Honeycomb Cupcakes Centerpiece

24 standard cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes
  • Almond Bees:
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 16 whole almonds
  • 36 sliced almonds
  • Honeycomb Sugar Cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Decorative Cookie Border:
  • 1 pound yellow fondant (you will have left over)
  • 1 cup clear sanding sugar
  • 1 cup yellow sanding sugar
  • Cupcakes:
  • 24 Go-To Vanilla Mini Cupcakes, baked in bright yellow wrappers
  • 2 cups Honey Swiss Buttercream
  • 24 Frangipane Filled Cupcakes, baked in bright yellow wrappers
  • Special Equipment:
  • 2 1/4 -inch hexagon cookie cutter
  • 1 1/4 -inch hexagon cookie cutter
  • Mini offset spatula
  • For the almond bees: Fill a piping bag with a very small round tip with the chocolate. Pipe 2 eyes side by side on the rounder end of each almond, followed by 3 crosswise stripes starting in the middle of the almond down to the narrower end. Attach 2 sliced almonds (like wings) to the top chocolate stripe (the one closest to the eyes). Repeat to make 18 almond bees total. Allow to dry.

  • For the sugar cookies: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  • Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter and both sugars in another medium bowl with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture and continue beating just until the dough comes together, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  • Divide the dough in half, pat into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

  • Generously flour a clean work surface. Gently roll out the chilled dough to about 3/8-inch thick. Cut 24 cookies using a 2 1/4-inch hexagon cookie cutter, working quickly so that the dough stays chilled. (If the dough has become too soft, transfer to the refrigerator on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill again for 30 minutes.) Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. Lightly dust off any excess flour with a dry pastry brush. Refrigerate the formed cookies for at least 30 minutes. (Excess dough can be gathered together, pressed into a disc, chilled and rerolled.)

  • Bake the cookies until the bottoms are golden, about 10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If not using right away, cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

  • For the decorative cookie border: To create the honeycomb shapes on your sugar cookies, roll the yellow fondant out and cut out 24 hexagon shapes with a 2 1/4-inch hexagon cutter.

  • Place a 1 1/4-inch hexagon cutter in the center of your existing fondant hexagon shape and press. Remove the center piece.

  • Thinly frost the cookies with some buttercream. Place a cut-out hexagon fondant border on each cookie.

  • Mix the clear and yellow sanding sugars together, and then fill the inner space of the cookies with the mixed sugar. Flip the cookies over to shake out any excess sanding sugar. Reserve the remaining sugar mixture for the cupcakes.

  • To assemble the cupcakes: Frost the vanilla mini cupcakes with some buttercream using a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Sprinkle with some of the sanding sugar mixture. Garnish 12 of the mini cupcakes with 1 almond bee. Reserve the additional 6 bees to garnish the honeycomb cookie cupcakes.

  • Frost the standard-size frangipane cupcakes with some buttercream using a mini offset spatula.

  • Dip the outside edges of the frosted cupcakes into the mixed sanding sugar and place the hexagon sugar cookies on top.

  • To build the honeycomb structure: Place 14 of the standard-size cupcakes in a hexagonal honeycomb pattern. Stack 7 more cupcakes, making a second tier in the honeycomb pattern, saving 3 cupcakes to put on the top tier.

  • Scatter 20 mini cupcakes (including 8 with the almond bees) around the base of the honeycomb structure. Garnish the structure with the remaining 4 mini cupcakes with almond bees. Then arrange the remaining 6 bees on the tops of the hexagon cookies.

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