It’s Teacher Appreciation Week! Every year, the PTA at my kids’ school has big plans for this week. Each day they decorate the teacher’s lounge with a different theme. Since the school is a Japanese immersion school, they alternate between both Japanese and American themes. Last year, I was on the American culture day team. Can you say hot dogs and potato chips? But this year, the themes were different. Each day was based on a different season and holiday, and I was assigned to the Valentine’s Day theme.
I had originally volunteered for the fall team. I love fall and all the treats and imagery that go with it. But after I volunteered for that, the person in-charge said, “I think you’d be good for Valentine’s Day.”
I’m not exactly sure how to take that, but okay…
To paint the picture of how these meetings usually go, imagine a room with all women, mostly Japanese, and me. Sitting there quietly trying to use context clues and the few Japanese words I can recognize to figure out what is being discussed. These meetings and events they plan are well organized, coordinated, and planned that it isn’t too difficult to understand what’s going on. I’m beyond impressed with how this PTA operates and I have so much respect for their dedication and effort. They definitely know what they are doing. So when someone tells me to do something, I listen. If you want me on the Valentine’s Day team, I won’t even ask why. I just say, “yes.” (Even though, I’m still curious why they thought I was a good fit for Valentine’s Day) Either way, I marched on with my mission heavy in mind.
So what can we decorate the teacher’s lounge with for Valentine’s Day? I immediately thought of flowers. But flowers you can eat!
My friend had made a cupcake bouquet for her school a few years back and it was a big hit. She said it was “super easy and looks fantastic!” This was the perfect thing to do! And when I told my mom what I was doing she excitedly offered to teach me how to make frosting roses. “It’ll be super easy and look fantastic!” Well, sometimes when you blend two “super simple” ideas things get complicated.
To help simplify things, I just used box cake mix. This made me die inside a little bit, because I never use box cake mix. I wasn’t going for taste on this though, it was all about the look. At least for my first attempt. So I gathered my supplies, baked three boxes of cupcakes, and called my mom. This was going to be a joint venture. (Scroll down for list of supplies and instructions)
Everything was going well until it came to the frosting. To make the cupcakes look like roses, you had to frost them individually, and then stick them on the Styrofoam ball. This was not easy, especially without smearing frosting everywhere. We ended up doing roses with every other cupcake. The non-roses we frosted in place with a simple star tip. If you frosted the whole thing in place, it would have gone much smoother and quicker. But hey, I learned how to make roses out of frosting! All-in-all, the thing turned out looking pretty fantastic and was the perfect center piece to our Valentine’s Day themed teacher appreciation week spread.
In addition to the cupcake bouquet, I had to make Ryan Gosling meme valentines. One of the other moms was very passionate about this idea so I didn’t protest. I made 16 different style valentines with cheesy (mostly food) puns. I stared at Ryan’s face for so long working on this project I think I have thing for him too. But maybe that’s a story for another day.
This “super simple” idea for us ending up being more complicated because of the rose frosting method, but it didn’t really have to be. So if you’re feeling up for trying something new that actually is rather simple, but the results will blow everyone away, try this cupcake bouquet. Ryan Gosling memes optional.
Now just to figure out how to transport this thing…
- 3 Boxes cake mix (or preferred homemade cake batter) Enough to make about 4 dozen cupcakes
- 1 8.7 in" diameter Styrofoam ball
- 1 8" Clay flower pot (it needs weight to it, so don't use a plastic pot)
- 1 Pack of tooth picks
- Glue gun
- Decorator's frosting (I used the Wilton's buttercream recipe. about 2 batches)
- Bake 4 dozen cupcakes.
- Glue the Styrofoam ball to the flower pot.
- Start attaching cupcakes to Styrofoam ball with toothpicks by starting at the bottom. Insert two toothpicks, slide the cupcake on. Once the cupcake is in place, insert a third toothpick through the cupcake into the Styrofoam ball. Move in a circle until the globe is covered with unfrosted cupcakes.
- Make frosting. Separate the frosting into as many colors as you'd like. I used two subtle shades of pink.
- Start decorating cupcakes starting at the bottom, then moving to the next layer, until finishing on the very top. I used 3 different decorating tips. The star tip, a rose tip, and a petal tip. Use a variety of tips to add interest to the bouquet.
- *If you make roses, make them individually and then attach them to the globe first. Make sure to leave space in between the roses to prevent smearing the frosting all over. Once the roses are in place, then fill in the remaining cupcakes using the star tip.