Today I’m going to show you how to make a fun & simple pull-apart fish cupcake cake design! This cute and colorful cake is the PERFECT centerpiece for summertime or beach themed parties. All that you need are cupcakes and one small round cake layer!
Let me show you how to make this sweet fish cake:
First, I started with one fat 6″ layer (about 2″ thick) and 12 cupcakes. My 6″ cake layer is on it’s own cardboard cake circle, and I split it into two parts (with one side being a little larger than the other). I nestled each row of cupcakes into the row next to it, so that the spaces in between the cupcakes could be kept to a minimum.
Here’s the rough idea of Miss Fish. The part of the 6″ cake that will become the tail is a little larger than the other half (which will be the face).
Both parts of my 6″ cake are on a cake circle cut down to size. This makes moving them around easier (especially later after they’ve been frosted).
Using a serrated knife, I cut a little notch from the “tail end” of the cake to give it a better shape. Doing this exposed a little bit of my cardboard cake circle, which I then snipped away with scissors.
Time to frost our head and tail! First, the tail. I frosted it with a crusting buttercream (tinted Lemon Yellow) and then used my small tapered spatula to make ridges. After frosting, I moved to the refrigerator to chill and firm up (so that moving it to the final board won’t be as difficult later.)
Next, I frosted the head with the same yellow buttercream. I waited a few minutes for the frosting to crust, and then smoothed over it with a Viva brand paper towel (no impressions or quilting).
After chilling the head of the fish, I moved it to my final cake board and began filling in with the cupcake body. My cupcakes are swirled with buttercream (tinted Americolor Electric Green and Deep Pink) using a 2D large closed star tip.
To secure the head to the cake board, I spread the bottom of the cake cardboard that the head is resting on with a little buttercream. For the cupcakes, I added a small dot of buttercream to the bottom of the cupcakes that make up the outer edge of the fish, to secure them to the board.
Another option is to frost the entire “cupcake body” all as one large cake. This is the typical approach to a cupcake cake. I kind of like the individual swirls though for a change.
Next, I removed the fishy tail from the fridge, spread a bit of buttercream on the bottom of the cake cardboard that the tail is sitting on, and “glued” it to my board right next to the cupcake body. You can see me pushing it nice and close to the cupcakes in the photo–I’m using my paper towel to prevent fingerprints!
Now it’s time to bring our fish to life. First, I made some funny fish lips from fondant (I kneaded in a little tylose to firm it up more quickly). I wanted to keep it lightweight, but thick enough in the middle for me to insert a lollipop stick anchor. It dried for about an hour and was ready to go…but to be on the safe side, go ahead and make it a day or two in advance. If you want to skip the fondant, just pipe on some buttercream lips with a Wilton tip 12 or other medium to large size piping tip.
My fish is going to be a little bit glamorous with nice, big eyelashes! I made more than I needed just in case there were any breakage issues :0) — You can see below how I cut a strip of black fondant (I kneaded in a little tylose so that they would firm up more quickly) and fringed with a knife to create the eyelashes. I dried them over a bubble tea straw, but any number of rounded forms would work. After about an hour, the eyelashes held their shape nicely…(but again, maybe I was lucky—the more in advance you can work, the better.) —
I gave her a nice big blue eye using a circle of fondant and a blue food coloring pen. I also gave it a little sparkle with some white disco dust ;0)
Now, we’re ready to put everything together! I pushed in the anchor for the lips (and gave them a little sparkle of white disco dust). Then, I placed on her eye and pushed in the curled eyelashes!
I added a few final touches to tie everything together. Using a 2D tip, I added waves of blue buttercream, and I also added fish fins on top and bottom as well as a little fondant fin. The air bubbles are piped in buttercream with a Wilton tip 12 (medium round tip). The birthday sign is made from white cardstock and simply wrapped around a lollipop (cookie) stick.
Ta da! She is swimming to your party right this minute. Isn’t she sweet? —
Thanks for stopping by the blog today! If you’d like to see some more fun and beachy ideas for cupcakes, visit our blog post on how to make a school of lollipop fish cupcake toppers or our crabby cupcakes! You can find them HERE. See you next time!