Christmas is a time for giving. Despite Hong Kong still not feeling Christmasy to me I took an opportunity to make some cupcakes for a Christmas prize at a charity event. I decided to make them as non-denominational as I could since these were a prize to be offered in a large group of people.
I had never made fondant topped cupcakes, so I took this as an excuse to explore and experiment and hopefully find some Christmas Spirit in the process. I started with 6 large vanilla cupcakes. The first I covered with a blue vanilla buttercream swirl and placed some white fondant snowflakes on top. I got the snowflake cutters from ‘I love Cake‘ – HK$60 for 3 different sized snowflake moulds that press out.
Then I decided to try making a poinsettia flower to go atop a cupcake. I didn’t have a proper template to use per-say but I did see a design similar to what I wanted to create using jube candy in one of the Wilton yearbooks so I went with the basis of it and adapted it to fondant. The bottom petals are made from the Wilton medium leaf cutter. The top petals are made from the small leaf cutter. I used 6 of each size and laid them out on a flower mould to give the petals their droop as well as using a small amount of gumpaste glue (a small amount of gumpaste melted into water ) to stick them together. I let them dry for at least 24 hours before I made the cupcakes to allow them a chance to set. Before I moved the joined petals to the cupcake I covered the cupcake in a thin layer of buttercream then placed a thin white fondant circle over the top of the buttercream to cover the cupcake and smoothed it down as best I could. I used the medium leaf cutter to cut 4 green fondant leaves and placed them strategically on the white fondant. I also used a small amount of yellow fondant and rolled it into a ball, squished it a little and pressed some dots into the top. I know technically a Poinsettia’s center doesn’t look like that, but I wanted to give a bit of floral creative colour flair to it. I made a short “stem” out of green fondant and attached the yellow center to it. I added a little gumpaste glue to the base and gently pressed the stem with the yellow center into the middle of the red flower making sure the yellow ‘stuck out’ from the flower before gluing the complete flower to the cupcake.
Next was a santa teddy bear. I opted to make him from chocolate fondant. I know christmas bears tend to be white, but I just felt a chocolate tasting bear would be more fun. I made the base on the top of the cupcake with a white circle and red spiral both made of 100% fondant. The bear itself I just made from my imagination so he isn’t anything ‘special’, although I do like the little santa hat. In hindsight I think I would have made him differently … I’m not happy with his face or ears, but he smelt divine with his chocolateliness. 😉
After the bear I felt inspired to try and create a wreath. Time was becoming an issue so I wanted a simple yet hopefully artistic way to convey the wreath. I started with a green sausage of fondant which I curved around into a circle before using one of my fondant tools to run tooth tyre tracks around the whole circle in an attempt to create texture and pattern. From there I crafted a thin red ribbon and glued it to the top of the wreath. I suck at doing ribbon bows whether it be the real thing or in fondant, so to hide my lack of ability I created a little star to go over the top of the middle of the bow I had created. The star was made with white fondant. I don’t have a small star cutter, so can you figure out how I made it? You might want to have a closer look at the center of the snowflakes in my first cupcake. I made a few little baubles out of yellow and red fondant and glued them to the wreath. I added gumpaste glue to the bottom of the wreath and laid it on a white fondant circle atop the cupcake.
The final two cupcakes I topped with a red bauble with yellow spiral trim and a simple christmas present. All made out of fondant. I tried various techniques with the circular fondant base of both the cupcakes to try and create something visually interesting.
My personal favorites were the wreath and the poinsettia. I would happily make both again, and hopefully with a little experience under my belt now make them look even better.
At the end of the day the person who won my cupcake six-pack was utterly delighted. When the organisers told her I had made the cupcakes and that they weren’t store brought she couldn’t believe it. It brought a smile to my face. She couldn’t wait to take them home to show her family.
Maybe my Christmas spirit is starting to shine it’s light faintly …