January has been one heck of a chilly month where we are (so far without even a light dusting of snow though… boo) filled with frosted look cakes, crisp white sprinkles and fondant snowflakes a-plenty. Even though winter doesn’t actually end until around March 19th the approach of Valentine’s Day is a welcome break of warming golds, reds and pinks! To get everyone ready for the big day we planned out this ridiculously cute cupcake tutorial a few weeks ago. Say hello to Ginger and Cream (yes we named them); two adorable little love cats that are utterly perfect for Valentine’s Day cupcakes and even cakes. If you think they’re cute already wait until you see the image below… wait for it… OK you can scroll down now.
Love cats Valentine cupcake tutorial!
Yup. What did we tell you? Don’t say you weren’t warned. How sweet are those fondant tails that curl to form a heart? The most craziest thing about them is that with a little time and our step-by-step tutorial they’re actually pretty easy to make… Cats included, of course.
Our top-super-essential-ignore-at-your-own-peril piece of advice for anyone wanting create sugar based characters, models and even flowers is to make the time. Don’t rush or delude yourself into thinking 10 minutes before work at 7am will do it. No way. As easy as any tutorial may be it still takes time because less time = stress and what does stress lead to… a mess! A couple of characters for us can take anything from 30mins (for one of our popular cat figures) to 3 hours. Seriously. So take it easy. Set up your work table, make yourself a cup of tea, and put on some music or even a film (if you’re lucky enough to have a great big TV right in front of you).
Materials and tools needed…
- Tinted or coloured fondant / sugar paste
- Small amount of pink fondant / sugar paste
- Tylo powder / CMC powder
- Edible glue
- Uncooked spaghetti sticks
- Cocktail stick
- Blade tool
- Veining tool
- Black edible sugar pearls
- Parchment or greaseproof paper
- Small ball tool
- Light pink edible blossom dust
- Food safe brush (a paintbrush that has only ever been used on food items)
One of the very first things you need to do is make your fondant / sugar paste more stable. Models and characters that droop or look misshapen can be the result of soft fondant that just can’t keep shape. Adding Tylo or CMC powder helps stop this. The recommended amount is around 1/2 a teaspoon for 250g of fondant, but we use around 1/4 a teaspoon with Satin Ice fondant for all our models (a full teaspoon to 1 1/2 for sugar flowers). The ‘marshmallowness’ and stretch of Satin Ice is just perfect for character, figure and flower work. Well, we think so anyway.
Here’s two tips for working with Tylo or CMC reinforced fondant… Once you’ve mixed in your powder leave the fondant / sugar paste to sit for around 2-5 minutes and it will firm up. The warmth of your hands when working with it will soften it so once you’ve made a piece (like a head or such) set it aside once any details or embossing etc is done.
Second tip? Sometimes we don’t measure the amount of Tylo or CMC we add to our fondant. Shock horror! It’s OK though we’ve been doing this for a while. Once you have too you’ll find that instead of measuring you’re going to start relying on the feel of things. With Satin Ice in particular we mix in Tylo or CMC until it reaches a gum-like texture and it has a distinctive dull snap sound when you pull it apart. Things like this is nerd-ily enjoyable for us… like whipping up bright white royal icing.
Once you’ve strengthened your fondant you can start making your cats! Yay! Our steps detail how to make one cat, but just repeat the process for the second. Roll some fondant into a smooth ball (with no creases or cracks… if you do get these keep on rolling that ball! The heat from your hands will help smooth everything out) around the size of a large marble.
For the muzzle take two small pieces of fondant and roll into small balls before attaching onto the front centre of your cat’s head with a dab of edible glue. Add whisker marks with the sharp end of a cocktail stick.
For the eyes use a small ball tool to indent the eye sockets. Sounds painful, but you’re kitty will be fine!
For the body roll out some fondant smaller than your cat’s head and smooth into a rounded triangular shape which will become the body.
You can use your blade tool to then add the impression of front legs. We angled ours into elongated lines that taper off slightly towards the bottom of the body.
Gently push a piece of uncooked spaghetti down the centre of the fondant body from the top. Make sure you don’t have too much sticking out or else you’ll drive it all the way through the cat’s head like a kebab. You want the spaghetti stick to fit around 2/3 of the way into the head.
Finish off some of your kitty’s facial details by adding black edible sugar pearls (or dragées) into the pre-indented eye sockets. Use a tiny amount of edible glue to really stick them in place. You don’t want to use too much of the glue or else you’ll have a goopy and messy looking cat!
The little pink heart shaped nose is a really sweet feature on these fondant felines! Take the tiniest amount of pink fondant and roll into a small ball. Pinch one end of the nose to form an almost triangle-like shape. Attach above the cat’s muzzle at the centre with some edible glue. Using your veining tool indent the top centre of the nose a little to create a notch. This will help mould a heart shape!
Take your cat’s head and attach it on top of the body via the inserted uncooked spaghetti stick. Add a little edible glue onto the stick too!
For the adorable tails take some fondant and roll it lengthways into ‘ropes’. Lay a piece of parchment or even greaseproof paper on a clean flat surface and whilst constantly checking if the tails match up next to the cats form both into inward curving shapes. When they are placed nest to each other they should match up into a heart shape! Leave to set for a little and when a bit easier and firmer to handle attach onto the back with edible glue!
To add a lovely pink blush to each cheek take a small amount of edible blossom dust in a light (non-shimmery) pink and gently dust in circular movements onto their cheeks. Remember to build the colour up and not add too much on to begin with! It’s oh so much easier to add colour than to remove it.
You can nestle your cats directly on top of a buttercream swirled cupcake. We opted to affix ours onto a fondant disc before placing them on top.
Voila! Two rather adorable little love cats perched on top of freshly baked cakes or even a single cake should be gazing over at you. They’re such as sweet and fun way to decorate Valentine’s Day bakes. You can even personalise them. We love the idea of a glistening deep pink fondant heart sat between them featuring a short romantic message or your sweetheart’s initials.