I have been best friends with Georgie for some time now. We have kissed the same boy (not at the same time I hasten to add, that’s not our thing), we have burnt our chests next to each other on holiday in Bulgaria, resulting in a stripy décolletage and we have, of course, compared childbirth notes. It’s easy and simple between us. It’s how it should be. NOTHING made me happier than when she announced she was returning to Leicestershire. Life is good with Georgie in town.
It’s her birthday soon and well, I made her some Octonauts cupcakes. Just to clarify, she’s no major fan or anything, but our kids were going to be at the early birthday lunch and they’re all Cbeebies supporters.
There’s no recipe here. (Just choose your fave cupcake recipe and your fave buttercream recipe to glue the toppers to the cakes.) Instead here are some thoughts and advice on my not so perfect Octonauts cakes. My first bit of advice is to cut out the discs of fondant icing the Octonauts will sit on first and then pop onto a big sheet of greaseproof paper. Be gentle as fondant icing stretches as you move it.
My second bit of advice is to take the time creating the colours for the Octonauts. None of my little creatures are anatomically correct but a 3 year old will forgive a lot if the colours are right.
Wash your hands after using black fondant. It gets everywhere. Peso (above) was pretty grumpy about his grey hat until I replaced it.
Professor Inkling (above) was made flatter than the other Octonauts. I think the bulbous heads make the others seem more real. Your call.
By the time I made Dashi (above) I was tired so I didn’t mix the fondant icing to the right hue. My 12 Octonaut cake toppers took me 3 hours from start to finish with a break for dinner. (I eat fast like a girl with 8 siblings sniping at her plate. I’m an only child so the frantic eating is unexplainable.)
I used water to stick all the bits of fondant together. You can use gin, vodka or icing glue. A paintbrush is handy with a steady hand too. And the fondant is pure fondant, no Mexican gum paste or the like mixed in. I use Covapaste for the white as I adore the texture and Renshaw for the colours. I don’t tend to colour my own fondant as I am a lazy girl. I buy from Cake-stuff.com but to be honest I am so not loyal as a customer – price is all and this is as good as I have found it. And yes I have made my own but in my humble opinion it’s just a faff.
I left the toppers to dry overnight on greaseproof paper and attached to the cake with a tablespoon of piped buttercream in the morning. Be careful when you press the toppers down as you don’t want them to crack. Apply pressure from the strongest, thickest part, the middle – and gently.
Beware that some 3 year olds can spot an inconsistency from 10 paces. Kwazii (orange cat thing) is wrong according to Charlie. He is of course right, his eye patch should run underneath his ears. Not into them. Silly Mummy.
Octonauts look so much better when boxed. All cupcakes do. Look at their uniformity! Look at their joy at being ready to Explore, Rescue, Protect! (If you don’t know what I’m on about then watch an episode on youtube, these guys are looking after the oceans for you. They are heroes.)
Oh and to push the little black eye balls down easily without pushing a nail into the rest of the topper, I use one of those white and yellow sugarcraft tools with a bulbous end. I get mine from eBay as they are cheap. Oh and the boxes are from Cake Boxes Direct – I am only telling you this as people often ask me and usually I can’t remember. I’m trying to be more organised about suppliers and sources at the mo as I have a sneaking suspicion it’s the main reason people read the blog. Paranoid, me?
You do not need to have flat cupcakes to make these cakes, but if you want flat cupcakes I always suggest to people to remove their raising agent, just use the Raising in Self Raising Flour and the power of your mixer and arm add the air. Bake at 180, middle of the oven and cross your fingers. If you still get peaks wait until the cakes are cool and snip off the tops with a pair of scissors. Then eat. Bakers perk.
When you close the lid cupcakes always look professional. Even disaster efforts. That’s the wonder of a cake box over a bit of Tupperware or a tin. And in the background you can see disposable icing bags from Lakeland (I like John Lewis too as they are a bit shorter and don’t flop into your cakes when you get to the end of the bag but they are more expensive) and also a swirly nozzle. The one in the pic is just a random swirly nozzle but the one you want for amazing ice-cream style Mr Whippy swirls is a Wilton 1M. I have found department stores like Fenwick the best place to buy these.
I hope this post is useful even if you’re not into Octonauts. I forgive you. If you have found it useful may I suggest you vote for the Great British Bake Off in this years Baftas? Just click here. And yes I know Sherlock was amazing. I loved it too. But surely you like cake better? Cumberbatch or cake? Discuss.