Koala Cupcakes



I first made these as a favour for James. "Lord, my publisher is flying over to Sydney tomorrow and it's his birthday. Any chance you can bake him a cake?"

These were the first time I'd made fondant cupcakes and they're not difficult at all, they just require some planning and organisation


I hope to have broken it down step-by-step well enough so that anybody can follow along!


Total time to make : 2 hours 25 minutes Time to prep : Base (15 minutes) Buttercream (10 minutes) Fondant (30 minutes)

Time to bake : 30 minutes

Time to cool : 1 hour

Servings : 12



Ingredients


Base

I used my banana bread recipe as a base, find it here

* minus the banana and demerara sugar as additional toppings


Buttercream (crumb coat)

125g unsalted butter, removed from the fridge to soften - but not quite room temperature (in Sydney, anyway!)

125g dulce de leche (I used a jar I got from Messina Gelato)


Koala Fondant

Black and white ready to roll fondant (mix yourself to make greys)

OR

Black, light grey (face) dark grey (inner ear) ready to roll


Cutters

Circle for face - I used 8cm

Scallop circle for outer ear - I used 4.5cm

Circle for inner ear - I used 3cm

Circle for nose - I used 2.5cm

Eyes - I used the end of a straw snipped off with a toothpick to poke through #tekkers


* you can buy sets of double-sided regular and scallop cutters (below) or buy all-in-one cutters (far right) from Lakeland Limited in the UK (thanks mum). All the cutters I used are bottom left (4 cutters + 1 straw/toothpick)





Method


Base

  1. Preheat oven to 150C *see 'good to know' below as the temperature differs to making the regular banana bread loaf

  2. Line a 12 - hole cupcake tray

  3. Mix the banana bread recipe together until it's combined in one bowl at the final stage

  4. I use a piping bag with the end snipped off (could use ziplock bag, see slideshow pictures below) - not essential but makes it a bit easier and neater to fill. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full to allow room to rise. We don't want the regular, very full and domed peak for decorating

  5. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle

  6. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool


Buttercream

  1. Using a standing mixer or electric hand whisker, whip the butter in a large clean bowl for a few minutes until it's pale and fluffy

  2. Add in the jar of dulce de luche and whip until just combined, stopping intermittently to scrape down the sides along the way

  3. If mixture appears to curdle, keep mixing on high speed for several minutes - it does come together!

  4. On cooled cupcakes, use the back of a spoon, palate knife or spatula to smear a thin layer of buttercream over the cupcakes. It doesn't need to be thick, but all of the cake should be covered. This is your crumb coat

  5. Place iced cupcakes in the fridge whilst you prepare the fondants


Fondants


I prefer having all the fondant shapes cut out and ready to go to make it easier, less messy and less stress-y. Work on a non-stick surface or cover a large chopping board with baking paper to stop the fondant sticking to the surface.


  1. If you're making your own greys, start with a small ping pong amount of black and mix into about 300g block of the white, add more as necessary until you get a light grey. You'll use this for the face and outer ears

  2. Take about 50g of the light grey and add another big pinch of black fondant, mixing together to make dark grey. You'll use this for the inner ears

  3. Reserve some unmixed black for the nose and eyes

  4. Remove cupcakes from fridge and begin to assemble

  5. Start with the large circle first to create the face and use a palate knife, back of spoon or flat regular knife to lay the fondant circle on top of the crumb coat. It won't be a perfect fit so use clean and dry hands to mould the fondant over the cupcake. You want to try and cover the cupcake top and crumb coat completely

  6. For the outer and inner ears, the circles are sliced in half with a sharp knife

  7. If helpful, mark out where to place the ears and eyes with small toothpick pricks

  8. Use a clean paintbrush or finger tip dipped into a little water and use this as a 'glue' to stick on the scalloped outer ear (you'll need less water than you think!) - wait until dry before repeating to stick on the inner ear

  9. For the nose, if you're using a circle cut out, you can make it an oval/teardrop shape by using a rolling pin to roll the top 2/3 of the circle away from you, making it into a droplet shape

  10. Use the water technique to stick down the eyes and nose

  11. Share and enjoy!



Nutritional Information


270 calories

4g protein, 42g carbs, 10g fat



Good to know:

  • The oven is purposefully set at a lower temperature to bake them 'slow and low', cupcakes should still rise and bake through but the top will remain smooth and flatter. We want a flat surface as it's better to decorate on. If your cupcakes have risen too much, you can use a sharp knife to slice the peaks off before you apply the crumb coat buttercream

  • The crumb coat is essential and works like glue to give something for the fondant to hold onto, it also stops loose crumbs from sticking to the fondant and gives a neater appearance

  • Cupcake tins, liners and sizes vary so it's best to buy a set of cutters rather than working with exact numbers here and buying them individually. They're generally very cheap and very useful! For the face, you want the circle cutter to be a perfect fit or a little bit bigger than the top of your cupcake so that it completely covers the crumb coat and 'tucks' it all in neatly

  • For 'fur' textures, I prefer to mix two colours together (white and black to make grey) as the final grey will have darker 'flecks' through giving it a more fur-like finish

  • Of course, the base recipe and buttercream can be swapped to whatever flavours you like

  • Best made in steps, the cupcakes can be made up to 3 days ahead (and freeze/defrost exceptionally well), buttercream frosting can be stored for up to a month in the fridge. Fondant does not keep well in the fridge so should always be the very last step, though shapes can be rolled out in prep, wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature in a lined airtight container for up to 1 month

  • Once assembled, keep at room temperature (not in the fridge) in an airtight container, best consumed within 2-3 days




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