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.
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I suppose it had to happen. Very-nearly-three-year-old Milly has announced her first boyfriend.
It’s Captain Barnacles of the Octonatus.
Looks like I need to stop practicing the requested for party Hey Duggee birthday cake fondant characters and work on my Kwazi and Peso…
Uh oh – this spells trouble! Better press the Octoalert! x
I constantly spent my half an hour to read this website’s content every
day along with a mug of coffee.
Hi Holly, your cupcakes are beautiful! Now i’m so inspired to make something similar soon!
Just wondering, when you place the dried fondant toppers on the buttecream, did the flat discs stay hard all the way? I’m read some blogs that mentioned if no tylose powder was added to the fondant, it may start to soften on top of the buttercream.
Hi, can you tell me which colours you used in fondant icing?? I am a total novice but always ice a cake for my little girl and this year I want to put the octonauts on (eek) I want to make a Kwaazi, Peso and of course Captain Barnacles for my daughter’s third birthday in 2 weeks.
Gosh I’m really sorry but I made this over a year ago so have no idea what colours I used. They were all from Sugar Flair and I just added a bit of different colours until I was happy with the shade. Sorry not to be of more help. xx
My son is a massive fan so I will be making these at the weekend. I thought you were fabulous on the Great British Bake Off – totally inspiring thank you.
Ah – thanks very much! Hope you enjoy making them. Take a while but the designs aren’t too hard after the first couple. xx
These are amazing! Would you be able to confirm the sugar paste colours you used for the discs and the darker blue for the hats? It’s hard to work out the colours when ordering online and I want to have a go at making these for my son’s 2nd birthday.
Hi, it’s the very bright blue I started with and then added colours by trial and error to make the octo colours. Think it has details in the post. Xx Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
That’s great, thanks.
On GBBO week 6 ( patisserie ) There was a little sketch/video of you and your son baking. I was wondering where you bought your muffin/cupcake pan and also the gorgeous curvy tray it was sitting on! I am so rubbish about identifying makes of products that are on TV. Hope to find out the makes soon so that I can buy both. Ps. When is your Ebook coming out as i cant wait to buy it!
Wow! These are incredible!! I’m so impressed by your precision – I don’t think I’d have enough patience…
They are brilliant Holly!! My favourite is Peso, so cute! I definitely recall your advice about the darker colours transferring.
P.s. I voted for the Bake-Off! *fingers crossed*
The black fondant is very naughty for it! I had a few grey eyeballs before I was through! Thanks for voting. Xx Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
Wow what a great job you did, very impressive.
I can sympathise with kids picking out the minor details…I got in trouble yesterday for getting Percy and Henry mixed up (Thomas the Tank trains)…gah, 2 year-olds know eveything.
Percy and henry confusion is a sigh-able offence in this house. I understand. X Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
I am SO impressed. THREE HOURS. 3 hours? They are a thing of beauty, your friend, your kids, their kids will remember them forever. But 3 hours? You must have dreamt octonauts that night. Love your Peso (he’s my favourite).
Well making cakes is kind of my job…. x
Regarding the kmix stand mixer what colour do you have? This may sound a bit exesive but I allready have a kitchenaid too. What are the advantages of having a second freestanding mixer? Don’t worry I am not just thinking of randomly buying another stand mixer as i do bake a lot.
I have the red one as I love the colour red! Advantages of having a second freestanding mixer? Hmmm… unless you’re baking LOADS there’s very little reason. I have one at the cookery school and one at home so I don’t have to lug one about every time I teach. Nice to have if you’re making HUGE batches of macarons or bread dough but otherwise stick with one. They take up so much room don’t they?! xx
Holly, What type of freestanding mixer do you have ( I kind of mean the silver one in the oconauts cupcakes in the box photo). I allready have a kenwood kmix but would love to hear what you have. Also where do you buy your’e cupcake casses!!
Freestanding mixers – I have two, a regular Kenwood and a Kenwood K Mix. I have used Kitchenaid on the Bake off too and there’s little in it but Kenwood rules for me. Cases are from the same place I buy the cupcake boxes. xx
Wow they’re amazing! They look perfect to me! My 3 year old son would love them. I’m quite new to baking so might be ready to do these in a couple of years! I love the idea of using gin to stick them together :-) x
these look amazing…you have so much patience – I would’ve given up after 20 minutes!
These look fab, I so want to given them a go. However, I fear my efforts may not be met with sufficient ‘ooh’s and ash’s from the toddler contingent as it’s all about Peppa Pig in this house, although Chris and Pui (Show Me, Show Me) are aver close second ;-)
I love these! Really interesting post too x
Also, See the modeling tools that you use at your cupcake classes, Where do you buy them!
They are lovely!!! Holly where do you buy your cake boxes and see the round cutter you use for the fondant do you prefer metal or plastic!! Thanks Matthew :)
Matthew – the details of where I buy the cake boxes from are in the post. Metal/plastic – don’t care really for cutters.
I can’t believe you’re making us choose between cake or Cumberbatch – can’t we have both? A Cumberbatch cake? Or Cumberbatch IN a cake? Now there’s a thought…
Love the Octonauts cupcakes :-)
If I weren’t taken I’d make it my business to hunt that Benedict chappie down!! I understand your conundrum but really, this is serious. You get one vote. Use it wisely. x
Cumberbatch cake?? Sounds good! x
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