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This article was taken from our March 2015 Issue Buy this issue now

Free Hand-Painted Hot Cross Buns Tutorial

Sarah from The Chocolate Strawberry is a self-taught cake artist that creates beautifully simplistic, elegant and unique cakes. From cupcakes to wedding cakes, fondant decorations to to hand painting, Sarah also teachers and has appeared on Channel 4’s Kirsty Allsop’s Handmade Christmas. Sarah takes us through this easy tutorial, showing you how to make this realistic hot cross bun cupcake!

Equipment required:

  • One cupcake
  • Buttercream
  • Round cutter – slightly larger than your cupcake
  • Icing smoother
  • Gel colours – yellow, ivory, dark brown and black
  • Vodka
  • Paintbrushes
  • Edible glue
  • Palette
  • Craft knife
  • Edible glaze spray

Pre-colour fondant in the following colours

  • Ivory
  • White with a little yellow added
  • Dark brown
  • Black

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Step 1

Roll out your ivory coloured fondant and cut out a circle. Place buttercream on your cupcake and build it up with a palette knife to create a dome.

Step 2

Place the ivory fondant on your cupcake.

Step 3

Smooth the icing over the cake with the smoother, adding pressure where the fondant meets the paper case. The paper will soon start to cut through the fondant. TIP: Foil cases are not good for this as they get squashed rather than cut the fondant.

Step 4

Peel away the excess fondant with your fingers or the craft knife.

Step 5

Smooth around the join for a neat finish.

Step 6

Using a paintbrush, mark a guideline for where you would like your cross to sit.

Step 7

Then, use your fingers lightly to create lumps and bumps and make the cake look less perfect, just like the real thing. Hot cross buns are not perfectly round.

Step 8

Make a thin sausage shape of the very pale yellow tinted fondant with your hands. Then, use the smooth to roll it again to get a very clean, even finish.

Step 9

Place this onto the cupcake where your guidelines are, secure them with a little edible glue or water and cut off any excess.

Step 10

Gently flatten these rolls with your smoother onto the cake.

Step 11

Mix up a very pale colour wash of ivory paint with your gel colour and vodka. Paint the whole cupcake.

Step 12

Mix another slightly darker wash and go over the top of that, starting from the cross and working down the cake. Stop just short of the paper case. On a real hot cross bun, the bread would have cooked more at the top, so needs to be darker.

Step 13

Wash another darker coat over the top, again stopping slightly higher than your last coat. 'Dabbing' brush strokes help make it look authentic. If you put down too much colour, you can often lift a bit off again if you work quickly. Remove excess paint by dabbing lightly with a piece of kitchen roll. Keep blending base colours until you are happy. You may want to add a little yellow or dark brown to your paint on the top coat.

Step 14

Start to make some raisin shapes from your brown and black fondant. I use the back of the craft knife to mark some lines into them, making them look shrivelled.

Step 15

The 'raisins' on the top of the cake should be black, the ones nearer the paper case are usually less burnt so brown works well. Not every bit of fruit would be fully on show so add tiny touches here and there or black or brown.

Step 16

Now, squash tiny pieces of ivory fondant between your fingers to make small rough edged pieces. Add these on to the raisins, as if some of them have burst through the bread mix whilst cooking. You may need a touch of glue for this part.

Step 17

Paint over the new additions using the same method of colour washes, starting light and building in strength in some places. If it seems too pale, add a few small darker sections and your bun will start to come to life.

Step 18

Finally, finish with an edible glaze spray and leave to dry.