Tutorial: How to Make a Dramatic Flower and Macaron Dessert Table Centerpiece

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Did you see the amazing Bloom and Grow party by Million Dollar $mile Celebrations over on Hostess With The Mostess a couple days ago?  It was an absolutely magical event inspired by The Sound of Music, without being a movie themed party.  Do yourself a favor and go check out the pictures.

When you've oogled all the fabulous eye-candy in the party post, I'm going to show you how I made that flower and macaron tower as my small contribution to this stunning event.


First step:  make bunches of macarons and gather/buy flowers in your color scheme.  I am still a rank beginner at making macarons, so don't expect a tutorial from me any time soon.  But there are plenty of awesome macaron resources out there, like my friend Mindy's absolutely incredible, helpful, inspirational book, Gourmet French Macarons.  

Next, you'll need a styrofoam cone (available at any craft store) and a sharp knife to cut it.  My big bread knife worked really well for this job.  I cut my tower into 3 segments, and discarded the top (pointy) part, because I wanted to have flowers at the top of my macaron tower.


I needed to create some support on which the macarons could sit, so I used cake rounds to stack in between the layers of Styrofoam and floral foam to create strategic ledges.  I knew water-logged floral foam was going to be used in the construction of the tower, so I wrapped the cardboard rounds with cling wrap, so they wouldn't get soggy and lose their structural integrity.  

I trimmed floral foam, soaked with water and flower food, to approximately the right size to go between the plain Styrofoam layers.  I wrapped the base of the wet floral foam with more cling wrap, just to help keep drips from falling down onto the macarons below.  

A large dowel was skewered all the way through the whole Frankensteined-together tower to add stability.  Without that dowel, the tower would have toppled.  Many times.

NOTE:  Make the floral foam at the very bottom of the tower AS LARGE AS THE BOTTOM LEDGE.  What I did in the picture above is just silly.  You want as much stability as possible, and there was no good reason for me to make the bottom piece of floral foam the same size as the bottom piece of Styrofoam.  I realized my wobbly error and fixed it, but forgot to take a picture of the revised design.  Sorry!  


Then it's just a matter of sticking the macarons on the dry Styrofoam portions of the tower.

I found it easiest to do a row of toothpicks first and then skewer the macarons on.

Poke, stack, poke, stack, all the way up.

Once the macarons are in place, it's time to add the flowers. 


 I love working with floral foam.  It provides the flowers with water and food, and makes it so easy to arrange flowers.  Just stick the trimmed flower stems in the foam, and they just stick there.  So easy!


I assembled this, and then handed it off to Nicole, who very carefully drove it home.  But it's a delicate thing, and if I were to do it again, I'd probably assemble on site.

Still looked gorgeous at the party, but the macarons did tilt and go a little wonky.  

I also made a little gumpaste goat topper for the party.  I put it on top of my macaron mountain here, but love how it was used on a cupcake at the actual party!  


It was modeled after the goat marionette from the movie.  I think I did her justice!


There she is being shown off on the cupcake.  She kind of got lost in all those flowers on the macaron tower.


See?


I'm not going to lie, this was not an easy undertaking.  But it is totally doable, if you have the time and inclination.  I just wish I'd had Mindy's book before making the macarons; I would have spent far less time worrying and experimenting on the baking step.  

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido