No. 2 to pipe yellow spikes at the top of the flower’s stamen.
14. To create a hydrangea blossom, pipe a bulb of blue icing using an open coupler.
15. Cover the icing by piping small blossoms using tip No. 16 and the same blue icing.
16. Place additional flowers made from royal icing on the hydrangea blossom. Use tip No. 2 to pipe yellow centers in the royal icing flowers.
17. To create a daffodil, pipe a circle of five yellow petals using tip No. 104. Tilt the tip up as you pipe to create “movement” in the petals.
18. Build up the center of the flower by using a small tip, such as tip No. 2, to pipe a yellow spiral of icing. Top the spiral with orange icing in a zigzag motion using tip No. 3.
19. Place the pink rose (the larger cupcake) in the center of the flowerpot base, and place the remaining cupcakes around it. Use a big leaf tip to add leaves to fill in the space between the cupcake. Place royal icing blossoms and a royal icing butterfly to complete the bouquet.
BOB BROUGHAM has more than 30 years of cake decorating experience, and he opened his own bakery, The Cakery, in North Aurora, Ill., 18 years ago. He is a mostly self-taught decorator who made the switch to bakery after attending culinary school and working as a chef. He began competing in local competitions, and he recently has participated in a cake decorating challenge on the TLC series Ultimate Cake Off.
A late summer bouquet of colorful flowers piped on cupcakes will brighten any showcase. Unique packaging can continue the theme.