Confession time: This tutorial was updated (actually completely re-done is more accurate) as a result of my dissatisfaction with the first attempt. Honestly, every time I saw the thumbnail in my blog's dashboard I considered deleting the entire post. But I realized it wasn't that I wanted to scrap the tutorial all together; it was that I was frustrated that I hadn't gotten it "right." And I like to get it right, guys.
So I have completely re-done the tutorial, including better pictures and and instructions that have yielded a much cuter kitty cat cupcake:
If I am being honest, I still see all the imperfections when I look at these cupcakes. But everyone else thought they were adorable, so I'm trying to keep in mind that I am never satisfied. Maybe one day I will step back from a finished cake project and be happy with it? (Ha. Fat chance!)
I've decided to keep the original intro to the post because I want to remember how the project came to be in the first place. After all, that was my purpose for creating this blog in the first place...
So here goes: Fondant Kitty Cat Cupcakes Tutorial, Take 2!
My little niece turned 5 last month. I mean, how is this even possible?! She’s going to kindergarten in the fall. I used to teach Kindergarten. I know how “big” kids that age are. I want to cry. These kids are all growing up without my permission I tell you.
She’s an animal lover, that one. It sorta runs in the family. So she requested white, black, and orange kitty cats. With purple cupcake holders. Check, check, check, and check.
She later clarified that she’d like for the kitties to be calico (striped). Um, not check. I am not capable of making fondant stripes look good. (YET!)
But I took to Pinterest for inspo and came across these darling cupcakes. Aren’t they perfect? Now that’s professional.
If you have a little kitty cat lover in the family you’d like to make these for I’ll break everything down step by step for you later in the All the Details section. The very brief overview is just below in The Short and Sweet section.
The Short and Sweet:
1. Frost cupcakes with about a quarter sized dollop of frosting.
2. Cut circular pieces of fondant and cover the frosted cupcake.
3. Roll out and use a small circle cutter to make the mouth pieces.
4. Use small heart cutters to make the ears.
5. Then use the small circle cutter to cut and roll into a ball the nose, and eye pieces.
6. Finish by using the small circle cutter to cut and then roll out the pieces for the whiskers.
All the Details:
1. Gather your materials.
2. Prep the fondant.
Divide the fondant into 3 balls. (Behind the food coloring there are the vinyl food safe gloves to keep the food coloring from staining my hands.) Coat the gloves in shortening and then get to coloring, lightest color to darkest.
First set aside some white fondant and seal it in one of the plastic baggies.
For the orange cupcakes grab a piece of fondant and add just a drop to make the light orange color.
To make the dark orange color add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring. It will darken a bit as it sits, so start out with just a couple of drops for now. You can always add more coloring later on if you need to.
Set the two shades of orange fondant aside in a sealed plastic baggie, making sure they don't touch each other because they will stick together.
Time for the gray fondant. add one, maybe two, drops of black food coloring to a ball of fondant to achieve a light to medium gray color.
For black you can stick to just black food coloring, or you can add some cocoa powder for a true-er black. The cocoa can slightly dry out the fondant and require just a little more shortening, but it's no biggie.
Seal up the gray and black fondant in a plastic baggie until you are ready to use them.
3. Prep the cupcakes.
Add about a quarter-sized dollop of frosting to the center of the cupcakes. I kept mine in a covered cupcake carrier until I added the fondant to them to help keep the frosting from setting.
4. Cover the cupcakes in fondant.
Wohoo, let the fun begin!
Again, I like to start with lightest colored fondant first and work my way to darkest, especially if one of those colors is white. White will pick up the tiniest piece of color left behind and ruin the design. Trust me, it’s a bummer. But white is harder to photograph for wannabe-photogs like me, so I am going to use the orange kitty cats as my example here.
Grab some of the dark orange fondant and roll it out. Because I suck at rolling out anything evenly, I used the orange rings from my large fondant roller as guides. Whether you use guides or not, aim for about 3/8" thickness.
Use a round (or scalloped, as you see here) cookie or fondant cutter that is just a little larger than the top of the cupcake you want to cover. Mine was about 2.5".
Carefully use the paddle shaped tool to lift it up.
And place it on top of the cupcake. Cup your hand and gently push down in the center so the frosting spreads out to the edges but doesn't splooge out the sides.
