Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Dove Cupcakes

Merry Christmas everyone! I'm late with this post but these were just too pretty not to share. You can also make these Christmas Dove cupcakes for your New Year's celebration. Just change out the fondant ribbon and flower color combo to gold and silver or use blue for the flowers. Or just switch up the colors for your favorite combination.  You get the idea.

I love the idea of serving peace doves to bring in the new year.

I was inspired to make these after seeing this version from Alan and Karen of Hello Cupcake!  I immediately wanted to make my own version with of course lots of glitter. A fair warning -their version is much easier to make and take a lot less time than mine. 

To cut some corners time wise (Also if you want to make them for this evening), use a cake mix for the cupcakes, canned frosting and store bought fondant. I usually don't roll that way. Everything I create is homemade. However, I know how hectic it can be this time of year so everyone gets a pass.

If you do have some time to make your own fondant, it's worth it because it's so much cheaper than the store bought version and it tastes better. You can color and flavor it however you like.

The doves take some time to create. My initial idea was to create 12 doves for 12 cupcakes. However, I realized to maximize the effect of the cupcake platter as a whole, it would be better if the the doves stood out. This is a case of less is more. Also, (yay) less time to complete the project.

Instead of creating an entire flock, I made four doves. For the rest, four cupcakes were topped with flower garlands on top of the imprinted fondant. The remaining four cupcakes I left with just the pearl dusted imprinted fondant toppers. The overall look of the 3 diverse cupcake styles working together as a decorative theme was lovely and it beautifully showcased the doves. 

These gorgeous cupcakes are worth the effort and will bring lots of ooh and ahhs from your family and guests. If you don't have time to whip these up this year, bookmark them for next year's holiday celebrations.

Christmas Dove Cupcakes

You will need:
  • 12 cupcakes (halve your favorite cupcake recipe)
  • Small batch of white buttercream frosting (recipe follows)
  • Fondant (homemade marshmallow version recipe follows)
  • Fondant imprint stamps (If you have any unused decorative ink stamps lying around, you can use those. If you don't have any stamps, leave out this step in the instrcutions below, the cupcakes will still turn out lovely.)
  • Angel wings cookie cutter (If you don't have one, free cut the wings with a small knife)
  • 2+3/4 inch Round cookie cutter  (with or without a fluted edge. Your choice. Use a glass if you don't have a cutter.)
  • Mini Flower cutter (also cut out free hand with a small knife if you don't have one.)
  • Paste food coloring (I used Wilton's Black, Gold, Pink and Willow Green)
  • Small and medium sized paint brushes
  • 1/4 cup vodka or any clear drinking alcohol 
  • Petal dust - White Pearl color
  • Disco dust - Rose , Apple Green & Rainbow White colors.
  • Edible gold dust
  • Sugar pearls (I used light pink but white ones would work as well)
  • Small sharp knife
  • Rolling pin
  • Vegetable shortening

Step 1) Make the cupcakes. Use your favorite flavor cupcake recipe. My go to is Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cupcake recipe. I halved the recipe to make only 12 cupcakes. Make sure you let them cool completely before decorating them.

Step 2) While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the Fondant (see recipe below). Color a handful sized portion each pink and teal for the flower garland. Then a US quarter sized portion black for the eyes and double that amount gold for the beaks.

Step 3) Make the buttercream (see recipe below which is a half batch or halve your favorite recipe.) Cover the finished buttercream with plastic cling film, pressing it into the surface of the frosting. Leave it covered until ready to use. 

Step 4) Make and decorate the fondant tops for the cupcakes:

Roll out the white fondant. Use the round cutter to cut 12 shapes (1 per cupcake).

Use the fondant imprint stamps to press in designs on each of the fondant circles. 

Use a pastry or butter knife to coat the tops of the cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Leave a 1/4 inch border from the edge of the cupcakes. You don't need a lot of frosting for this so don't pile it high. Place the fondant circle on top of the cupcake and press gently to adhere, making sure the fondant topper is evenly placed on the cupcake. When all the cupcakes have been covered, the next step is to coat them with the pearl petal dust.

Pour the vodka or clear drinking alcohol into a small bowl. Dip a medium sized paintbrush into the vodka, then into the petal dust and spread the dust over the fondant circle until it is completely and evenly coated in the pearlized petal dust. When all the topper have been pearlized, move onto the doves.

