These polar bear cupcakes, designed by our cupcake queen Victoria Threader, are easier to make than they may look. Using ready-to-roll white fondant icing and sugar pearls, these cupcakes are a great way to practise your cupcake decorating skills. The vanilla sponge recipe is so simple to make so you can spend more time on the decorating and less time on the baking. Practise makes perfect, so practise your polar bear making on 2 of your cupcakes and the 10 leftover can be your mini masterpieces that you treat your friends and family to come Christmas day. The ingredients for the toppers can be found in most supermarkets in the baking section. You can make mini versions of this design to have a mother polar bear with her babies.
- For the cakes:
- 150g self-raising flour
- 150g butter, room temperature
- 3 medium eggs, room temperature
- 150g sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 30ml milk, room temperature
- For the buttercream:
- 100g unsalted butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 1tbsp milk to loosen if necessary
- For the toppers:
- 400g ready to roll white fondant
- Pack of icing (red, green and black)
- Black sugar pearls
- 1tsp gum tragacanth, optional
- Dusky pink petal dust
- You will also need:
- Circle cookie cutters 78mm, 3cm
- 2 cm heart cookie cutters
- Palette knife
- Water bush for sticking
- Knitted embossing sheet (optional)
- Curved nail scissors
- Soft brush
To make the scarves:
- The morning before you want to make these cupcakes, you will need to add ½tsp of gum to the red and the green fondant if using.
- The night before, roll long strips of the green fondant out to 1/8 of an inch thick and do the same with the red fondant. Cut thin strips of red fondant and lay them across the thicker green strip for the scarf. Pop the embosser (is using) over the top and roll over with a rolling pin to create a knitted look. Cut to size and stick together with a brush of water, one onto the other at an angle and trim the ends to give them tassels. Leave these to dry overnight on a large drying sponge or greaseproof paper (do not put them in an airtight container).
For the cakes:
- Preheat your oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Line the baking tray with 12 muffin cases.
- Beat the sugar and butter with the vanilla essence until light and fluffy.
- Add 1 egg, 1 third of the flour and a splash of milk and beat until just combined and repeat until all the ingredients are combined.
- Divide the batter between the 12 cases and bake for 20-25 mins. Remove and cool in the tins for 10 mins before moving to a wire cooling rack.
For the buttercream:
- Add all of the ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth.
- When the cakes are cool spread the buttercream onto the tops, making sure you don’t ice up to the papers or the icing will squish out the sides of the fondant.
To make the toppers:
- Stick the pre-made scarves into the icing. Do this one at a time as you do each cupcake.
- Roll the white fondant out to 1/8 of an inch thick and cut 12x circles with the 78mm cutter. Place over the scarves on the cupcakes smoothing the edges with your fingers.
- Using the curved nail scissors, snip into the fondant, by pushing the tips into the fondant, snipping and pulling up as you take they out again. Repeat until all the tops are furry.
- From the black fondant, roll long thin sausages and place them on the faces to make the smiles, the black is usually quite sticky but if need be use a touch of water to stick.
- Cut 12x 2cm hearts and stick above the middle of the smile.
- With a dot of water, push two black pearls in above the noses for the eyes.
- Using the remainder of the white fondant cut 24x 3cm circles for the ears. Stick in place with a brush of water.
- Using a soft brush and some dusky pink petal dust, dust the cheek to give them a winter glow.
If you can't find any coloured icing in the supermarket you could use food colouring instead and knead into white icing.