For the Clone Wars section of the birthday party, (for the Phineas and Ferb themed cake, go here!) the hubby and I came up with the idea for upside down clone trooper helmet cupcakes. These cupcakes were the hit of the party with the five-year-old boy set, though I will warn you, they are a bit time consuming to assemble. But well worth it! So here’s how to do them.
Cupcakes: You’ll need good firm cake, similar to pound cake. Here’s the recipe I used. I don’t know if it was luck, or overfilling the cupcake cups, but this cupcake came out with a nicely flat top, which is exactly what is needed (for Storm troopers instead of Clone troopers, a rounded top would be better). You’ll need to make your cupcakes in a tall cupcake pan (like this one: Wilton 6 Cup Kingsize Muffin Pan) The cupcakes must be tall for this to work, so overfill the cups. Bake a few extra cupcakes or cake in any sort of pan, to use as cake ball mixture. Since you want smooth sides, don’t bake in muffin cups. Either grease and flour the pans very well, and/or line with strips of parchment paper (that’s what I did) to prevent sticking.
- Cream Cheese or Buttercream frosting, enough to thinly coat the outside of each cupcake (My recipe: Cream together 1 stick butter, 1 8oz cream cheese. Add 1 tsp vanilla, then slowly add 1 lb powered sugar, beat thoroughly)
- Marshmallow fondant. (Make this in advance – I’d go ahead and make the whole batch, that should more than enough for 1 dozen large cupcakes–probably enough for 24.)
- Food coloring: Black paste coloring is required, then whatever colors you want for decorations (blue, green, yellow are popular)
- Cornstarch (for rolling out the fondant)
- Extra cake/cupcakes, crumbled + extra frosting, for cake ball mixture.
- Optional: white tootsie rolls or other similar candy to reinforce the ridge on top.
- Drinking straw
- If your cupcake has a rounded top, trim it flat. then turn your cupcake upside down.
Using a sharp knife, trim out ‘cheeks’ on the side of the cupcake, as shown in the first photo above.
- The top of the helmet is rounded, and our cupcake is flat. So we need to add a little height. Crumble several cupcakes, and mix with icing (like your making cakeballs) until you can shape into a tablespoon sized ball that stays together. Press flat, and shape to the top of your head (see photo 2)
- Cover the entire cupcake (except the bottom) with a thin coat of icing.
[not pictured – roll a small 1/4in wide snake of kneaded tootsie roll (or other pliable, kneadable candy) and place on the top of the head, to help form the ridge on the top of the helmet.]
- Start with a ball of fondant about the size of your fist, coat it and the work surface and the rolling pin with cornstarch. Roll out a 1/8″ thick circle, about 3x taller and wider than the diameter of your cupcake.*
- Place your cupcake up on upturned glass about the same diameter as your cupcake. Centering your fondant over the cupcake, CAREFULLY drape. Let it sit for a while so gravity helps to stretch it around the cake to fit well, with minimal folding. Make sure the front and sides are smooth, then you can trim and remove any extra fondant from the back, making a seam. Pinch the fondant at the ridge to help define the helmet ridge on top.
Gently press in at the cheeks. For any excess on the bottom, trim to 1/2 inch, then tuck under the bottom of the helmet.
- Finally, add your finishing touches. Knead black and colored food coloring into your fondant, and roll very thin. You’ll be cutting it into shaped and adhering them to the face.
You’ll also add some white fondant. Add additional fondant to the ridge of the helmet if needed to enhance the look. Add strips to either side for the ear areas (I have no idea what to call it!). Press the end of a straw into the top of the ear sections to create the circle. (See photo at very top to see ear areas)
- Cut out your black eye/mouth section as shown in photo 7 (sort of a jagged hourglass). Dampen the back, and press on to your face. Then add colored fondant as decoration around the eye section, as stripes on the top of the helmet, and 1 or 2 chin stripes if desired. Just look at pictures of clone troopers for inspiration.
- Do not refrigerate, but store in a cool place. The fondant gets softer overnight, and I had a couple that fell over and had a few scars, which I patched over with icing. But be CAREFUL with them! (Note, when viewing the group photos, some of mine were done on cupcakes with rounded tops, and I don’t recommend that–also I was running out of fondant (I used more than I planned for the Perry Cake) so my later clone attempts are not as good as the prototype shown in this tutorial.)
Hope you enjoy this tutorial, and if you make these, I want to see!