Learn how to make pirate cupcakes with modeling paste and fondant following our simple step-by-step method.
Ideal for kids' parties, this cupcake recipe makes 12 pirates cupcakes. Infuse these cupcakes with vanilla, and fill with a raspberry jam centre. The cake toppers are easy to achieve using some basic cake decorating tools. Perfect party food ideas for a pirate-themed birthday celebration.
For the cupcakes:
- 150g self-raising flour
- 150g softened butter
- 150g golden caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 3tbsp milk, room temperature
- 12tsp raspberry jam
For the buttercream:
- 250g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 300g of icing sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 2tbsp milk
For the toppers:
- 80g modelling paste
- 50g white ready-to-roll fondant
- 60g red fondant
- 40g black fondant
- Black sugar pearls for the eyes
- Small gold sugar pearl for the earrings
- Orange food colour
- White confetti sprinkles from a mixed colour pot.
You will also need:
- Deep muffin pan with 12 cupcake cases
- Sharp knife
- Circle cookie cutters: 58mm for the faces, 38mm for the bandana ties, 10mm for the eyes, 15mm for the patch
- Balling tool or the end of a teaspoon
- Petal cutter
- Cocktail stick
- For the toppers: For the face: Mix 80g of modelling paste with 40g of white fondant with a very small bit of orange food colour and knead well until the colour is even. Roll and cut 12x 58mm circles, adding the smiles with a smaller cookie cutter or knife as you go. These will dry quite quickly on a drying sponge or greaseproof paper.
- To make the stripy bandana: roll and cut thin strips of red fondant. Roll the white fondant and do the same. Alternate the strips at the top of the head trimming at the edges and stick down with a brush of water. To make the ties, cut a 38mm circle and the cut 2 petal type shapes from the edge. Stick two ends together with a brush of water and then stick to the back of the head.
- To make the plain bandana: Roll the red fondant and cut a 1cm strip. Lay across the top of the head and trim at the edges. To make the ties, cut a 38mm circle and the cut 2 petal type shapes from the edge. Stick two ends together with a brush of water and then stick to the back of the head.
- To make the dotty bandana: Roll the red fondant and cut a 58mm circle. Then, using the same cutter, cut the bottom half of the circle away so you are left with the top. Stick the top on the head with a brush of water. To make the ties, cut a 38mm circle and the cut 2 petal type shapes from the edge. Stick two ends together with a brush of water and then stick to the back of the head. For the white dots, use a white confetti sprinkle from a mixed coloured pot and stick them down with a brush of water. If you don’t have these, just roll tiny balls of white fondant and stick them on in the same way.
- Noses: Roll small balls of the leftover skin tone fondant and stick with a brush of water in the centre of the face. Eyes: Roll out the remaining 10g of white fondant and cut 24 10mm circles, sticking a black pearl in the middle for the pupils. It sometimes looks great to make the pupils look wonky too. The eyes don’t have to be circular, cut the tops off for a more sinister look.
- Ears: Roll small balls of the skin-tone fondant and stick them to the side of the head with a balling tool, this give you the hole in the centre. If you don’t have a balling tool, the end of a teaspoon works well. Use the gold pearls for earrings by pushing them in with a cocktail stick. Tooth: Cut a tiny rectangle of white fondant and stick it onto the mouth with a brush of water.
- Sideburns: Roll the black fondant and cut into 2 small strips. Mark the strip with a cocktail stick and stick onto the side of the face with a bush of water. You can also stick a tiny ball of black fondant in the middle of the chin too. Moustache: Use a small petal cutter for the moustache but if you don't have one, roll 2 small sausage shapes and squash one end with the tip of your finger. Mark with a cocktail stick, then glue them under the nose with a brush of water. Glue a tiny triangle in the centre of the chin.
- Eye patch: To make the eye patch, roll long thin sausages for the elastic, stick across one eye and trim at the edges of the cupcake. Cut a 15mm circle, trim the top off and stick over the eye with the elastic sticking the to the top of the patch. Once the toppers are finished leave to dry for a few hours (the longer the better).
- For the cakes: Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3 and line the baking tray. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth. Don’t over beat or the cakes will be greasy. Fill the cases and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack. Once cool, core the centre from the cakes and pop 1tsp of raspberry jam in, popping the cored centre back in when you have filled them.
- For the buttercream: Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth this takes about 8 minutes with an electric hand whisk. Spread a thin layer on top of the cooled cakes and carefully place a pirate face on top.
Top tips for making pirate cupcakes
These pirate cake toppers can be made a few days before you need them. Just store them in a breathable cardboard cake box before using them. They should last about two to three days.
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Victoria Threader is 'the queen of cupcakes' and a contributing Recipe Writer at GoodTo. Not only can she bake delicious cupcakes, she can decorate them too - with each of Victoria’s cupcakes topped with handmade edible toppers. Some of her most popular cupcakes include: rainbow cupcakes, hidden shape cupcakes and even giant cupcakes.
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