Fat Penguins Cupcake
- 1 quantity Buttermilk Cake
- 1 quantity Vanilla Buttercream (see below)
- Black food coloring paste
- Tiny white chocolate drops
- 4 oz. white, ready-to-roll fondant icing
- Yellow food coloring paste
- Red food coloring paste
- Muffin pan, lined with 8-10 paper cupcake liners
- Mini-muffin pan, lined with 8-10 paper liners in the coordinating size
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the Buttermilk Cake between the paper liners, filling them two-thirds full. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 12-25 minutes, depending on the size of the cakes – take them out when they are well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
2. Put two-thirds of the Vanilla Buttercream in a bowl and tint it black using the food coloring paste. Remove the paper liners from all the cold cakes and trim the top off each cake to make it level. Lay the larger cupcakes upside down and dab a little buttercream on the top. Lay a mini-muffin upside down on top of each larger cupcake. Spread black buttercream all over the penguins, leaving the area for the tummy unfrosted. Spread untinted buttercream into the tummy area. Press 2 white chocolate drops onto each penguin’s face for the eyes. Dab a little black food coloring onto the middle of each eye.
3. Take 2 tablespoons of the fondant icing and tint it yellow. Break off small nuggets of the icing and shape into triangles for the beaks. Stick one onto each penguin. Color half of the remaining icing black. Pinch off hazelnut-size pieces and shape and flatten into wings. Press one wing onto either side of each penguin. Use the remaining icing to make the ski caps. Tint three-quarters of it red and leave the remainder white. Roll and pinch the red icing into cones and bend the ends so that they droop. Roll the white icing into small balls and stick to the end of each cap. Carefully place a cap on top of each penguin.
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the side of the mixing bowl from time to time. Add the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and add to the mixture in alternate batches with the buttermilk. Mix until smooth, then turn to the relevant recipe.
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- A few drops of pure vanilla extract (optional)
Put the butter in a large bowl and, using a freestanding mixer or electric whisk, cream until really soft. Gradually add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat until pale and smooth. Beat in the vanilla, if using.
Credit: Holiday Cupcakes by Annie Rigg. Ryland Peters & Small, $15.95. Photo credit: Kate Whitaker