November 23, 2012 by another1bitesthecrust
So…I found these cute ladybug cupcakes on Pinterest and just couldn’t resist trying them myself.
I got some malt balls, store-bought black piping gel, black candy melts and M&Ms and set to work.
This project was pre-“make my own icing” days, so I bought some Betty Crocker white buttercream frosting. One thing I discovered, though, is that when you over-mix canned frosting and try to add a bunch of color, the consistency changes for the worst. It becomes far too runny and thin for icing and will just melt all over the place. Definitely make your own frosting, you can control the consistency and there are no preservatives!
While the cupcakes were baking, I melted the candy melts in a disposable decorating bag with a round decorating tip (maybe a 4 or 5? I can’t remember…). I piped out some curly antennas onto some wax paper and let them harden. I made quite a few extra which turned out to be genius because some of them broke as I tried to put them on the cupcakes and some were just plain ugly!
Trying to get the icing to be true red was impossible. No amount of red coloring would get it there so I had to settle for “watermelon pink/red” lady bugs. I keep reading that it takes a ton of coloring to get icing and fondant red. My best advice: buy black and red fondant pre-colored; you get a true rich color without staining your hands.
After icing the cupcakes, I added a malt ball to the side of each one – this is where I think the biggest issues were. The malt balls are very large and quite heavy and seemed way out proportion with the cupcakes. By sticking them on the “side” of a the cupcake dome, they teeter precariously between sticking to the icing and rolling off from their delicious chocolately mass…I couldn’t find smaller ones so maybe next time, I will cut about 1/4 to 1/3 of the malt ball off and stick the flat side to the cupcake.
Our overly-large-headed lady bugs got their black stripe next. This part was easy, just a quick zip down the center with the black piping.
By now the antenna were hardened and cooled. I quickly figured out that the best way to get them to stay was to pierce two holes in the cupcakes directly behind the malt ball and push the antennas into the holes. They are pretty brittle and a lot of them couldn’t take the pressure of being pushed in. The other danger is that if your hands start to get warm, they start to soften.
Finally, I placed 2 or 3 black M&Ms (logo-side down) on either side of the black stripe to create the polka dots and voila! Cupcakes and icing are great on their own but malt balls and M&Ms are a nice bonus!