Thursday, 25 July 2013

Fondant Fancies Cupcakes

I know making these cakes in pink may seem a little unpatriotic right now seeing as Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge had just been born and everything, and I probably would have made a special blue one if I'd had some blue food colouring, buuuuut, I didn't. SO I couldn't. But it's ok because us Brits are sticklers for tradition (that easel, the however many gun salute, hordes of people lining the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the royal family) and what could be more British than a pink French fancy? I've loved these, as have many people, since childhood. When we opened a box for a family tea time, predominantly the pink ones were mine, the yellow ones were my brother Christoper's and the brown ones were Mum's. I don't remember which my oldest brother Richard or Dad had, I suppsose they had to make do with what was left but I do remember hoping that there would be a pink one leftover so I could have a second helping! Nowadays my favourite is the brown ones (more chocolately) but I still have a special loyalty for those little pink cakes so there was no other option for the colouring of these cupcake versions.

I got the idea for these when I was looking up afternoon tea things
on Pinterest. I admitted my new obsession with Pinterest in this post here and when I mentioned I had an idea I was desperate to try out this is it. I was looking at all these awfully pretty things and this idea popped into my head. I'm sure someone has done it before but nothing was readily coming up when I searched for it which made me want to try it out all the more. This is actually my second go at these because the firs lot I made a complete hash of. God, it's so embarrassing just to think about it. I was really stupid. They went wrong from start to finish. First the cakes shrunk aftre taking them from the oven, then the buttercream I piped on top looked like footballs and not Mr Kipling inspired at all, I made the fondant too sloppy and the wrong pink and to add insult to injury, the fondant was lumpy. Very lumpy. I had the brightspark idea of using the fondant leftover from the Christmas cake to make the topping expecting to be able to warm it in the microwave and get it to the right consistency. Don't do it. Just don't. It's awful and you will be kicking yourslef big time. I had wrapped the fondant up well and tight but it still went brick solid and I couldn't get the little dried bits out after I had thinned the majority down to make it runny. Never mind I thought, I can pick them off the cakes, so I perservered. After the second cake was covered I gave up entirely and just poured it on, ignoring the lumps and sent a text to my mum at work aplogising for the hideous cakes she was going to have to eat when she got back. I wasn't going to let a bit of sugar beat me though so I waited until I got a chance to go in for round two. I think I made up for it. They are just how I pictured them if I could have made them a little neater. Practice makes perfect though and all that. Unless I get another wonderful idea for fondant icing I'm going to have to make another batch anyway to use up the other half packet I've got because I'd rather it didn't go so rack solid and unusable again. Suggestions are welcome of course! 

Another reason why I was dying to make these was because the Alphabakes challege for July was to create something using the letter F. 

Seeing as 'fhocolate' isn't a real word and I wanted an excuse to make these anyway, the timing of finding out about the challenge couldn't have been better. I know I've cut it a little fine with entering seeing as the deadline is today but I couldn't have shamed myself any more by entering the catastrophe already mentioned. Alphabakes is a fun little challenge where each month a random letter is chosen and you have to bake something with an ingredient beginning with that letter or have a word starting with that letter in the title. You can read all about it here on co-founder Ros' blog The more than occasional baker and the other co-founder and the host for this month Caroline at Caroline Makes. It's a really good challenge and I can't wait for the surprise letter next month.

So here it is, a little bit of childhood reminiscence for grown ups. There has to be something good about adulthood an this is it. All the fun memories and stickiness of the original but in a larger size means the appearance of sophistication but with more cake!

Cake ingredients:
175g butter, very soft
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g self raising flour
25g cornflour 

Decoration ingredients:
250g white fondant icing
red gel food colouring
Apricot jam
40g butter, very soft
90g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 heaped tbsp icing sugar

Beat the butter with an electic mixer until really creamy then beat in the sugar until pale, light and fluffy like so:
 Set the oven to 190 C/170 C fan. Beat the vanilla and eggs into the buttery sugar a little at a time, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the sides regularly. If the mixture starts to curdle, mix in a spoonful of flour. Sift the flour into the bowl and gently fold in with a spatula or large metal spoon:
 Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases and divide the mixture evenly between them. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 mins until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean then remove and place on a wire rack for a few mins before taking the cakes from the tray to cool completely.
 When cool brush the cakes with a little apricot jam mixed with boiled water. Really the jam should be sieved first but if you can't be bothered like me then just avoid leaving lumps on the cakes. 

Squidge the fondant packet up a bit to make it nice and pliable. When I was decorating the Christmas cake last year I had to wrestle the marzipan packet off my brother because he was getting a bit carried away. He obviously thought it was Play-Doh.

Break little bits of fondant off and roll into balls. I used 6g pieces but that's because I'm pedantic.
Using a rolling pin or your fingers, flatten each ball out into a thin disc on a surface covered with icing sugar. Drape each disc over something so it forms a little hat shape e.g. the back or a spoon.

Make the buttercream by first beating the butter with the mixer until really creamy then mix in the icing sugar gradually and the vanilla. Continue beating until you get a pale and fluffy buttercream, similar to like when creaming the butter and sugar for the cake. Using a teaspoon, place a small amount in the centre of each cake. You won't need as much as you think and will most likely have leftovers which goes excellently with strawberries. I did start off using a silicone piping bag and small circular nozzle but after about the third one, the nozzle popped out along with a fat sausage of buttercream right onto the cake I was holding. I wasn't best pleased but at least I found it was just as easy to spoon the buttercream on.

Cover each blob of buttercream with a fondant hat and smooth it down so the jam holds it in place. If any buttercream squeezes out just carefully wipe it off and it will be fine.

Break the remaining fondant into lumps in a bowl and start to break them down with the mixer on a slow speed. It might jump about a bit and even escape the bowl but keep at it and it will eventually behave. Add a splash of water to help the process and a tiny amount of colouring. Continue mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl and adding water and colouring until you get the shade and consistency you want. It should be pourable but very thick.

Spoon the fondant over the cakes, encouraging it over the buttercream bumps so everything is well covered. Then mix the icing sugar and water together to get a similar consistency. It's easier to add a bit of icing sugar at a time. Keep mixing it together and it will suddenly go lovely and smooth. Put it into a piping bag fitted with a very narrow circular nozzle and pipe zig-zags over the cakes. Or any pattern you like really if you don't mind it a bit less My Kipling authentic.

Now it's time to bask in the delight of what you have produced. After all that effort relax...

...and enjoy!!



  1. I’m so pleased that someone had a go at making Fondant Fancies – after seeing them on the Great British Bake Off I realised they are actually very difficult! Thanks for entering them into alphabakes.

    1. I'm really glad you liked them and can't wait for the next alphabakes challenge =)

  2. I love these! i have never thought to make cupcake style one's before, Amazing!

  3. I love your take on fondant fancies - they look amazing! I've been wanting to make one ever since I saw it on the Great British Bake off but unfortunately have not gotten round to it yet. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes and I hope you'll join in this month - the letter is G .

    1. Thank you! I think GBBO has got a lot of people into wanting to make fondant fancies, there is something special about them I think. I've got some ideas lined up for this months AlphaBakes, just waiting for the right time. So many brilliant entries in July!


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