The Birds and the Bees!

I was recently asked to make some cupcakes for a baby shower. The theme was to be The birds and the bees and I was asked to create something to suit!

The brief was simple – to make some vanilla cupcakes and some decorations to compliment the theme.

Now on the surface this all seems straightforward, but I realised that this task would mean I would have to so some fondant work… (I did have a look at some baking supply websites but birds and bees were in short supply!)

Sugar work is still all new to me. I’m more of a sprinkles kind of gal when it comes to cupcakes, but I was ready to try something new…


I wasn’t really sure about where to start with everything so I had a rifle through some of my books and Martha Stewart didn’t let me down. Her Marzipan Bumblebees were just what I wanted and they seemed pretty straightforward to make.

I pretty much followed her instructions but instead created them from coloured sugar paste rather than marzipan. I also decided not to use almonds for wings (just incase there was anyone with a nut allergy!) but created them from more sugar paste.


For the birds, I knew that this would be a slightly more arduous task. Birds aren’t just fat and oval and much more detail would be required. Martha couldn’t help me this time but the Wilton website came up trumps.

The step by step guide was very helpful and I was impressed with the results. Not quite as polished or as cute as the Wilton ones, more Angry Birds but happy all the same…

Apologies for the bad photo - light was fading and I only had my iPhone!


After my first attempts at sugarcraft, the tips I have for anyone wanting to make their own decorative elements are:

  • Use cornflour rather than icing sugar to prevent sticking. Icing sugar will dry out the icing and make it crack
  • Keep referring to previous decorations to make sure size is consistent
  • Leave enough time for the decorations to dry, I only left them overnight and they still felt very fragile as I was placing them on the cakes.
  • Have fun with it!
I have also realised that I don’t actually have my go-to recipe for my simple vanilla cupcakes on the blog, so here you are. Don’t say I’m not giving!
Vanilla Cupcakes (Makes 12-15)
Adapted from Primrose Bakery Cookbook 

Ingredients

For the Cakes

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature

225g caster sugar, preferably golden

2 large eggs

150g self-raising flour, sifted

125g plain flour, sifted

120ml  semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature

1tsp good-quality vanilla extract

For the Frosting

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature

60ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature

1tsp good-quality vanilla extract

500g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180 dec C (160 deg C fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper liners

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy – the sugar should be fully dissolved.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition

Sift the flours into a separate bowl and pour the milk into a jug. Add the vanilla extract to the milk.

Add one third of the flour to the egg, butter and sugar mixture and fold together. Then add a third of the milk and combine. Repeat these steps until all of the flour and milk has been used up.

Ensure there are no traces of flour visible in the mix, but at the same time try not to overbeat the mixture, as you will end up with a heavy cupcake.

Divide the mixture between the cupcake liners and then bake in the oven for approx 18-20 minutes. Do check after about 17 mins though. They should be slightly golden and springy to the touch.

Leave to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a cooling rack.

For the buttercream, beat all of the ingredients bar half of the icing sugar until smooth, then gradually add the rest of the icing sugar. beat until light and fluffy.

Swirl or spread the buttercream into the cooled cakes.

Decorate with the fondant decorations / sprinkles!

Birds and Bees 2

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