RECIPE: Bee-licious cupcakes
I’m not gonna lie to you, I
stole took inspiration for these bee cupcakes from some that I saw on the bakery counter in everyone’s favourite upmarket supermarket. Using a standard cupcake recipe, a pack of fondant icing, a few pots of food colourings and a bit of trial and error I worked out how to get a smooth yellow coating on top, shape tiny bee wings and pipe on black stripes and a smily face, culminating in these adorable edible insects. Note: this how-to focuses on the cupcake decoration rather than the baking, and I’ve put all the instructional photos together at the end for ease.
You will need:
12 vanilla cupcakes (I used this BBC recipe)
1 pack (500g) ready-made white fondant
500g icing sugar
Food colouring in black, yellow and red (I use Sugar Flair paste)
Piping bag or small plastic food bags
- Make up enough icing to cover all your cakes by mixing about 150g icing sugar with lemon juice until it’s a smooth runny consistency, then add yellow food colouring gradually until you have a bright honey bee-yellow colour.
- Mix equal parts icing sugar and butter (about 50g each), plus a couple of drops of vanilla extract, until you have a smooth butter icing. Take one teaspoon of the mixture out and add a little red food colouring until it’s a delicate rosy-cheek red. Colour the rest black – you’ll need to add quite a lot of black otherwise it looks a bit grey.
- To make your bee wings, roll a chunk of fondant icing until it’s a sausage shape about 1cm thick, then cut off 24 small pieces, as equally sized as possible. Dust a chopping board and your hands with icing sugar so the fondant doesn’t stick. To create the wing shape, take each piece of fondant, roll it into a ball, then pinch and roll one end until you have a teardrop shape. Flatten it against your palm/the board. Leave the wings to harden.
- Using a small palette or butter knife, smooth a dollop of yellow icing onto each cupcake. To get a really smooth finish, I found it helps to dip your finger in a cup of water and pat any rough bits of icing down.
- Fill your piping bag (or the corner of a plastic food bag) with the black butter cream. Cut off the end to leave a very small nozzle and pipe a circle and three stripes on your bees backs. Add smiles and eyes for happy bee faces (or scowls/frowns if you want more emotional diversity).
- Fill another bag with the tiny bit of red icing and pipe on little red dots for your bees cheeks.
- Before the buttercream sets, carefully place two wings in the centre of the stripes, then your bees are ready to buzz off into the sunset.
Follow a standard vanilla cupcake recipe
Mix the yellow icing
Colour most of the buttercream icing black
Colour a little bit a light red
Shape your little teardrop-shaped bee wings
Leave your bee wings to harden
Cover each cupcake with yellow icing
Smooth down with a little water on your fingertip
Add the bee face and stripes
(it might get a bit messy)
Add the bee wings before the stripes dry
My finished colony