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Tattoo Cupcakes

Extract from The Painted Cake • By Natasha Collins • Published by Murdoch Books


$ $ $ $ $
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The Painted Cake

Tattoo cakes have become quite fashionable for couples who are looking for quirky individual wedding cakes. It would be a ‘piece of cake’ to create a striking cupcake tower using these tattoo hearts as toppers for such a joyous event.

You could make a single cake to give to your own special Valentine. The wording on the topper can be changed to make it relevant to any celebration or event. Do an online search for ‘free tattoo font’ and you should be able to find a choice of fonts that you can download for non-commercial use at no cost. Print out your message using your font (in the size required) and trace it onto the banner first, or dive right in and paint it freehand. Don’t be too concerned if the letters aren’t painted perfectly — it is a tattoo design, and shouldn’t look as if you have printed the letters on.

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© 2023 Natasha Collins / Murdoch Books · Reproduced with permission. · The Painted Cake by Natasha Collins (Murdoch Books £16.99). Photography: Nathan Pask.
  • Step 1

    Traditional Sponge Cake cupcake recipe

    1 Cream the butter and sugar together, for at least 5 minutes with an electric whisk or mixer. The mixture should become noticeably paler and take on a fluffy appearance.
    2 Add the eggs one at a time and beat them in well. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a dessertspoon of the flour and beat again
    3 Add the vanilla extract and mix well
    4 Seive the flour into the mixture
    5 Use a large spoon to gently fold in the flour
    6 Stir in enough milk to make a soft batter. It should be able to drop off a spoon fairly easily, but don’t make it too runny.
    7 Divide the mixture between the 12 cases placed in a 12 cup tin- the mixture should come to between half and two-thirds of the way up the side of the case.
    8 Bake for 15-20 minutes at 190c/375f/Gas 5. The cake is ready when a cake tester or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
    9 Brush them with a warm sugar syrup as soon as they come out of the oven. This will help keep them moist.

  • Step 2


    Cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until the mixture is really light and fluffy. Colour to a bright red with the edible food colour paste.
    Place a large star-striped nozzle in a piping bag, and then fill the bag two-thirds full with buttercream.
    Hold the top of the piping bag firmly and pipe a small star of butter cream in the centre of the cake. This is to give the swirl you will create some height.
    Starting at the edge of the cupcake, pipe in a spiral, moving towards the centre of the cake, building up around the star you first piped. At the top, release a pressure on the bag to form a point.

  • Step 3

    Tattoo cupcakes

    1 Colour 2¾ oz/80 g of the modelling paste red. Roll it out to a depth of roughly 1/16"/2 mm. Cut out 14 hearts (two are extras in case of breakages).

    2 Roll out the remaining ¾ oz/20 g of white modelling paste to 1/16"/2 mm thickness. Use a scalpel to cut around the banners.

    3 With the size 8 brush and neat red, on one side of the heart paint a line 
of shadow. Paint the black outline with the size 0 brush. Leave a small gap between the edge of the heart and the black line.

    4 Using the size 4 brush and the blue paint, add in the shadows on the banner.

    5 When the blue shadow is dry, you can trace the lettering onto the banners, or you can paint the letters freehand. Then paint the outline of the banner.

    6 Leave the elements of the toppers to dry overnight, preferably on a foam mat. Then glue the banners onto the hearts.

    7 Roll out the remaining red modelling paste to 1/16"/2 mm thickness. Cut out 14 rectangles that measure ⅝ x 1 1/4"/15 x 30 mm. Paint one side of the rectangle with glue. Do not use too much glue, as it will take longer to dry.

    8 Turn the tattoo hearts over and place a cocktail stick on the back of each one. Then place a rectangle over the stick and gently press down so that it holds the cocktail stick firmly in position. Leave the hearts upside down until the glue is dry; store in a non-airtight box until the cupcakes are ready.

    9 To serve, gently put a heart in the centre of each cupcake swirl.

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