Easy Fish Cupcakes

Every bit as cute as they are easy to make, these sprinkle-covered fish are sure to swim right into your heart (and belly)!

Summer just wouldn’t be summer without a trip to the beach. And for those of us that live in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, it’s all about trading in our hot, humid days for cool, sea salt-filled breezes.

AND visiting shallow tide pools with colorful creatures, hunting for hidden glass floats and dazzling our eyes with brightly scaled fish at the aquarium.

Despite it’s name, those beautiful, iridescent scales were the first thing I thought of when I saw the new Dessert Rose Sprinkle Mix.

And who says you can’t have your beach trip and eat your cake, too? 

What you’ll need:
12 cupcakes
1 lb vanilla frosting
Blue gel food coloring
Black gel food coloring
Dessert Rose Sprinkle Mix
1/4 lb white fondant
Heart shaped cookie cutters in two sizes (I used 1 1/4″ and 1″)
Gold powdered food coloring
12 toothpicks
Parchment paper

Step 1: Make your fondant tail and fins

Start by coloring your fondant blue. On a powder sugar-dusted surface, roll out your fondant to about 1/4″ thick. Cut out 12 hearts of each size. Using the edge of the small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut the small hearts into tear drop shapes.

Using a ball tool (or your fingers), gently thin the rounded edges of the heart and the tear drop shaped pieces of fondant until they begin to curl slightly. Use a scribe tool or the un-serrated side of a butter knife to gently score the ends of the tail and fin.

Gently insert a toothpick into the center of the tails, making sure the toothpick doesn’t poke through the fondant. 

Add a little vodka or water to your gold powdered food coloring and brush it on the ends of the fins and center of the tails. Set the fondant pieces aside to dry until hardened (about 1 day).

Step 2: Prepare your cupcakes

First, make or buy your cupcakes and frosting. Reserve about a tablespoon of frosting and tint the remaining frosting light blue. Pipe a swirl of frosting onto the tops of your cooled cupcakes using a large, round tip (like an Ateco 860).

Cut out a small circle of parchment paper. Place the parchment paper onto the frosting so that it covers 1/4-1/3 of the top of the cupcakes. 

Gently press the tops of your cupcakes into the Dessert Rose Sprinkle Mix, rolling to make sure all the frosting is coated.

To remove the parchment paper, gently pull it up and around the top up the cupcake so that any frosting that sticks to it simply pulls up and back towards the sprinkles.

Step 3: Add the details

Pull a few of the white, round sprinkles out of the sprinkle mix. These will create the base for the eyes. Place one white sprinkle in the middle of the frosted area that was covered by parchment.

Tint your remaining tablespoon of frosting black and, using a small round tip (like a Wilton #3), pipe small pupils onto the white sprinkles. 

Insert the tails and fins and voila!

A few quick tips for cupcake-making success:

  • Fondant decorations, like the tails and fins, can be made well in advance of when you need them. Just make sure to keep them in a cardboard box or a paper bag. Storing them in air-tight plastic containers will cause them to get soft and sticky.
  • Need your fondant pieces to dry in less than a day? Knead a little tylose powder into your fondant and they should dry in under an hour.
  • Don’t have a scribe tool? Try the un-serrated side of a butter knife.
  • No ball tool? No problem! Try the round, handle-end of your flatware or use your fingers to gently work an indent into the piece of fondant.
  • A fluffy frosting pipes more easily than a thick buttercream. If you’re making your own, an Italian or French meringue buttercream works best. If you’re buying something from the store, try a “fluffy” vanilla frosting.
  • Fill that piping bag like a pro: Spoon your frosting onto a large piece of plastic wrap, roll and twist the ends. Trim one end so there’s about ½” in length, drop your frosting into the piping bag (short end first) with the tip already on and pipe!
  • Storing frosted cupcakes: While cupcakes are always best when eaten the same day they’re made, these can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

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