Ladybug Cupcakes for the Baby Shower that wasn’t.

January 23, 2010 at 10:00 PM | Posted in cupcakes | 30 Comments
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I’m kinda sort of a twitter whore.

So if you follow me on twitter you’ll recognize the above iPhone picture. These past few days have been filled with fondant, ladybugs and babies. (Not necessarily in that order.) Hey why are you looking at me like that? Kinda like you wanna say “Aaawww” while staring at my belly? Oh no! It’s not what you think. I’m not having babies. (Sorry Mom.)

My SIL is preggers with TWIN girls. And guess who got nominated to bake the baby shower cupcakes? ME ME ME! So I’ve been a busy bee, baking cupcakes and making fondant ladybugs for her ladybug themed baby shower. Which was today.

But then I got the phone call. Yes, THE call. This morning around 10am. My SIL was at the hospital. Her water broke. What are the odds! On the day of her baby shower. So you can imagine it was a mad scramble to try to call guests but since the trip to the hospital was unexpected and SIL hadn’t left us (me and co-hostesses) almost any contact info, we decided the easiest way would be to tell guests as they arrived for the baby shower. Somebody’s gotta eat these 50 cupcakes right?

*nervous laugh*

Forgive me. I tend to crack jokes at inopportune times when I’m anxious. The whole family is feeling a wide range of emotions right now. My husband, who’s usually Mr. Calm (or is it Cool?) As A Cucumber, is currently pacing the room as I’m typing this post. He paces. I blog. We’re all waiting to hear news. Any news. Last we heard she was in the hospital and the neonatalogist recommended trying to prolong a C-section for 48 hours to build up the twins lung development. Scary sh!t right?

So here’s what I’m gonna do.

I’m gonna write about my experience and tips to making these Martha Stewart ladybug cupcakes and you’re gonna let me babble b/c that’s what I do when I’m anxious and worried and nervous and anxious (Did I say that already?). Deal?

Now get comfy. Let’s begin.

Tip #1: Your grass is not gonna be as perky as Martha’s. Personally I thought my grass was way more natural with some straight and some that curled over every which way. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Tip #2: Martha says to use Wilton tip #233 to pipe the grass but I have both #233 and #234 and after debating on using the one with the smaller holes (#233) per Martha’s recommendations or the one with the bigger holes (#234), I chose the bigger holes. Because size does matter. (Am I the only immature person laughing after reading this paragraph? Hmmm… Thought so.) Obviously Martha disagrees, but I felt that the bigger holes made it easier for everything to come out and control. (Yes, I’m still laughing.)

Tip #3: But if you really want to strive to have the grass as perky as Martha’s, you could try to put your piping bag+tip+frosting in the frig to make the buttercream stiffer. I tried this and it did work for about 10 secs but I was too impatient to do this after every “blade” of grass and my biceps are weak sauce and couldn’t handle the pressure (literally and figuratively) of piping really stiff frosting. Damn my warm hands! Great in a snowstorm. Not piping frosting.

Tip #4: I made my ladybugs out of fondant. Martha made hers out of marzipan. Now I’ve never worked with marzipan but I assume it doesn’t become a wet sticky mess when you put it in the frig like fondant and that’s why she recommends using it since her instructions want you to chill the cupcake to let the grass set. But I used fondant and didn’t chill my cupcakes.

Tip #5: Martha says to pipe the grass from the center out but I thought it was easier to start on the perimeter and work my way in. I also overlapped grass too. You say center I say perimeter. It’s your personal choice.

Tip #6: Don’t ask me how Martha got her grass so dark green. I used like 10 drops of Ateco food gel and my grass was a bright green but no dark green. If you figure out how many drops it took… Come back and tell me. I’d really like to know.

Tip #7: Unless you’re a glutton for punishment. Buy the red and black fondant from a cake supply store or Michaels. True black and red are SO hard to do without the proper equipment (aka muscles) and A LOT of food gel. I’m very lucky that my cake store has fondant in every color in big buckets or in smaller quantities for all your fondant needs. If you are in the Southern California area, check out ABC Cakes in Orange or Calico Cake Shop in Buena Park.

Tip #8: Because *I AM* a glutton for punishment, I pinched off little itty bitty teeny weeny pieces of fondant to make every damn spot on each ladybug’s back. You wanna go easier? Use a black food safe pen or black food gel and back of a small paintbrush to dot a perfect circle every time.

Tip #9: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Even though I noticed that some ladybugs weren’t the same size. Some ladybugs had spots that were unbalanced. Some “grass” had bald spots. Some ladybugs had cracks in them. (Oh… Have we met? My name is Neurotic.) But did anyone notice? Nope. All I got were raves and … “You made those cupcakes? Even the ladybugs?” Yes, yes I did. And took all the credit. Martha? Martha who?

Tip #10: Actually I only came up with 9 tips but I just felt like there should be 10. It’s either 5 or 10. Anything in between just looks weird.

So there you go. It’s not hard and the results will bring you lots of wooos and aawwws. Just takes time and patience. And I won’t lie. By the time you make your 5th ladybug you’ll wanna stab yourself in the eye with a jagged sprinkle. But ask me if I’d do it again? Yes yes I would. In fact I am. For a birthday party next month.

Please keep my BIL, SIL and nieces in your thoughts and prayers. They haven’t left my mind and heart all day. I’m not what I’d call a religious person but I do believe in the power of positive thinking.