Step 5) Make the Doves:

Body + Head: Break off a small handful of white fondant. Roll and knead it between your hands until it is malleable. Use some extra vegetable shortening to make the consistency pliable.  Shape the fondant into a short thick roll. Then mold one side thicker than the other. Use your fingers to form 1/4 of the roll into the head and smooth the rest into the dove's body shape. 

Wings: Roll out a portion of white fondant and use the angel wings cutter to cut out a set of wings. Cut the piece in between the two wings to separate them. Use the knife to score the tips of both wings to resemble feathers. Gently smooth the wings onto the side of the dove. Press to adhere. Use some vegetable shortening to adhere them if the fondant is not sticky enough.

Tail: Cut out a fan shape from the white rolled out fondant. Score the fan part with the knife to resemble feathers. Adhere the tail to the dove, gently smoothing it with your fingers. Use some vegetable shortening to adhere them if the fondant is not sticky enough.

At this point I used one of the fondant stamps to press a design into the back of the dove between the wings.

Beak: Roll out two very small pieces of gold tinted fondant about 1/8 inch long. roll one end of each into a point. Press the non pointed ends together, leaving the pointed ends separated, and adhere to the front of the head to create a beak. Use a dab of vegetable shortening to affix, if needed. Make sure the beak is not too long or thick or your dove will end up looking like a white crow.

Eyes: Make two very small round balls out of the black fondant and press into each side of the dove's head. I accented the eyes by rolling small pieces of white fondant into very thin strips and adhering them over each black eye. 

Gently coat the underside of the dove with a very thin layer of vegetable shortening and place it on top of a covered cupcake. 

Dip a medium sized brush into the alcohol and into the white rainbow disco dust and cover the entire dove (except the beak) with the dust.

Dip a small brush into the alcohol and then into the edible gold dust and carefully paint the gold onto the dove's beak.

Step 6) Make the flower garland:

Break off a piece of the green tinted fondant and roll it into a long string. Place the middle of the green string into the beak of the dove. Place each side of the string on the tops of the cupcake on either side of the dove. Use a dab of vegetable shortening to adhere the garland to the top of the cupcake, if needed.

Break off a piece of the pink fondant and roll it out. Cut out 2 flowers with the small flower cutter. Place the flowers on the garland, one on each side of the dove. Use a dab of vegetable shortening to adhere the flowers to the garland, if needed. Press a sugar pearl into the middle of each flower. 

Dip a small brush into the alcohol and then into the pink disco dust and carefully paint the flowers.

Dip a small brush into the alcohol and then into the green disco dust and carefully paint the dust onto the green garland.

Step 7) Make the garland cupcakes:

Make the garlands as described above. But make them twice as long and make three flowers instead of two.

Lay the garland down on top of the covered cupcakes. Loop them around to create a design. Press the flowers in whenever you like and press the pearls in. Cover the flowers and garland with disco dust as described above. 


For the vanilla Buttercream (half batch):

  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • Place butter, 2 cups of the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a mixer and cream together.
  • Add the rest of the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until combined. If the mixture is too liquid in consistency, add more powdered sugar.

Homemade Marshmallow Fondant:

  • 1/2  bag (1/2 pound) marshmallows (minis melt easier but you can use regular sized ones as well.)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 pound of powdered sugar
  • Crisco or shortening
  • plastic wrap or cling film
  • Gel or paste food coloring
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Cover the inside of a heat safe bowl and a wooden spoon with vegetable shortening.
  • Place marshmallows and water in the bowl.
  • Microwave the marshmallows for 30 seconds at a time stirring the mixture in between with the wooden spoon.
  • When the mixture is the consistency of Marshmallow Fluff, stir in 3/4 of the powdered sugar one cup at a time.
  • Cover your work surface with powdered sugar and cover your hands with vegetable shortening.
  • Dump the fondant on the sugared surface and knead the rest of the sugar in.
  • ALTERNATIVELY: Transfer the melted marshmallow mixture into the vegetable shortening greased bowl of your stand mixer, add the powdered sugar and use the dough hook attachment (coat the hook with vegetable shortening as well) to knead the fondant. 
  • Separate the fondant into different parts and color as desired by adding a few drops of gel colors at a time and kneading it in until the color is evenly distributed and you get the color you want.
  • Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap until you use it.
  • Wrap leftover fondant tightly in plastic cling film and store in a zip lock bag.

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