I’ve always loved bumblebees and ladybugs. As far as bugs go, they’re pretty darn cute…for bugs. Plus, I think they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day.
To make these sweet little bees, you just need fondant and food coloring. Gel colors work best anytime, but especially with fondant because it’s a more concentrated color. It’s more expensive, but if you’re going to be spending a lot of time using fondant or decorating cakes, it’s worth the money. Just tint a small amount of fondant black, an equal amount yellow, and either leave a small bit white for the wings or tint it a color of your choice. I decided to go with light pink.
Roll out a small piece of black fondant relatively thin. Don’t worry too much about getting sugar on it, it rubs off easily. By the time you’re done decorating everything most of it will have brushed off on it’s own.
Wrap the stripes around the body of the bee, trim the excess off, unwrap the stripe and lay it backside up. Using a small paintbrush or a toothpick, paint a small amount of water across the back of each stripe to act as glue. Wrap the stripe back around the bee where you want the stripe to be. You can use a small piece of the excess for the bee’s stinger. Just pinch and roll it until it takes on a cone shape. Press one side down flat and glue it to the bee.
For the bees’ faces I used Wilton Food Writers. These are markers that use food coloring as “ink,” so they are safe to eat. There are other colors and shades, as well as different brands, but these are the most widely available.
Don’t they look happy? When using Food Writers, be careful not to smudge your writing or drawing. The color takes a while to dry, so I suggest doing your writing, then leaving the piece to sit and dry for a while.
I also made a little lady bug.
To make one yourself, start out with a ball of fondant just like with the bees. Shape it into a subtle egg shape, then lay it on a flat surface and gently press down to flatten one side. Now draw the details on with Food Writers.
To use your sweet bugs on a cupcake, just make your favorite recipe and cover with a thin layer of frosting.
Allow the frosting to air dry, then add more frosting to build up a small dome on top of the cupcake. If your recipe already baked up with a pretty dome, you can skip this step. After building up the dome, allow it to air dry again. Gently smooth the frosting by tapping lightly with your fingers to get rid of any bumps or lumps. If the frosting is still a little sticky, you can dampen your fingers lightly with water to prevent sticking.
Once your cupcakes are ready, roll out some more fondant and use a round cutter that is the same size as the cupcake top, or very slightly smaller, to cut out a disk for the top of the cupcake. If the disk is slightly small, you can gently stretch it to fit over the dome better.
At this point, you can emboss the fondant if you like. Here I used a clean rubber stamp (I only use stamps that have never had ink on them, just to be safe), but you can use embossing sheets or they sell tools specifically for embossing fondant. Place the fondant disk on top of the cupcake.
Smooth the disk over the dome of frosting so that it comes down to the paper liner. I like to put a little trim around the edge of the cupcake sometimes. You can make tiny little flowers and glue them on, or you can put a pretty ribbon of fondant around the cake. Here I used craft scissors to get a scalloped edge, but you can also get aWilton fondant ribbon cutter. Once the piece is cut, just use a small amount of water to glue it on. Now you can decorate with your bees, some flowers, and other pretty elements.
Next week I am posting another flower tutorial, this time for the little red rose seen on the cupcake to the left. Be sure to check it out, they’re easier than you think.
I hope everyone has a fun, sweet Valentine’s Day! Enjoy!