If you have every looked at a cake (or cupcake) decorated with fondant and thought, “Wow, I wish I could make that,” I’m here to tell you, you really can. Especially this project.
After making those Kitty Cat Cupcakes for my niece a couple of months back, I had been jonesing to make their companions; these sweet little puppy cupcakes:
They were so much fun! They came together really quickly and they were considerably less fussy than the kitty cats.
Cake decorating with fondant is so much easier than you’d think. And it takes cake from just a simple dessert to a tasty celebration piece! Not to mention it’s so much cheaper than buying from a bakery.
Basically, it’s an all around win for creative, budget conscious types such as myself.
These cupcakes are so easy that I would even go so far as to say they are the easiest fondant project I’ve ever made. There’s really only a few pieces to the design and they are really easy to place.
Working (and I use that term loosely) with fondant is like playing with edible play-doh. Especially if you use the store-bought fondant, which I highly recommend. I recently became a store bought convert and I’ve gotta be honest, I’m annoyed that I let my stubborn, cheap self talk me into homemade marshmallow fondant for so many years. I felt like a total pro working with the pre-made stuff!
It holds it’s shape better, it’s less floppy, less sticky, and if you buy it with a coupon at your craft store, it’s actually about the same price or a little cheaper as homemade. The only drawback is that it has a longer list of preservatives than the homemade variety, which is why I stuck with my homemade fondant for so long.
But no longer! I have embraced the fact that in order for a home cake decorator to get professional looking fondant decorations that hold their shape, store bought fondant is the answer. Trust me, I have the fails to prove it.
So let me show you how to create these cute little cupcakes, step by step!
First, let’s talk about supplies. Then we’ll move on to the directions, and we’ll finish up with a breakdown of the cost and a few tips to keep in mind.
Supplies and Tools
For these sweet little puppy cupcakes you’ll need:
- about ½ a package of store-bought fondant
- ¼ batch buttercream frosting (I use the Wilton recipe, sometimes substituting shortening for butter)
- 12 cupcakes
- black and orange food coloring (I use this brand and LOVE it)
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- food safe gloves (optional)
- piping bag and tip (optional)
- small fondant roller
- fondant cutter
- ½”, 1.5”, and 2.5” circle fondant cutters (which are basically the same as cookie cutters)
- forming cup (optional)
- modeling tools (this is the set I have)
- some sort of rolling pin guides (mine are the orange rings) (optional)
- a silicone mat
- cocoa powder (optional)
- 3 small plastic baggies
Prep the Cupcakes
1. Fill a piping bag with frosting and put a dollup of frosting the size of a half dollar on the center of the cupcakes. If you have never filled a piping bag, don’t worry. It’s not scary at all. Here’s a quick video. If you just have no interest in tracking down bags and a tip, just go ahead and use a butter knife. Just make sure to keep it in the center only so it doesn’t come over the sides later on.
Prep the Fondant
2. Time to color the fondant. Take about half the package of fondant and divide it into three portions; one each for white, orange and light orange, and gray and black. I have found it’s easiest to start with the lightest color first, then work your way to the darkest. Set aside one of those portions aside in a sealed plastic bag for the white puppy and white features.
3. Put on those food safe gloves to protect your hands and add a dab of shortening to keep the fondant from sticking to them. Pull away a small amount from the portion of fondant that will be orange, and add just a tiny drop of orange to it. Mix it together until there are no streaks of color and there’s no food coloring on your gloves.
4. Now take the rest of that portion set aside for orange and add two hefty drops of food coloring to it. Mix it up in the same way. Something to think about; as colored fondant or frosting sits it will darken up a little bit. You can always add more later, so start out slowly when custom mixing your colors.
5. Store the colored fondant in a small plastic baggie. You’ll want to make sure they are not touching because they will stick together. This helps keep the fondant fresh until you are ready to roll it out and use it.
6. Pull off a portion of fondant reserved for gray and add a small drop of black food coloring to make a light to medium gray.
7. Grab the rest of the fondant reserved for gray and add plenty of black food coloring. I also like to add some cocoa powder for a true-er black...
8. Store the gray and black fondant in a small baggie as well.
Cover the Cupcakes
*Just as with coloring the fondant, I recommend starting with the lightest color and progressing to the darker color(s). But white can be hard to see in tutorial pictures so I’m going to show you each of the steps with the orange fondant.
9. On a silicone mat roll out a small ball of the darker orange fondant to about ⅛” thickness. I am using the orange rings from my larger fondant roller as guides because an even roll still alludes me. Pie crust, cookie dough, fondant - you name it and I cannot roll it out evenly without a little help.
10. Use a cookie/ fondant cutter to cut a piece of fondant that’s just slightly larger than the size of the top of the cupcake. In this case about that was about 2.5” and I didn’t have a regular circular cutter that size, so I grabbed one of my fluted circle cutters.
