Butterfly Fondant Cupcakes
These gorgeous little butterfly cupcakes are understated and elegant, and are perfect for special occasions like weddings, birthdays and christenings. You can keep the colour scheme all white or use pastel or bright colours for a different effect. They might look complicated, but are actually easier than you think. Follow our step by step guide and you’ll have a batch of professional looking cupcakes to be proud off.
To decorate your cupcakes you’ll need the following equipment and ingredients:
- Sugarpaste (either white or coloured)
- Icing sugar
- Sugar florist paste (gum paste)
- Butterfly cutter
- Silicone rolling pin
- Circular cutters (approx 5mm larger than the top of your cupcakes)
- Blunt table knife
- Piece of A4 cardboard
- Edible glitter or shimmer (optional)
Making the butterflies
It’s best to make your butterflies first as they’ll need to dry out overnight. Although very simple to make if you know how, floppy and broken butterflies are pretty common if you’re not using the right tools or techniques. A great tip is to use sugar florist paste (also known as gum paste) to make your butterflies from. Although ordinary sugarpaste mixed with a little CMC (also known as Tylo powder) will work, your butterflies will be much more prone to cracking down the middle and you’ll need to use twice as much sugarpaste than florist paste.
Sprinkle a little cornflower onto your work surface and get your rolling pin at the ready. Take a small amount of florist paste – about half the size of a golf ball – and roll it out until it’s really, really thin. When making sugar flowers it’s necessary to roll your florist paste out until it’s almost see through, however it’s best to have it just a tiny bit thicker when making butterflies. Then take your butterfly cutter and cut out as many butterflies as you can from your piece of florist paste.
Next, you need to make your butterfly drying wrack. Take your piece of A4 cardboard and fold it in half lengthways right down the middle. Then, fold either side back on itself. If you look at the end of your cardboard it will almost be forming the shape of the letter W – giving you two groves to place your butterflies in to dry overnight.
Keep rolling out your florist paste and cutting out your butterflies until you have enough. As they’re so fragile when dry, make sure you make quite a few spares as well.
Decorating the cupcakes
Next, you can start to top your cupcakes. To make the beautiful little dome shapes, you first need to make a little mound of buttercream. Take a small amount of buttercream, around two heaped teaspoons, and place it on top of one of your cupcakes. Then take your blunt kitchen knife, just an ordinary dinner knife is perfect, and run it under a hot kitchen tap. Use your knife to move the buttercream around the top of your cupcake until you’ve formed a little smooth dome. Keep running your knife under the hot tap to keep your finish smooth. Try not to push too much buttercream to the edge of your cupcake or it’ll all stick to the tops of your cupcake case and get a bit messy. Just use a paper towel to tidy things up if necessary. Do this to all of your cupcakes.
Then it’s time to make your fondant tops. Roll out a piece of sugarpaste onto a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. It needs to be fairly thin, around 3mm thick. Don’t roll out too much at once, just enough for three or four cupcakes as you don’t want the sugarpaste to dry out too much. Then take your circular cutter and cut out just one circle. Carefully lift it up with a palette knife and place it on top of one of your buttercreamed cupcakes. Carefully smooth the sugarpaste over the top of your cupcake with your hands. Make sure your hands are clean and sprinkled with icing sugar if they’re quite hot. Press down the sides of the sugarpaste against the top of the paper case.
You many need to experiment a couple of times with different sized circular cutters to get the perfect fit. The size of the round cutter you’ll need all depends on the size of your cupcake cases and the amount of buttercream you add to the top of your cupcakes. With just a few minutes of trial and error you’ll easily work it out.
It’s best to leave your fondant topped cupcakes to dry out over night before adding the butterflies, however if you’re pushed for time you should still get good results. Mix a little royal icing (just icing sugar and the tiniest bit of water) into a very thick paste – with the consistency of putty. Then use a bit of this mixture to stick your butterfly to the top of your fondant topped cupcakes.
You can make your cupcakes even more beautiful by sprinkling your butterflies with a little edible glitter or painting the fondant tops of your cupcakes with a little shimmer.