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Why I love NZ Cupcakes

Serves 6 +
Prep time: 30 - 60 mins
Cooking time: 2 - 3 hrs

Brought to you by the Great New Zealand Birthday Cake Book



  • 12 white cupcake wrappers
  • Pams Butter 140 g
  • White chocolate drops 85 g
  • Pams Caster sugar 230 g
  • Pams milk 165 ml
  • Pams Vanilla extract ¾ tsp
  • Pams Plain flour 110 g
  • Pams Self-raising flour 105 g
  • Pams Eggs, lightly beaten 110 g (2-3 eggs approx.)
  • 250 g Pams butter, softened and at room temperature
  • 700 g Pams icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp Pams milk
  • fondant: 25 g green, 10 g white, 25 g red & 25 g black
  • gel food colouring: black
  • 50 g white chocolate
  • 1 red 5 cm x 5 cm liquorice sheet (we purchased ours online)
  • 1 black 10 cm x 10 cm liquorice sheet
  • ¼ tsp yellow sprinkles
  • 5 white mini marshmallows
  • 1 tsp chocolate hail
  • Pams cornflour, for rolling out fondant
  • 9 white cupcake wrappers
  • toothpicks
  • Stencil - Why I Love NZ Cupcakes – fern, jandals, kiwi, pounamu, sheep & Swanndri
View the method
  1. Download and print the stencils. You can find these at the top left of this page, just beneath the Great New Zealand Baking Book logo.
  2. Bake the cupcakes. (This recipe makes 12 cupcakes, you will need 9 for decoration.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 160°C on standard bake (135–140°C on fan bake, but avoid using fan bake as it causes excessive peaking during baking).
  4. Combine butter, white chocolate drops, caster sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a large heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water until everything has melted together and the sugar crystals have dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool down slightly.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift the two flours together, then stir into the melted mixture along with the lightly beaten eggs. Mix gently until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps.
  6. Pour the mixture into the cupcake wrappers and bake for approximately 20 minutes, checking the cake regularly during the last quarter of cooking time, or until a cake skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cupcake.
  7. Place on a wire rack to cool. Place it in an airtight container if you plan to decorate it the following day.
  8. Make the buttercream
  9. Beat butter in an electric mixer, using a paddle attachment, until the butter lightens in colour. Slowly add icing sugar in small batches (so it doesn’t fly out of the mixing bowl), beating in between until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
  10. Start with room-temperature butter (not melted) and to beat with an electric mixer until the butter turns from a yellow to a white tone before adding icing sugar. Buttercream can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, but bring it back to room temperature and beat again before using so it is as light, fluffy and soft as possible.
  11. To make the Kiwiana cupcake toppers, trace and cut out the stencils for the fern, sheep, jandals, pounamu pendant, kiwi and Swanndri.
  12. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
  13. Pohutukawa Flower: Cut a quarter circle with a radius of 4 cm out of the red liquorice sheet. Cut the curve into thin strips, leaving 5 mm uncut at the base. Thinly roll out a strip of green fondant to a thickness of 2–3 mm and a width of 2 cm and wrap it around the red liquorice base. Squeeze the end of the flower together and score a line in the green fondant where the bud meets the branch. Dip the cut ends of the red liquorice into the melted white chocolate and then into the yellow sprinkles.
  14. Sheep: Place your stencil over the black liquorice sheet and cut out the sheep using the tip of a sharp knife. Use melted white chocolate to stick 5 mini marshmallows to the sheep’s body. Use a toothpick to drop 2 dots of white chocolate on the head for the eyes. Use another toothpick to add 2 dots of black gel food colouring in the middle of each eye.
  15. Kiwifruit: Thinly roll out green fondant and cut out a 4 cm diameter circle. Knead together a pin-head-sized ball of green fondant with a pea-sized ball of white fondant. Thinly roll it out and then cut a 1 cm diameter circle. Use a small amount of water to stick the small circle in the centre of the larger circle. Carefully roll the edge of the large circle in melted white chocolate and then in chocolate hail. Using melted white chocolate as glue, stick small pieces of chocolate hail in a ring around the pale-green centre to make seeds.
  16. Jandals: Place the jandals stencil over the black liquorice sheet and cut out the jandal shapes. Roll a piece of white fondant into a thin string and cut it into 4 equal lengths. To form the thongs, attach the ends of the fondant strings to the liquorice with a tiny amount of melted white chocolate, trimming off any excess length.
  17. Fern: Place the fern stencil over the black liquorice sheet and cut it out.
  18. Kiwi: Place the kiwi stencil over the black liquorice sheet and cut out.
  19. I Heart NZ: Thinly roll out white fondant and cut out a circle 3 cm in diameter. Thinly roll out red fondant and cut out a 1 cm heart shape. Stick the heart on the top right corner of the white circle with a little water. Use a toothpick dipped in black gel food colouring to write the words ‘I’ and ‘NZ’ on the white circle.
  20. Pounamu: Knead together a pea-sized ball of black fondant with 10 g of green fondant until fully combined. Add another pea-sized ball of black fondant to the first lot, mixing it slightly to create a marbled effect (don’t over-mix or the effect will be lost). Roll out the green marble fondant, place your stencil on top and cut out the pounamu shape. Cut a thin slice off the edge of the black liquorice sheet. Cut a hole out of the top of the pounamu and thread the liquorice slice through the hole.
  21. Swanndri: Thinly roll out the remaining red fondant. Using your fingers, form 15 g of black fondant into a thin rope 2–3 mm thick. Cut the black fondant rope into lengths and lie them in horizontal and vertical lines across the red fondant. Carefully flatten the criss-cross lines into the red fondant by gently rolling the fondant with a rolling pin. Place your Swanndri stencil on the patterned fondant and cut out the shape. Use your stencil to cut out and remove the centre T shape of the jacket. Thinly roll out the remaining black fondant and use your stencil to cut out a black T shape. Press the black T shape into the jacket cut-out, as shown.
  22. Ice your cupcakes with buttercream to a smooth finish.
  23. Place a Kiwiana topper on each cupcake.
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