These impressive penguin cupcakes are the perfect food gift at Christmas time.
Follow our simple step-by-step cupcake recipe to make these clever penguin cupcakes. Using white fondant, black fondant, and a variety of sugar paste, you can transform standard cupcakes into works of art. These toppers are on classic vanilla cupcakes but you could opt for whichever flavour you prefer or even save some time and use readymade cupcakes instead.
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g unsalted butter
- 140 self-raising flour
- 10g cornflour
- 3 medium eggs
- 30ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- For the toppers:
- 350g of white fondant
- 200g of black fondant
- Ice blue paste food colour (we used Sugarflair's Ice Blue)
- Orange paste food colour (we used Sugarflair's Tangerine/Apricot)
- White hologram glitter
- Black sprinkles
- For the buttercream:
- 50g unsalted butter
- 250g icing sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 15ml milk (at room temperature)
- 12-hole deep muffin tray
- Russian doll cupcake cutters
- Swiss dot embossing folder
- Circle cookie cutters (we used the 68mm size)
Preheat your oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3. Line the muffin tray with cake cases.
Beat the sugar and butter with the vanilla extract for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add 1 egg, 1/3 of the flour and a splash of milk and beat until just combined. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined.
Divide the batter between the 12 cases (use an ice cream scoop to get even amounts) and bake for 25-30 minutes depending on your oven. Remove and cool in the tins for 10 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack.
To make the buttercream, add butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl, then beat for about 5 minutes with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour the milk gradually if you need to loosen the mixture.
Once cooled completely, spread the buttercream on the tops of the cupcakes as smoothly as you can, using a small spatula or palette knife. Don’t smooth it too far to the edges as the buttercream will squash out over the sides when you add the fondant.
Add a touch of ice blue colour to 250g and knead until you have the desired colour.
Roll the blue fondant out to ¼ inch thick and emboss the fondant with dots to create the appearance of snow falling. Then cut 12 circles one size larger than the cupcake (a 6.8 cm size cookie cutter is perfect) and stick them on top of the buttercream, smoothing the edges with your finger.
Roll 50g of white fondant out to 1/8 inch thick and cut 6 circles with the 6.8cm cutter. Cut out a ¼ section of each circle unevenly to look like the snow on the ground, and stick on top of the blue fondant at one end of the cake, smoothing the edge down with your finger.
Roll 200g of black fondant to 1/8 inch thick and cut out 12 larger (5cm doll cutter) doll shapes and 24 smaller doll shapes (3.5cm doll cutter).
Roll out 50g of white fondant to 1/8 inch thick and cut 12 large (3.5cm doll cutter) and 24 small doll shapes (2.5cm doll cutter). Brush the backs of the white fondant shapes with a little water and stick the white fondant to the black.
Once the larger penguins are finished, trim 1 cm off the bottom and stick to the centre of the cakes. With the large doll cutter, cut a small section off the left side of the small dolls and then a small section off the right side of the 6 remaining penguins.
With a brush of water stick one either side of the large penguin on the cupcake.
To make the penguin eyes, roll tiny pieces of the leftover blue fondant into balls and with a brush of water stuck them on, pushing a black sprinkle into the centre of each eye..
To make the beaks, colour the left over white fondant orange with a dot of orange food colour paste. Cut 12 larger triangles for the large penguin and 24 for the small with a sharp knife. Use the rest of the orange to make roll shapes for the feet. Stick them on with a brush of water, then mark them with a toothpick.
Brush the sky and snow with a touch of edible white glitter to make them sparkle.
Top tips for making penguin cupcakes
For these Christmas cupcakes, we’ve opted for a starry blue background for the penguins but you could easily opt for another colour fondant or simply use white fondant to make it look like snow in the background.