Introduction: Robotic R2D2 Cupcake
I started with R2D2 as my main idea, but part of me was inspired by the shape of the bottom of the cupcake to do a quick and dirty R4 A22 as well.
Please note that I used food safe markers on this project, do not draw on your cupcake with regular markers!
And just so everyone can see him in action, I'm attaching a quick video.
Step 1: Make Marshmallow Fondant
I made marshmallow fondant from a recipe from DotatDabbled's Recipe, incorporating a tiny bit (the addition of vanilla from ashleyg13.
First gather your ingredients.
8 Oz Powdered Sugar
4 Oz Marshmallows
A few Drops Vanilla Extract
1TBs minus a few drops Water
Cheapo Food Scale (this is helpful if you want to make a smaller quantity like this).
Silpat Mat (very important so things don't stick!)
Not pictured coconut oil or crisco (if you don't have the silpat, or even if you do, using about a spoonful of this can help grease your hands and work space so stuff doesn't stick).
Weigh out the ingredients. This makes it easy to determine the quantity. Note when reading a scale, you need to calibrate the scale to zero and also weigh the ingredients by looking from the same point of view. These measurement photos look off because I took the photo at a different angle than I weighed the ingredients.
Microwave the marshmallows and a few drops of vanilla in a tablespoon topped off with water for 30 seconds and then add in and stir 3/4 of the powdered sugar with a spatula.
Turn this out on to your work surface, which is liberally sprinkled with powdered sugar. Knead until you get a soft play dough like consistency, which pulls and stretches, but does not tear.
Put this in a plastic baggie and refrigerate overnight to one week.
Step 2: Bake Some Cupcakes
Through the magic of Television, er the internet it's now the next day...
Gather your ingredients for your cupcakes.
For the Cake you need eggs, water, oil and mix.
To hold these little robots together I used pretzel sticks (thanks kristylynn8!)
White Chocolate and vanilla creme wafers for the legs (unless you can find some of those elusive white kit kats)
Frosting to hold on your fondant
Blue gel dye
Optional Silver Shimmer dust...I used this b/c I had it but felt it didn't add a whole lot of silver color.
corn starch and coconut oil for kneeding the fondant
a tomato sauce can cut open on both ends and cleaned
And most importantly:
A Hex Bug...this is a small robotic bug, get the original one that looks like a lady bug. I found mine for 10.99 at Michaels but I got it for $5.50 with my 50% off coupon!
Before I made the batter I used some mini oranges to shape some aluminum foil into dome shaped molds. You might need to use a tangerine or something else round.
Prepare the batter as according to your favorite cake mix.
You will be making regular cupcakes, mini cupcakes and some dome shaped cupcakes.
I put 3 TBs of batter in the regular cupcakes, 1 TB in the mini cupcakes and 2 TB in the dome shaped aluminum foil molds.
Bake the minis for 15 minutes, and the regular and domes for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Put these on a rack to cool completely.
Step 3: Cut Up the Cookies for the Legs
Using a sharp serrated knife I cut up the wafer cookies. Since these break easily my method was to make 4 cuts near the 4 corners and then cut out the middle thinner part of the leg. If it breaks you can potentially use that for the short 3rd leg R2D2 has. I ended up not using it because it was too hard to attach, but you never know, I'm sure someone out there can think of a clever way.
Once you've cut out the thin part, then shave off the top two corners, this makes that round "shoulder" part, the other part the foot.
Nuke your white chocolate for 30 sec on .5 power, keep doing this until it starts to get shiny and you can stir it around. I added coconut oil, which made it easy to dip, but unfortunately it melts very easy. I think I ended up making magic shell. If anyone has any suggestions of how to make the chocolate harder (I suspect I needed more chocolate) it would be greatly appreciated. Dip the pieces in one by one and use a fork to fish them out and put them on your clean silpat. Then stick them all in the freezer. Use a sharp knife to trim off any wonky bits.
Step 4: Dye the Fondant
Using a toothpick or skewer as I did, put a liberal amount of blue dye in the center of a warmed and kneaded fondant blob. Keep folding and kneading. I think I had to add dye about 3 times to get the "right" amount of blue. Just note, this blue fondant seemed stickier than the white b/c it had more moisture, this will make it more challenging to roll out properly.
I rolled it up into some saran wrap and stored it in the same baggie as the white fondant.
Step 5: Roll Out Your Fondant
This is where you need a non stick rolling pin, a silpat mat, and additional cornstarch because as everything warms up, it gets sticky.
Make a long piece for the body, and a round piece for the head.
I used a pizza cutter to cut strips of blue for the decoration, note on the blue curved part at the top of the head i was able to make many by cutting at opposite angles and then flipping the shapes.
Some notes about fondant. I washed my hands a lot while taking photos. Make sure you are 100% dry. Any wet fingers will make this stuff incredibly sticky which is not good. Also do not store them on top of each other, use layers of saranwrap. I didn't think about this and had to repeat this step...which was a bit frustrating.
Step 6: Cut Your Cupcakes to Size
Cut your cupcakes to size using the tomato paste can. It is easiest if you flip them upside down before cutting. Use 3 pretzels to join two of the 3 layers together. The third domed one will be added once you have frosted and put on the fondant.
Step 7: Frost and Add Fondant
I find frosting the cupcakes the most frustrating part, but this has to be done or alas, the fondant will not stick. Add a layer of frosting and drape the fondant over the dome shaped cupcake. Use a sharp knife to trim the excess. Put frosting around the edges of your cylinder and roll the thinner piece of fondant (which i trimmed to the proper height) around that. Use a domed cupcake to make an R2D2, or an upside down mini cupcake for the R4 A22.
I included pics of putting fondant on both tops...and also at this point I put the edible silver dust on the dome. I think I'd skip it next time, it didn't give *that* much of an effect, but was worth a try.
Step 8: Assemble Robot and Begin Decorating
Carefully place the head onto the body. And begin decorating, if your fondant has dried at all, you can add a drop of water to the back of it to stick it on, but be careful, the dye can smudge. Also at this point I used food coloring markers that I got at Michaels (but have also seen in the regular grocery store in the frosting section). I looked at a photo of R2D2 and an R4A22 and went to town. Note I used fondant for R2D2, but used a Marker for the R4 A22 so you can see the difference. I'm also not the best artist, so it was a little messy, but you get the point.
Step 9: Attach the Legs
Now you can decorate it with legs. I added just the two as I couldn't figure out where to put the third one. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Basically use some of your left over "magic shell" white chocolate and use that as a glue. Smear some on a leg and put it on a droid, stick it in the fridge. For the second leg it is a little harder, since you have to lay it on its back...basically here's where i used a few food coloring markers to prop this up.
Do not refrigerate this for too long, as fondant's not supposed to be refrigerated once decorated due to condensation.
Step 10: Make It Move!
Here's where the magic happens.
Take your hex bug, break off the pointy ends of one side of 3 toothpicks and attach them to the hex bug in the crevices of the hex bug.
Then gently slide your R2D2 onto the toothpicks. This is what takes a bit of care as if it's too far forward or back it will topple over. I had to reset my cupcake after trying to make it walk.
Then, test it out! I put it on a baking sheet and had it walk on that, but it would be cool to have it walk up to the birthday girl or boy!
Enjoy! It is my friend's birthday tomorrow and I hope she likes her R2D2 Cupcake!