Guide for The Vintage Christmas Cupcake Course

I always think it’s important to use quality ingredients for cupcakes as it does have an impact on the taste and texture. This is the basic sponge recipe that I use for 12 normal size muffins:

  • 6ozs Caster Sugar – always try to use the superfine

  • 6ozs Lurpak unsalted butter

  • 3 Large free range eggs

  • 6ozs SR Flour which I always sift even if it says you don’t have to!!

For Lemon cupcakes I add some lemon juice and two level dessert spoons of good quality lemon curd to the caster sugar and butter mix.

For Chocolate cupcakes I add some Hershey or Barry Callebaut chocolate syrup to the caster sugar and butter mix. To the flour, I just have 5ozs of SR flour and then add 1oz of very good quality cocoa powder – Barry Callebaut is my favourite and you can buy that in Makro. If you want Chocolate Orange cupcakes then you can add some good quality orange flavouring to the caster sugar and butter mix. You can always add some chocolate chips to the flour at the end for an added chocolate treat! Again, Barry Callebaut is my favourite.

Using an ice-cream scoop ensures equal portions in each cake. I always bake my cupcakes at 160 degrees and ¾ way through cooking turn the muffin tin round. I don’t like to say how long they take as ovens vary so much. Generally between 15

to 20 minutes. When the cakes are taken out of the oven remove them immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.

You need to leave for at least a couple of hours before decorating. If you are leaving overnight, don’t leave them in an airtight tin because sometimes the cases can peel. I always store mine in the cake boxes and leave in a cool room.

For the Buttercream

  • 250g Unsalted butter [at room temperature]. Lurpak or President butter will give a

  • very pale, almost white buttercream

  • 500g Icing sugar

  • 15ml Milk

  • 1tsp Vanilla extract

Beat the butter thoroughly on its own then beat in the icing sugar, a little at a time on a low speed. Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat the mixture on high speed for at least 2 minutes. The more the mixture is beaten, the lighter and smoother it will become. If the mixture is too sloppy, add more icing sugar. If it is too stiff, add a little more milk. For piping purposes, you should be able to stand a dessert spoon up in the buttercream.

Cake Decorating

Colouring fondant or florist paste

  • select a colour

  • place a cocktail stick in the paint and put a tiny amount in the centre of the fondant. It is better to add a little because more can be added. Using your hands knead the colour into the fondant ensuring it is evenly distributed and there are no streaks. Try not to get paint on your hands but if you do, don’t worry as it will wash off

Preparing the cupcake

  • Spread some buttercream on the top of the cake – this acts as glue and so it needs to be quite thinly spread

  • You need to select the fondant that does not have florist paste added and roll out on a mat. You can colour it if you wish.

  • Select the right size cutter to fit the cupcake, and cut out a circle

  • Gently press on to the cupcake trying to ensure that there are no finger marks etc

Vintage Cupcakes

The inspiration for this set of cupcakes came from browsing Victorian Christmas Cards on Google Images. I decided to use the traditional colours of green, gold and red but any colour scheme can be used. The common theme is a circle of foliage – it is always important to consider how each cupcake will complement the others when designing a group. The cupcakes are decorated by using half and half which has been coloured using Pro Gel.

Scottish Reindeer

You need a tartan pattern printed on an icing sheet. This pattern was found on Google Images under ‘Vintage Tartan’. It was printed on a 2” circular icing disk – 12 to a sheet. A very thin disk was made by rolling out fondant and cutting a circle the same size as the disk. Put a small amount of glue on to the fondant topper and then place the tartan on top. This needs to be done while the fondant is still soft as excess can be trimmed using sharp scissors. Affix to the top of the fondant-topped cupcake with a small amount of edible glue. Using coloured fondant, roll out thinly and cut out the reindeer which is then affixed to the tartan topper using a small amount of edible glue.

Using gold coloured fondant, roll out a number of small balls. Try to make them the same size. Place these, using edible glue, round the edge of the cupcake, making room for an alternative coloured ball which in the photo is green. Like the gold balls, affix the green ones with edible glue.

So that there is a nice finish between the edge of the cupcake and the tartan topper, using half-and-half red and a button mould, make some very small buttons. These can then be affixed with edible glue on top of the balls.

