My friend’s little girl is obsessed with Peppa Pig! So, for her fourth birthday, the whole family travelled over from Guernsey for a holiday on “the Mainland” culminating in a two-day visit to Peppa Pig World. First though, they visited us here in Bath, so I decided to make some Peppa Pig cupcakes (and, as my rhubarb in the garden was ripe for picking, some rhubarb crumble muffins) to welcome them!
I had a quick flick through Pinterest for some inspiration and as I didn’t have loads of time, I decided to keep it reasonably simple: decorating 6 cupcakes with the Peppa theme and 6 with a simple pink rose swirl.
I made the Peppa cupcake toppers the night before making the cakes: this allows the icing to dry and firm and means that it is less likely to absorb the moisture from the buttercream and go floppy! Getting the right thickness is difficult – mine were too thick! I’d probably aim for about 1-2mm thick. For the images on top, I used cutters from this set.
This set is fantastic! I have a rather huge collection of fondant cutters and plunger cutters, but this set is the one that I use time and time again! I don’t have a set of number cutters (must buy some!) so I cut the number fours from a triangle of icing.
As the cakes were for a four-year-old, I decided to go for a very simple vanilla cupcake, filled with raspberry jam to liven them up and help them last a bit longer. Adding a filling like jam to cupcakes not only boosts the flavour, but it also helps to increase the life of the cakes: as the cakes age, they tend to dry out a bit and so the jam adds moisture.
The final result: well, the Birthday girl loved them (and so did her mum!), which was the main thing! For me, they weren’t the best thing that I have ever made – the red outline on Peppa doesn’t quite work right – it should be pink (but I don’t have a pink food colour pen!) and the blue disks were way too thick! However, the cake was light and fluffy and tasted good – which is the main thing!
Vanilla cupcakes with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream
- 110g butter, at room temperature
- 225g golden castor sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 150g self-raising flour, sifted
- 125g plain flour, sifted
- 120ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tblsp raspberry jam
- 110g butter, at room temperature and very soft
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 60ml milk
- Pink paste food colouring
- Preheat oven to 160C/350F/GM4.
- Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy this will take at least 5 minutes with an electric hand mixer – don’t rush this stage).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition. It should result in a lovely light mousse-like mixture.
- Combine the two flours in a separate bowl.
- Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug.
- Add one third of the flours to the creamed mixture and stir gently to combine.
- Pour in one third of the milk mixture and stir gently.
- Continue to add flours and then milk mixture alternately, stirring gently after each addition, until all have been added.
- Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases, filling to about 2/3 full.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. The cakes will spring back lightly when touched, if cooked.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes, before carefully placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the cakes are in the oven, make up the buttercream:
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar until smooth.
- Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Put buttercream into a piping bag with a large star nozzle.
Once cakes are cooked and cooled:
- Use a tea spoon to cut a cone out from the centre of the cakes.
- Cut the top disk off each cone and retain.
- Fill the hole in each cake with a teaspoon of raspberry jam and then replace a cake disk onto each cake to seal the hole.
- Pipe rose swirls onto all of the cupcakes.
- Top cakes with a Peppa disk.
Peppa-themed cupcake toppers
- Pale blue, yellow, pink, red and white fondant icing
- Black writing icing / black food colour pen
- Red food colouring
- Pink food colour pen
- Roll out the blue fondant icing to 1-2mm thick and cut out 6 circles with a 75mm round cutter.
For the sun cupcakes:
- Roll out the yellow fondant to about 1mm thick
- Cut out two 25mm circles and 16 small rectangles.
- Use a paintbrush and a very small amount of tap water to stick the suns to the blue disks.
For the cloud cupcakes:
- Roll out the white fondant to 2-3mm thick.
- Cut out two flowers and then carefully roll over each flower in one direction with a rolling pin.
- Use a number or a letter cutter to cut out an age or initial.
- Use a paintbrush and a very small amount of tap water to stick the clouds to the blue disks and then the numbers to the clouds.
For the Peppa cupcakes:
- Roll out red fondant to about 1mm thick.
- Cut out two triangles.
- Use a circle cutter to cut off one corner (to sit the head on) and to round off the opposite edge of the triangle (to sit against the side of the blue disk).
- Repeat for the second triangle
- Roll out pink fondant to 1mm thick.
- Cut out two ellipses.
- Use a knife to turn the ellipses into Peppa heads (whistle-shaped!)
- Use a paintbrush and a very small amount of tap water to stick the red dress shapes to the blue disks and then stick on the Peppa heads in the correct position.
- Roll four very small balls of pink fondant and flatten each slightly.
- Stick these flattened balls in place as ears.
- Roll very thin sausages of pink fondant and then stick in place as arms.
- Use the pink food colour pen to outline Peppa’s head and ears, and define the nose, nostrils and mouth.
- Add eyes with the black food colour pen.
- Dilute a tiny amount of red food colouring in a tiny amount of water.
- Using a paintbrush, use this diluted food colouring to paint on Peppa’s flushed cheeks.