Cottage baker Zhinus Vafai offers up a cupcake basket tutorial for this Valentine’s Day.
From the fluttering of a fan to the twirling of a parasol, Victorian society reveled in ways of expression that went far beyond words. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, flowers were also employed as a way to convey sentiments that couldn’t be spoken out loud.
In the Victorian language of flowers, daisies represent a declaration of loyal love with ivy representing affection and friendship. Delving even deeper, flowers, such as roses, cover a range of emotions, from the “I love you” of red to the “happiness” of pink.
In Medina, the floral cupcakes from cottage bakery Zhinus Delights speak volumes. “Baking was something my mom and I always found was our way to connect,” baker Zhinus Vafai says. “But when I had my son, the definition of baking changed for me. His multiple food allergies meant I had to create cupcakes with substitutes for wheat flour, dairy and eggs.”
Vafai started creating her baked treats for neighbors and friends who needed something similar for their own celebrations. And that’s how she became a cottage baker, starting Zhinus Delights in March 2022 and becoming a local sensation thanks to allergy sensitive cupcakes adorned by her floral frosting creations.
Vafai says her mission is, “To spread the joy of delicious indulgence without limits.” She started by creating her allergy-sensitive cupcakes through trial and error, substituting ingredients while maintaining a delicious flavor.
Next, she turned her attention to the frosting. “Floral frosting has to be firmer than traditional frosting,” Vafai says. For an allergy-sensitive option, it’s best to make it yourself. “American buttercream [recipes] don’t have eggs like many grocery store frostings,” she says.
From frosting, Vafai moved on to refining the techniques that enable her to create daisies, roses, hydrangeas and carnations, just to name a few of the frosted flowers her cupcakes are famous for. She recommends using tutorials on social media sites, like she did, for some helpful know-how.
An Edible Arrangement
This February, Vafai is creating cupcake bouquets along with individual cupcakes, something she says can be personalized based on floral design and ingredients lists. She’s also not afraid to share some of her secrets, because it is all about the love, after all.
For do-it-yourselfers, she has the following tips to create a floral cupcake basket for the special people in your life:
- Start with a round, 8-inch basket with a height of no more than 4 inches as the base.
- Place seven 6-oz. paper cups around the perimeter of the basket, ensuring they form a circular shape.
- Fill the bottom of the basket with tissue paper to provide a stable foundation for your cupcake arrangement.
- Attach the seven cups together securely, maintaining the circular arrangement.
- Once the cups are arranged inside the basket, fill the gaps between the cups with tissue paper to enhance the visual appeal.
- Give your floral cupcake bouquet an elegant touch by adding a decorative bow to the front of the basket.
- Upon completing cupcake decoration, wrap each cupcake in high-quality tissue paper. Place them in the cups, starting from the outer edge and gradually working towards the center for a balanced presentation.
If creating isn’t your thing, Vafai can create a basket for you featuring one of two seasonal flavors.