Use your fingers to help the edge of the fondant and the cupcake wrapper meet.
Gently run your finger over it to flatten the top.
5. Make the mouth.
Roll out some light orange fondant and grab the 1.5" circle cutter to cut a circle.
Use the fondant cutter or the paddle tool to cut it in half.
Then, roll each piece into a ball.
Press each ball into the inside of the molding cup. If you don't have a molding cup the inside of a small drinking cup might work.
Basically, you are trying to flatten the ball while allowing the top to retain a rounded shape.
Place the piece on the cupcake, just below halfway down and just off-center. Press down to secure.
Now do the same for the other mouth piece.
6. Make the ears.
Grab a small heart cutter and cut two pieces out of the light orange fondant for the ears.
Cut off the top rounded parts of the hearts, making each piece a triangle.
Clean up those scraggly edges by just pushing up against them until they are straight again.
Place the ear near the top of the cupcake, a little off-center. Ideally, resting the bottom of the ear on the cupcake liner to add a little stability.
Try to flop the tip of the ear over and outwards just a bit for a bit of movement.
Repeat for the other ear and you’re almost there!
7. Make the nose.
Roll out a small piece of the dark orange fondant, cut one small circle using the 0.5" cutter, cut it in half, and roll one piece into a ball.
Use a modeling tool to make a dent next to the top of the mouth piece for the nose to rest in.
gently pinch one end of the nose...
Set it in the dent you made, with the pointed part pointing down towards the mouth.
Use the paddle tool to gently push it towards the mouth piece, securing it.
Gently squeeze the mouth pieces together and up.
Use the flat edge of the paddle tool to make grooves for the whiskers to lay in.
You'll need 2 on each side.
8. Make the eyes.
Take that modeling tool and make divots where the eyes will go. Not too close together or it will look funny. Aim for the divots to be centered over each side of the mouth piece. This helps keep the eyeballs in place instead of rolling right off the nice, rounded dome of the cupcake.
Roll out a little bit of white fondant. Wipe off the edge of that small circle cutter to make sure there's no other colored fondant on it. Cut out a circle, cut it in half, and cut one of the halves in half again.
Roll each of the two small pieces into a nice ball and set them into the eye sockets you just made..
Use the paddle tool to gently push them down into place and reshape them if need be.
Now take the tiniest bit of black fondant and roll it into two small balls for the pupils.
Carefully set them right in the center of the white eye pieces and use the paddle tool to press into place.
So cute, almost done!
9. Make the whiskers.
Last step, here we go! Roll out a small black piece of fondant, use the small cutter to cut a small black circle, cut it in half, then in half again (making fourths.)
Roll each of the four pieces into balls.
Then roll them into snakes, worms, ... whatever they look like to you.
And place them in the grooves you made on top of the mouth piece.
Press down near the center of the mouth to secure.
Add the other whiskers and you have a sweet little kitty cat cupcake that the kiddies will adore!
The white and black cupcakes are made following the exact same steps.
You may be wondering what I did with the other half of the batch of cupcakes? I just piped a simple swirl with a round tip.
What it Costs:
My total was so cheap because I made the frosting and cupcakes from scratch. It significantly lengthens the time of the project, but really makes a difference in cost.
I did not include the price of the tools pictured, because they were all either gifted to me or I invested in them quite awhile ago. They have paid for themselves at this point. But I'll help you out find 'em if you're interested in getting your Cake Decorator badge. From left to right we have the fondant roller (I was too lazy to search for my 9", so pictured is the 20". Either will work.), scallop cutter (part of a set), modeling tools set (discontinued- probably because they have better ones available now), tip (part of a set) and reusable piping bag, food coloring, and silicone mat. I recommend collecting coupons and heading over to Jo-Ann's to check for everything first. I am fairly certain you will have to get the scallop cutters and silicone mat elsewhere, though.
Overall, a pretty cute project. And not all that difficult. Just a little more time consuming than I thought it might be. Then again, cake decorating always is. And stopping to snap a picture every step of the way probably played a part in that...
If you've made cute kitty cupcakes I'd love to know how it went and what you did. So please post in the comments if you've got some knowledge to share!
Happy cupcake decorating, friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!
You may want to check out these other cake decorating projects: