Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Spring Cupcake Bouquet

Spring has arrived, with the glorious gifts of daffodils, tulips, irises, and hyacinths. Chef Dianne Rossomando of The Culinary Institute of America has a great suggestion for celebrating spring and summer—create a beautiful “bouquet” of floral cupcakes. Bring all the wonderful colors of the garden together in a centerpiece for your dessert table, or present the bouquet as a gift for someone special.

Chef Rossomando used the following recipes adapted from the Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America cookbook for both the cupcakes and the buttercream frosting. However, if you are pressed for time, the chef suggests using a box cake mix to prepare your cupcakes and making frosting using the simple recipe on the box of confectioners’ sugar.

Frosting your cupcakes to look like flowers—such as Chef Rossomando’s sunflowers, zinnias, and chrysanthemums—is easy when you use a pastry bag and a special “leaf” piping tip that you can find at most kitchen and craft stores. To create a two-tone effect that mimics the looks of flowers in your garden, alternate two complementary colored frostings side by side in a piping bag.

Don’t worry if they’re not perfect. Everyone will love them just because you made them.

For a brief step-by-step video on how to pipe the icing onto your cupcakes to create the perfect bouquet, watch the video below.

Baking At Home with The Culinary Institute of America (2004, Wiley), is available for purchase at bookstores nationwide.

CIA's Spring Cupcake Bouquet recipe



Yellow Butter Cake

Makes one dozen cupcakes

  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole or low-fat milk (divided use)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Simple Buttercream Icing

Makes about 4 cups

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus extra as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk, plus extra as needed


Yellow Butter Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper cupcake inserts inside cupcake pan.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and 1/2 cup of the milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  3. In a separate bowl, blend the eggs, egg whites, the remaining 1/2 cup milk, and the vanilla extract. Add to the batter in three additions, mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed after each addition. Scrape down the bowl between additions.
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and bake until a skewer inserted near the center of one of the cakes comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, allow the cakes to cool, and remove from pan.

Simple Buttercream Icing

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture, 2 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Increase the speed to medium and, with the mixer running, add the cream in a thin stream. Increase the speed to high and whip the buttercream until very smooth, light, and a good spreading consistency. Adjust the consistency if necessary by adding a bit more confectioners’ sugar or cream. Use to fill, ice, and decorate a cake.
 Nutritional Information for Yellow Butter Cake per serving—Calories: 210, Protein: 3 g, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 0 g, Total Fat: 9 g, Saturated Fat: 5 g, Sodium: 75 mg. Nutritional Information for Simple Buttercream Icing per 1-ounce serving—Calories: 140, Protein: 0 g, Carbohydrates: 18 g, Fiber: 0 g, Total Fat: 7 g, Saturated Fat: 4.5 g, Sodium: 10 mg.

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