Sunflower cupcakes

Sunflower Cupcakes

That one day plain swirls got boring...

I had a batch of cupcakes to decorate, and was bored with my standard go-to designs. Said boredom left me looking for something different to decorate with this time around. Given the thousand or so sunflowers in full bloom surrounding my city, sunflower cupcakes seemed like a great idea! Would highly recommend. 😉 You only need a leaf-tip or teardrop piping tip for the sunflower petals, and a small star for the centers!

There's one thing I didn’t realize though. Sunflowers have a lot of petals! Piping that many petals takes approximately an eternity - and can cramp the heck out of your hand. :/ I made it through about 2/3 of the batch. Then I decided to lower my tendonitis risk and swirl-pipe the rest! 😉

The combo of decorations made for some fun pictures and I definitely recommend mixing up the decorating if your hand is cramping. 😉

Recipes / instructions below!

FAQs - 

“What's the best way to store these cupcakes?”
  • Store in a cupcake carrier or sealable container. If using a container like a tupperware, I often put a layer of plastic wrap over the top between the container and lid for a better seal. They'll keep at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 3-5 days as long as they're protected from drying out.

“Do I have to make the cupcakes / frosting from scratch?”
  • Not if you'd rather not! Substitute your favorite vanilla cake mix plus the ingredients the mix calls for - replacing oil with butter, water, with buttermilk, and  adding an extra egg will help!

  • Store bought frosting is a bit thin; color and then add a 1/4 cup of extra powdered sugar at a time until you reach a consistency that stays in place on the cupcakes well.

(Disclosure: As an Amazon associate I may earn from qualifying purchases, and my posts often contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you!) 

Don't forget to pin for later!

Sunflower Cupcakes pinterest pin

Sunflower Cupcakes

Looking for a bright, fun, fall-themed cupcake? Sunflower cupcakes are easy to make and decorate, and gorgeous to display!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Decorating time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Buttercream Sunflower Cupcakes, Easy Sunflower Cupcakes, Sunflower Cupcakes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 482kcal
Author: Sarah H

Equipment

Ingredients

Sunflower cupcakes

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (one package; softened)
  • 1 cup butter (two sticks, softened)
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • 5 large drops yellow gel food coloring
  • ¼ cup black cocoa powder (for the cupcake centers – you can also use black gel food color but cocoa powder tastes better!)
  • Sprinkles of your choice (Optional; I used a black/gold mix from Fancy Sprinkles very similar to this one)

Instructions

Sunflower cupcakes

  • Preheat your oven to 325℉, and prepare cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • In a medium or stand mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar until lightened. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. (The mixture will look clumpy and strange at this stage. This is normal!)
  • Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined – don’t overmix! The batter will be fairly thick.
  • Fill each cupcake liner ⅔ full (using a large cookie scoop to transfer the batter into the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process).
  • Bake for 16-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. (This is a great time to make your frosting!)

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. I recommend making it fairly thick for this recipe, so that the frosting petals will hold their shape. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined. Mix in food coloring until frosting is a deep sunflower yellow.

On to the fun part - Decorating!

  • (I recommend watching the video for reference here; it's less than a minute long. Some decorating techniques are easier to watch than read!)
  • Transfer yellow frosting to a piping bag fitted with a leaf or teardrop tip, and pipe petals around the outermost cupcake edges. Repeat until about halfway into the cupcake center; 2-3 rows.
  • Pipe dark frosting in small stars to make the sunflower centers; about a quarter-sized circle. (I picked up my yellow frosting again at this point and added one more circle of petals to rim the center – optional, but I thought they looked a little more realistic with a few more petals near the center.)
  • Uncramp your hand if needed, and repeat!
  • (I also used my large piping bag & large star tip and piped a few of the cupcakes - when I couldn't work the cramps out of my hand and running out of decorating time. Large swirls made a fun way to break up the cupcake designs!)
  • And you’re done! Step back and admire your gorgeous cupcakes! 😉

Video

Notes

(Please note nutrition information is an estimate, and may not be exactly accurate. Counts will be lower in all fields if the full batch of frosting isn't used.) 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 482kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 22g

Mentioned in post: Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Did you make these Sunflower Cupcakes?

Let me know how it went – or make my day and find me on Pinterest or on Instagram and tag @IntensiveCakeUnit in your photo!

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