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Made exclusively for goodtoknow Recipes, Victoria Threader’s cute robin cupcakes make a lovely festive treat. Give your cakes bags of character with this fun design
- For the cupcakes:
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g butter/marg
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 3 medium eggs
- 140g self-raising flour
- 10g cornflour
- 2tbsp milk
- For the buttercream:
- 110g butter
- 500g icing sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 4tbsp milk
- For the topping
- 1tsp gum tragacanth
- 540g chocolate fondant (120g for gum paste; 300g for tops; 120g for light brown)
- 130g red fondant (10g to mix with yellow for orange; 120g for breast, plus extra to mix with white for worms)
- 50g yellow (10g to mix with red for orange; 40g for beaks)
- 50g white fondant (20g for eyes; 30g to mix with chocolate for breast, plus extra to mix with red for worms)
- 20g black fondant (eyes)
- White nonpareils sprinkles (for dots on eyes)
- You also also need:
- 12-hole muffin tray and cases
- 5cm scalloped and 1cm heart cutters
- 7.5cm/ 6.5cm/6cm circle cutters
- 2 piping bag tubes
Prepare the gum paste
- The night before, for brown gum paste, add ½tsp gum tragacanth to 120g chocolate fondant and knead well. For orange, add ½tsp gum tragacanth to 10g red fondant and 10g yellow and knead well to make an orange fondant. Pop both gum pastes in airtight bags overnight so the gum can work into the fondant.
- The next day, a few hours before you make the cakes, roll 120g brown gum paste and cut 6 circles with the scalloped cutter, then cut the circles into 4 for wings. Roll orange gum paste and cut 24 heart shapes for feet. Leave all on a drying sponge for a few hours to set.
Make the cupcakes
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3. Line the baking tray with paper cases.
- Beat the sugar and butter/marg with the vanilla extract until light and fluffy (5 mins). Add 1 egg, ⅓ the flour, some cornflour and a splash of milk and beat until combined. Repeat until all the ingredients are mixed.
- Divide the batter among the cases. Bake for 20-25 mins, until golden and springy.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the tins for 10 mins before moving to a wire cooling rack.
- Meanwhile, mix all the buttercream ingredients in a large bowl. Beat for 5 mins. Once the cakes have cooled completely, spread the buttercream on top – but don’t spread it right up to the cases or the buttercream will squash over the sides when you put the fondant on.
Decorate the cupcakes
- Now the wings and legs are dry, they are ready to press into the freshly iced cakes. At either side of the cake, press a wing into the buttercream. At the bottom of the cake, press 2 hearts for the feet.
- Using 300g chocolate fondant, roll and cut 12 x 7.5cm circles. Place on top of the cakes, softening the edge with your finger.
- Using 120g chocolate fondant and 30g white fondant, mix together to make a lighter brown. Roll and cut circles with the 6.5cm cutter, then cut away with same cutter. Repeat the same process with 120g red fondant, using the 6cm cutter, then stick the red circles on to the chocolate ones with a brush of water. With another brush of water, stick on to the cakes for the robin’s breast.
- Using 20g white fondant and a plain piping bag tube, cut out 24 circles to make the whites of the eyes.
- Using 20g black fondant, use a smaller piping bag tube to cut 24 circles for the centres of the eye. If you don’t have any piping tubes, roll small balls of icing and then press flat with your finger. Stick the black circles to the white circles with a brush of water, then stick the eyes on to the cakes.
- Roll 40g yellow fondant and cut a long strip, then cut 12 triangles for the beaks. Stick on with a brush of water.
- Mix a bit of white and a bit of red fondant to make pink. Roll into a worm shape and score body squiggles using a sharp knife. Stick on with water.