In this instructable I'll show you how to make a basic buttercream frosting and a cream cheese frosting, as well as delicious orange-ginger cupcakes.
I'll also tell you about fondant making adventures and how I decorated the cupcakes with adorable cats!
Step 1: Making the marshmallow fondant
I am not the most accomplished baker, and had no idea that marshmallow fondant does not firm up over time! The cat heads got a little soft after being on top of the icing for a while, especially the thinner ones.
This is the fondant recipe I used:
- 8 oz mini marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- crisco as needed!
The basic jist of it is to put the two tablespoons of water and 8 oz of mini marshmallows in the microwave in a HUGE bowl, 30 seconds at a time. After every 30 seconds, stir them and pop them back in. Keep doing this until they're nice and smooth.
Once that's done, dump 3/4 of the powdered sugar into the marshmallows and coat a spatula with crisco and stir stir STIR.
Don't stop stirring until most of it is combined. The fondant should be forming a bit of a ball at this point. Then grease your counter AND hands with crisco, dump the lump out of the bowl and knead it like crazy. If it's still super sticky, keep putting powdered sugar on top and mixing it in. After 5-10 minutes of adding powdered sugar and kneading, you should have a smooth, barely sticky piece of fondant.
Coat it in crisco, wrap it in plastic wrap, and pop it in the fridge until you're ready to work with it.
I apologize for the lack of photos - maybe one day I'll do a tutorial over it. I just really wasn't sure how it was going to go so I didn't bother documenting it. :P
Step 2: Making the orange ginger cupcakes
Orange Ginger Cupcakes
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (8oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 1/8 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- First, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until nice and fluffy - this'll take just a few minutes.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and ginger together in a smaller bowl and set aside.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each.
- Zest the orange over the bowl, getting as much zest in there as possible. Add in the vanilla if you're using it.
- Add the milk and flour, alternating and mixing between the two until everything is nice and smooth. Scrape down the sides to make sure you don't have any dry patches of flour. :)
Step 3: Bake the cupcakes!
Line a muffin tin with liners and fill them up! Filling the liners almost all the way to the top will result in flatter, wider cupcake tops, which are great for decorating, but not as pretty. Filling the liners 2/3 of the way full will result in cute, rounded cupcakes. So go with whichever kind you like.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are lightly browned and firming up. If you poke a cupcake with your finger it shouldn't leave an indent - you want it to spring back pretty quick. :D
Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
This recipe will make 24 cupcakes, also - so if you don't have two pans, make sure to let the pan cool before putting the second batch in.
Step 4: Buttercream icing
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar to start (add more as wanted - I think I ended up using about 3 cups)
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- food coloring (optional)
- Cream the butter until nice and smooth.
- Add in half the powdered sugar. (feel free to sift it if it seems lumpy!) Mix until well combined, and then add the other half. :D
- Add the milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add more sugar if it seems to loose.
- Once it's nice and creamy, feel free to add food coloring.
Step 5: Cream cheese frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- food coloring (optional)
At this point, you can add another tablespoon of milk if your frosting seems to thick. If you're happy with it, you can add food coloring little by little until you have the color you want. :D
Step 6: Frost the cupcakes
I used a pastry bag + tip, but you can just as easily spread the frosting on with a knife.
I stored the cupcakes in the fridge after they were frosted, because they are FULL of dairy products.
Step 7: Create some cats!
To do this part, I taped down a sheet of freezer paper to my work surface. After having the fondant stick to everything the previous night, I wasn't taking any chances. :P
Even if you use freezer paper, you'll still need to liberally dust your work surface with powdered sugar and keep doing it throughout the process. I rolled out the fondant with a rolling pin, and cut off a small piece that I would color for the ears.
To color fondant, use just a few drops of food coloring at a time, and knead it into the fondant. This take quite a while. Lots and lots of kneading to get the color nice and consistent. I promise it'll look scary and streaky at first, but after a few minutes of kneading it'll be beautiful!
Once I colored some of the fondant, I set it aside, dusted my work surface and the leftover white fondant again, and continued to roll it out until it was about 1/8 inch thick. At that point I tried using a template to cut out cat heads by hand using a paring knife. This did not go so well. :D
In the end, I cut out a two inch wide strip of craft metal and folded and bended it into shape and used it as a cookie cutter. Some trimming with a knife was still needed but it went much quicker. The cat heads that were cut out were set aside on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a little powdered sugar.
Step 8: Decorate the cats!
To do this, I rolled out the pink fondant to 1/8 inch thick and cut out thin strips. I then cut the thin strips into triangles.
To affix the triangles, I got a bowl of water and used a rolled up paper towel to dab a tiny bit of water onto the cat ears, and then pressed the pink triangle into place on top. Make sure to not use too much water! I found that a pair of tweezers was helpful here.
To make the eyes, I used black icing sugar I bought from the store and put it into a pastry bag with a fine tip. I wet my finger and pressed down any points that occurred when I stopped.
Step 9: Apply the cats!
This was the best way to affix them, but it has its problems - I would recommend doing this at the very last minute. Because the frosting I used is dairy based, I needed to store them in the fridge. The fridge tends to make the fondant sweat, and the thinner pieces got a little wilted after sitting at room temp after coming out of the fridge.
Step 10: Devour! + final thoughts
- if I had to do this again, I think I'd use something else. Marshmallow fondant is awesome, but doesn't harden.
- I think white chocolate cat heads would be fantastic - you could just pipe it onto parchment paper with templates underneath. You'd also be able to get more detail that way.
- Because the fondant is so sweet, I'd recommend trying to cut back on the sugar in the frosting if possible, or use salted butter in the frosting - the boy (who is sugar obsessed) told me that they were a little too sweet.
- I'd love to see cat cupcakes from you guys! If anyone makes them, please post pictures. :D