To complete the cake, dot small gold pareils here and there to give a nice finish. These are very small and the best way to apply them is to dip a brush in the edible glue and pick one up out of the pot. The brush helps you deposit the pareil in the right place.

Royal Gold lustre dust can be used to give a golden glow to the balls and buttons. Just place a small amount [using a paintbrush] on to a piece of kitchen towel and then gently brush where required. It is important not to have too much dust on the brush when doing this.

As an alternative, you could use bows, ivy, or small flowers instead of the balls and buttons. It would make a lovely cupcake for a Winter Wedding.

Santa Hat Wreath

This cupcake would look brilliant with a number of embellishments such as a red post box, candle, wrapped parcel, Christmas bauble etc etc.

The fondant has been coloured gold – the same gold as the balls on the previous cake to maintain the colour palette.

The Santa hat is made from red half-and-half. Starting with a ball, with your thumb and middle finger, form a cone. Make sure the hat remains smooth – if cracks appear, redo. Bend the end of the cone over to one side and flatten the bottom so that it will sit on the cake. With the evil tool, make two marks where the cone bends. Using a contrasting half-and-half paste roll a small ball for the bobble. Using the small end of the ball tool, make a small indent at the end of the hat. Place some edible glue in the dent and affix the bobble.

For the bottom of the hat, roll out a thin strip of fondant. Start with a small ball and place this on the palm of one hand. Use the middle finger of the other hand to roll the ball into a thin strip. Place on the hat using edible glue. The finished hat can then be placed on top of the cupcake using edible glue.For the edge of the cupcake you need a number of holly leaves, cut using the smallest plunger cutter. Half-and-half paste coloured green is used for this.

Roll three larger red balls for the front of the cake and place these in situ using edible glue. This gives you the starting point for the gluing of the holly leaves round the edge of the cake. It is a good idea to do this as soon as the leaves are cut as they can follow the cake round. Make sure the leaves are overlapped. Place a couple of leaves at the front of the cake, hanging down from the larger red balls.

Then roll out small balls of red and affix in places round the wreath using edible glue. As with the previous cake, dot gold pareils here and there to give a more luxurious feel and also dust with the Royal Gold powder.

Embossed Stencil Cake

The cake is fondant topped. Half and half paste has been rolled out over a stencil and a circle the size of the cupcake has been cut out. After being left for a few minutes, it has been sprayed with PME gold spray. When spraying you can decide if you want it very gold or in the case of this cake, a light spray has been applied to give a vintage look. After drying for about ten minutes, the topper can be affixed to the cupcake using edible glue.

The golden holly leaves have been made using half-and-half paste which has also been sprayed gold. These are placed at the top of the cupcake using edible glue.

The edging is more simple – just a single holly leaf interspersed with a rolled red ball. It is better to affix the leaf when just cut to ensure a smooth flow round the edge of the cake. Use Royal Gold lustre dust to complete the effect.

You could dome the cupcake by placing more buttercream on top of the sponge and covering this with a thin layer of fondant. The sprayed embellishment could then be placed on top when soft. Instead of the golden holly leaf, you could make the top of the bauble.

Red Poinsettia Circle

It is also good to find different ways of using flower cutters. These small poinsettia flowers are made using the four petal cutter in the set provided with the course.

Using half-and-half coloured red, cut out a number of flowers. Place on the foam mat and with the shell tool, press gently on each petal of each flower. Using the small ball tool, press quickly in the centre of each flower. Pinch the ends of each petal to give a pointed end. Using a small amount of glue, place one flower on top of another, making sure that the petals are not directly on top of each other. Roll a small golden ball and with a hint of glue, place in the centre of the flower.

You will need 6 flowers and so 12 have to be cut.

When made, arrange them in a circle, affixing them to the cake using glue.

The leaves are made from the large five petal cutter using green half-and-half paste. Just cut each petal using the evil tool and affix them on to the cake by each of the flowers. Use the evil tool to make a mark down the centre of each of the leaves. 

Roll out some small green balls and place these around the wreath with some gold pareils. Complete the effect with gold lustre dust.

A bow can be made by rolling out a thin strip of gold and arranging it in a bow. The small ball tool can be used to emphasise the two bows either side. The evil tool can be used to make creases. Alternatively a mould can be used.