“Good night and good luck.” ~Edward R. Murrow



  1. Here’s hoping that the girls come quickly and safely/healthy to ease everyone’s nerves!

    As for the green in the grass, a darker green than what you have was probably used (I believe my gel colors are Wilton brand and I have at least 2 different greens…and yellows…and reds…heh). Or perhaps they mixed in another color to darken it up a smidgen?

  2. OMG. I can’t believe it! I’ve been following your cupcakes progress and now this? Yikes, I hope all is ok!

    Also, when I did ladybugs, I used chocolate fondant. I liked the brown+red color combo.

  3. Congrats to your sister in law!

    these look so awesome! I will definitely look into the abc cakes in orange when I go home for break. It seems not too far away and a good place. and yes, I did laught at the silliness you mentioned in that third tip. Then again, my friends and I laugh about all sorts of sexual innuendos like kids.

  4. Hi,

    Those are supre cute and hope your SIL and twins are ok.

    To get your green darker, assuming you don’t want to just buy a darker paste, add a smidge of black. You only need the teensiest bit to make a difference.

    I still prefer to buy the basic colours and mix my own. Stops me getting lazy hehe.


  5. This is hilarious! I hope your SIL and babies are well! BTW I can never get the grass green enough either. LOL!

  6. Definitely thinking of your BIL and SIL, keep us posted.
    These cupcakes are fantastic, and yes I have worked with marzipan and I think the fondant is easier, in my opinion!
    Very cute, I have been eyeballing these in the cupcake book for a while now and haven’t had an opportunity to make them yet.
    Great job!

  7. I’ve had two baby showers canceled because the gals went into labor. So weird how things work sometimes. I agree that for grass you might just need a different green, or an addition of some black navy or brown just to darken a touch. I just tried to do LEGO yellow but definitely didn’t have the right gel for it. Those things are YELLOW like a school bus. Primary colors are just tough. But I think the cakes look great.

  8. Ok these are the cutest cupcakes I’ve seen in a long time. I’m praying for your SIL and modern medicine has progressed so much that I choose to believe everything will be fine. Big hugs sent your way!

  9. Any word on the SIL/babies? I hope she can cook them a bit longer. Great job on the cupcakes!!

  10. OMG, I love these ladybug cupcakes and your tips! If it makes you feel better, my mom arrived here in France 2 years ago ready to throw me a shower and my daughter decided to show 10 days early thus destroying the prospects of that happening. Congrats to you on becoming an aunt and to your SIL. PS I agree — size does matter (giggling!)

  11. So cute! Those ladybugs must have taken so much time! I hope you saved a few for your SIL!

  12. Wow, that’s a lot of news. I will add your SIL to my prayers. Your cupcakes are perfect! Absolutely adorable, and a wonderful consolation prize for the shower that wasn’t

  13. I’ll say a little prayer for your family.

  14. They are adorable! I hope everything is okay with your SIL and the babies.

  15. Clara, your cupcakes are adorable. You are going to be a wonderful auntie to your nieces. My thoughts are with you and your family. And I hope your husband doesn’t wear a hole in your new carpet. Best wishes and thoughts, – mary

  16. LOVE these. I am a ladybug nut:) They look perfect! Sending love and best wishes to you and your family!

  17. T&P for your SIL and family!!!!

    Cute cuppies, too. :)

  18. Sending good thoughts your way and wishing the best for your family. These cupcakes are beautiful and impressive. I can see they were a labor of love!

  19. They ladybugs turned out GREAT!! Keeping your SIL in my prayers!!

  20. Hope everything is ok! The lady bugs are just darling!

    re: darker green: Try using Americolor gel in Forest Green.

  21. Totally sending them good thoughts! and yes the rest of us were giggling at your dirty jokes too :D

  22. How cute! I imagine martha uses so much powdered sugar that her grass is tall, and so much color that its dark green, but no-one probably eats them!

    I sometimes find it easier to use a piping tip to stamp out ‘spots’, seems a bit quicker than fiddling around with tiny bits of fondant…

    Your family are in my thoughts, I hope everything works out great!

  23. Your cupcakes look fabulous!

    And best wishes to your BIL and SIL. A good friend of mine had her baby at 28 weeks due to some complications. Her daughter is now a gorgeous, *perfectly normal* almost-1-year-old. :) Babies can be totally resilient and I’m sure your little nieces/nephews are going to be too.

  24. Hope your sister in law and the babies are doing good.
    The cupcakes are adorable and you must have worked so hard. Don’t worry about the grass – it looks fine & honestly, I’ve never had much success making it look like it’s actually supposed to either. And yours looks great – and I love the lady bugs too. :)

  25. I thought I was the only one that complained about warm hands when trying to pipe frosting. bloggy hugs and prayers for your family. cute cupcakes

  26. That story is so funny! I work at Just Cupcakes, and one time we were making baby shower cupcakes for someone’s order. They called and said they needed them at noon instead of 6pm because the mom-to-be was in labor already! Haha on the day of her shower!

  27. I am little late on this, but I hope all is ok with the twins. Love the cupcakes, the little ladybugs are so detailed and cute! It was clearly a labour of love making these cute cuppies!

  28. I absolutely love these and my kids would get such a kick out of these. I am glad to hear that the grass won’t turn out as perky and perfect as Martha’s because I know I would never be able to get mine even close to hers. Yours turned out beautifully and you are incredibly talented. I have enjoyed spending some time on your blog tonight.

  29. […] Ladybug Cupcakes for the Baby Shower that wasn’t. «I’m gonna write about my experience and tips to making these Martha Stewart ladybug cupcakes and you’re gonna let me babble b/c that’s what I do when I’m anxious and worried and nervous and anxious (Did I say that already?). Deal? […]

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