Start making the Minion cake toppers. Knead the yellow fondant until soft and pliable. Dust the work surface with a little cornflour if necessary and roll out. Use a cookie cutter, or similar, (ours was 68mm diameter) to cut 12 discs. Position each fondant disc on a square of greaseproof paper, this will prevent the fondant from becoming mishapen if you need to move them. Set aside to dry.
Start to make the Minions’ glasses. Prepare some grey fondant and knead until soft and pliable. Dust the work surface with a little cornflour if necessary. Roll out the grey fondant. With the wide end of a large piping nozzle (or similar) cut out between 12-24 discs. (Remember some minions only have one eye!) With a smaller piping nozzle remove the centre from each grey disc which will therefore leave you with a ring of grey fondant. Repeat with the remaining discs. Ball up and cover the small cut away discs for later.
Make the Minions’ eyes. Knead some white fondant. Roll out onto a work surface dusted with cornflour. Using the same small piping nozzle as you used for the frame of the glasses cut out some white discs. These will be the Minions’ eye. Roll out some brown fondant and cut out small discs with the narrow end of a plain round piping nozzle.
Begin to assemble the Minions’ glasses and eyes. Using a small paint brush (reserved for food use only), paint a small amount of water on the reverse of a grey fondant ring. Position the disc on one of the yellow circles, either centrally for a one eyed Minion or slightly off to the side for a two eyed Minion. Gently press the grey ring to stick in position. Continue positioning the grey glasses frame to the Minion’s yellow face. Paint a tiny bit of water to the inside of the grey ring. Position a white disc in the centre – it should fit snugly. Again apply a small amount of pressure with your finger tip to afix it.
Continue with the Minions’ eyes. Apply a small amount of water to one of the brown discs. Position this on the white of the Minion’s eye (applying a small amount of pressure to afix it), considering the expression you want it to have. Repeat with the remaining brown discs. Create the pupils with a small amount of black fondant rolled into a ball. Paint a tiny amount of water onto the brown fondant. Position the black ‘pupil’ and use the pad of your thumb or index finger to gently flatten the black. Repeat with the remaining eyes.
Finish the glasses. Roll out the remaining grey fondant on a work surface lightly dusted with cornflour. Use a non-serrated knife to cut strips of the grey to be used as the ‘arms’ of the glasses. Afix the arms to the Minion’s face with a small amount of water.
Apply hair to the Minion. Decide if your Minion will be bald or have hair – and its style. Using black fondant roll very thin short ‘sausages’. Afix to the yellow disc with a small amount of water in the style you want.
Give your Minions expressions. Consider if your Minion is to smile, frown, yawn etc. Use a fondant tool or tooth pick to create a line for the Minion’s mouth (and eye brows as appropriate). Try to avoid dragging the yellow fondant. Using a small amount of black fondant roll it into a sausage shape. Apply a small amount of water to the shape of the mouth. Carefully allow the black fondant to lay into the shape of the mouth. Apply gently pressure with a flat tool to afix. If creating a round mouth for a yawn or a shocked expression shape a small amount of the black fondant into a disc and afix with water.
Finish the Minions’ eyes. Shape a tiny piece of white fondant into a ball. Apply a little water to the black pupil and afix the white. This helps to bring a bit more ‘life’ to your Minion. Set the faces aside to dry overnight.
Preheat the oven to 190℃ / Fan 170℃ / 375℉ / Gas 5. Place the muffin sized cases into the muffin tray.
Make the sponge. Place the soft butter and sugar into a good sized bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until very pale and fluffy. Add the salt and vanilla extract and beat again to combine. Gradually add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition, (see note b below). Beat in the milk. Sieve the flour into the mixture. Use a spatula, large metal spoon or your hand with your fingers splayed to fold this in gently.
Fill the muffin cases & bake. Using a spoon, fill the cases with the batter mixture. You’re aiming for them to be half to two-thirds full. You may decide to weigh each muffin to ensure equal sizes. Each will weigh about 60 – 63g. Place the muffin tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 20 – 23 minutes. You may need to rotate the tray after 15 minutes of baking. Once baked, remove from the oven and muffin tray and place onto a cooling rack.
Make the buttercream frosting. Place the softened butter into a good sized bowl. Beat to ensure it is soft and creamy. Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter. Use a wooden spoon to combine the two ingredients. Sieve the remaining icing sugar into the bowl and beat to combine. Beat well to create a creamy frosting. Add the vanilla extract mix until well combined. Add a drizzle of milk as necessary until it is the softness you like. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
Begin to decorate the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled pipe a flat swirl of frosting on top of each cake.
Finish with the Minion fondant disc. Carefully remove the fondant disc from the greaseproof paper and position it on top of the buttercream. Enjoy!