11. Use the flat paddle-like modeling tool to gently lift the circle up off the mat.
12. Gently place the circle on top of the cupcake and gently push down. I like to sort of cup my hand over it so the middle remains a bit higher then the edges and the frosting can sort of ooze the the edges more evenly without squirting out the sides.
13. Then gently push the edges down to meet up with the top of the cupcake liner. Or as close to that as it can get.
14. Look at that; we’re already on our way.
The Fun Part: Make the Puppy’s Face
15. Grab a piece of the lighter orange, roll it out, and use the circle 1.5” cutter to cut a piece for the snout.
16. Use the flat paddle tool again to lift it off of the mat and place it just a bit lower than center of the cupcake.
17. Use your finger tips to help make it round again if it got a little stretched out during transport.
18. Roll out another small bit of the light orange fondant and cut another 1.5” circle. Then take the small fondant rotary cutter and make a curved line through the center that sort of resembles the yin and yang symbol. These will be the ears.
19. Pick up one piece with the more narrow part on top and the wider part on bottom
20. And gently pull on the top and bottom to stretch it out just a bit.
21. Then place it on one side of the cupcake, about half on the cupcake and half hanging over the edge. Press down gently, especially towards to top of the ear, to keep it in place.
22. If it looks a little short, you can stretch it a little more. It should come down about halfway to the middle of the snout piece.
23. If it droops a little just gently push up on the part that hangs over the edge of the cupcake.
24. Add the other ear and you’re on your way!
25. Time for the nose. Take a small amount of black fondant, roll it out, and use the ½“ circle cutter. Take the paddle tool and slice that circle in half, then slice one of the halves in half again.
26. Roll the larger piece (the half) into a nice little ball.
27. Press it into the flower mold so that it flattens a little, but is still a little curved.
28. Set it down towards the top and middle of the snout.
29. Take two tools and use them to squeeze the nose piece on each side at the same time. This makes the nose look more like a puppy’s and less like a bear’s.
30. Gently use the paddle tool to press the nose into place.
31. Now grab those two small black pieces (the ¼ pieces of the circle) and roll them into balls for the eyes.
32. Using a modeling tool poke some divots in the fondant just above the snout on either side of the nose. Try and keep them pretty close to the snout, not too far up on the puppy face. It looks much cuter that way.
33. Drop the eyeballs in those divots and gently press them into place with the paddle tool.
34. Now for the mouth. The last feature! Roll out another small piece of black fondant, cut another ½” circle, cut it in half, cut one half in two pieces (making fourths), and cut one of those fourths in two (making two ⅛ pieces).
35. Take those two ⅛ pieces and roll them first into balls.
36. And then into worms. Or sticks. Or whatever they look like to you.
37. Use the paddle tool to lift one of the pieces off the mat and set it on one side of the puppy snout. Try and get it really close to the nose without actually touching it.
38. Use the tip of your finger to gently curve the end up and round it a bit. Don’t press it down yet, because you need to place the other half first.
39. Place the other half of the mouth piece... this time do try to make it touch the bottom of the nose piece. Also, get it right next to the first mouth piece you placed.
40. Use your rounded stick tool to push the tops of the mouth pieces together so they look more like one piece than two separate pieces laying next to each other. You can also use that rounded end of the tool to make the curved part of the mouth pieces more even and symmetrical.
41. Gently use the rounded tool to push down the mouth piece into place.
Ta-dah! You did it!
Now just repeat 11 more times and you’re done! (I promise, they start to go a lot faster once you know what you’re doing.)
For the white-faced puppies I recommend the light gray fondant for the snout and ears.
And for the gray-faced puppies I would go with white fondant for the the snout and ears.
That way the eyes, nose and mouth are black for all the puppies, which is what I think looks best.
It keeps them looking similar, like they belong together.
But this is your masterpiece, so you get to make the call.
And if you do make them, I would just love to see how they turned out! (You can email me or tag me in your Instagram post!)
A Few Tips
Fondant will actually hold it’s shape better if it’s left uncovered at room temp until it is ready to be eaten. Covering it makes the fondant sag and refrigerating it brings a lot of moisture to the surface, which can discolor the fondant and make it wet. No bueno.
According to my research, fondant covered cakes and cupcakes will keep for 24-48 hours this way. I try to stick to the 24 hour mark, though, because the cake itself will start to dry out.
When making fondant decorations, especially faces, size and symmetry are important. If your project isn’t looking right, try addressing those two things. It’ll make a big difference.
I use gel food coloring because it’s a lot easier to mix into fondant than liquid food coloring. Plus there are more color choices. But, liquid will work if you don’t have the time or desire to track down gel coloring.
Well, there ya have it: fondant puppy cupcakes that even a cake decorating novice can pull off. Careful, though. Cake decorating is really addicting…
Happy cupcake decorating, friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!
Here's a few other posts of mine you may enjoy: