Home Coronation Coronation Cupcakes

Coronation Cupcakes

Want to make a special treat for the royal coronation? Try making these vanilla bean Coronation Cupcakes, also called fairy cakes, in the United Kingdom. They are easy to make and very forgiving if you have a shaky decorating hand.

Why are They Called Fairy Cakes in the United Kingdom?

The name “fairy cakes” means the same thing as American cupcakes. It refers to small cakes often served at children’s birthday parties. It is thought that they got the name fairy cakes because they are small and delicate like a fairy and small enough for a fairy to eat.

British Flag Fairy Cakes

Step-by-Step Instructions Decorating for Coronation Cupcakes

There is a sequence to follow for decorating these cupcakes. All the steps are listed below with photos to make it easy. There is also a list of supplies needed with online sources to find them.

British Flag Fairy Cakes

American Buttercream

These cupcakes are topped with vanilla-almond American buttercream. Make your own frosting per the recipe for the best taste. However, if you are pinched for time, you can buy a couple of tubs of vanilla frosting from the grocery store. Add a little food coloring, and you can eliminate the step of making homemade buttercream and go straight to decorating.

British Flag Fairy Cakes

Gel Food Colorings

Use gel food coloring instead of liquid to color the frosting. The gel will help keep the frosting from becoming too thin and soft to hold its shape. However, if this happens, you can fix the problem by placing the frosting in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes or adding more confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) to the frosting. On the other hand, add a little cream to thin a stiff frosting that is hard to squeeze through the piping tip.

I recommend using these colors (above) or your flags. I like the AmeriColor Super Red gel because it stays red and does not turn brown. AmeriColor also has a royal blue you can use. I used Sunny Side Up Bakery Royal Blue (which works well) because it is what I had on hand when I made these cupcakes.

When you add the color, start with a couple of drops, stir, and then add another until you reach the shade you like best. Always build color by adding small amounts of gel coloring because it is hard to reverse frosting with saturated color. You will need to add white buttercream frosting to soften a too-dark color–and it can take a lot!

Tip: Be careful buying any brand of red color. If you have a favorite brand that gives a clear red color, use it. Otherwise, choose carefully because many red colors turn the frosting brown after they sit for a while.

Piping Tips for Coronation Cupcakes

You will need at least 3 piping tips to make these cupcakes:

  • A number 30 star tip to pipe stars (3 needed, but 1 will work if you wash it between colors)
  • A number 2 round tip to place small red lines onto the white parts of the flag
  • A number 3 round tip to pipe white outlines around the red cross

Most of the flag is piped with stars. I suggest using (3) number-30 star tips for convenience so you don’t have to wash the tip between colors. The round tips are used to draw lines on the flags and to outline the red cross. You can purchase these tips online by typing “star piping tip 30” or “round piping tip 2” to locate sources. They are very inexpensive and will last for years.

Piping Bags & Couplers

Plastic Bags

Use reusable or disposable plastic bags to pipe the frosting. You can buy bags specifically for this purpose (shown below). Or, you can use a sandwich (or larger) resealable bag to pipe frosting. I prefer actual piping bags over resealable sandwich bags because they are sturdier and less prone to tearing when you squeeze them. Either way, snip off the corner of the bag to insert a piping tip and then add frosting.

British Flag Fairy Cakes

Couplers

A coupler lets you place the piping tip on the outside of the bag so you can switch it with another one if needed. Why is this important? The coupler lets you easily remove a tip for washing to use it with another color. Or, if you need to use two different piping tips for the same color, you can easily remove one to replace it with another. However, if you don’t use a coupler (blue frosting shown below), the tip is placed inside the bag, and the frosting is added. To get the piping tip out of the bag, you must first remove the frosting to get to it.

How to Use a Coupler

  1. Cut the end of the piping bag off. 
  2. Place the large part of the coupler into the bag and let the small, open end stick halfway outside the hole you cut. It should fit snuggly.
  3. Fit the metal tip on the coupler sticking out of the bag. 
  4. Place the ring over the metal tip and screw it onto the coupler tip. (It will screw together even though the grooves are inside the plastic bag. The ring attaches the metal tip to the coupler and helps seal the bag to prevent frosting from leaking.)
  5. Add the frosting to the bag and start piping. 
  6. To remove a metal tip, screw off the ring and remove it. Then add another metal tip to pipe a different pattern. 

Click here to see photos of using a coupler.

Frosting for Coronation Cupcakes

To decorate these flag cupcakes, divide the frosting evenly between three bowls. It is helpful to use white bowls because it makes it easier to judge the colors when you add the gel coloring and easier to divide the frosting evenly. 

  • Set up 3 piping bags. Place couplers into each or at least 2 of the bags.
  • Add star tips to the couplers and then add the rings and tighten. (If you have only a single star tip, place it on a coupler and secure it with a coupler ring. Make this the white frosting because you will start with it.)
  • Add white frosting to 1 bag with a coupler and red frosting to the other with a coupler.
  • Leave the third bag empty.

Tip: It is helpful to use clear butter and vanilla flavorings when you make the frosting to keep it white. Otherwise, the frosting can turn a dingy color. 

Frost the Coronation Cupcakes in Steps

The United Kingdom flag is a compilation of three flags that form the red, white, and blue flag known as the Union Flag or Union Jack.

  1. The English red and white flag with the cross of St. George
  2. The Irish red and white flag with the red saltire of St. Patrick
  3. The Scottish blue and white flag with the white saltire of St. Andrew

Step 1 – Create an X Shape with White Frosting

The flags are easy to create if you follow these steps. Apply one color to all the cakes and then move to the next color. Start by adding an X shape with white stars to all the cakes.

Step 2 – Fill in with Blue Stars

If You Only Have 1 Star Tip

Remove the star tip from the coupler on the white bag of frosting. Wash and dry it and insert it into a piping bag, cutting a hole at the bag tip that is big enough for the metal tip to fit snuggly. Then fill in all the areas between the X shape with blue stars. It does not have to be exact because these cupcakes are abstract flags. Fill in the blue areas for all the cakes. When finished, squeeze all the blue frostings back into the blue bowl to save in case you need to touch up something on the finished cupcakes. Cut the bag open, remove the tip, and wash and dry it.

If You Have Enough Star Tips for all 3 Colors

Set up the bag of blue frosting by inserting the coupler and tip or just the metal star tip. Add blue frosting and pipe all the blue stars between the X shape on all the cupcakes. Leave leftover frosting in the bag for touchup later (if needed).

British Flag Fairy Cakes
This blue and white flag creates the Scottish white saltire of St. Andrew.

Step 3 – Add Red Crosses to Coronation Cupcakes

If using one tip, wash and dry it and attach it to the coupler on the last clean bag. Add red frosting to it. Make a cross shape with red stars. The cross will overlay on top of the blue areas and represents the red and white English Cross of St. George.

Step 4 – Add Red Lines to Coronation Cupcakes

Remove the coupler ring and star tip from the red frosting bag. Add the number 2 round tip (piping tip with the smallest hole). Then make lines on top of the white X. These small red lines represent the Irish red Saltire of St. Patrick.

  1. Tuck the tip into the red cross.
  2. Squeeze the piping bag and pull the piping tip up and away from the cupcake to make a string of frosting.
  3. Quickly lay the red frosting string onto the white. This method works better than drawing the line because it eliminates wiggles from an unsteady hand.
  4. Notice that the red lines are not in the middle of the white; instead, they should be placed close to the edge of the white. Starting clockwise, place the line closer to the upper blue section (see photos). Repeat for each section going clockwise.
Cornation Cupcakes

Step 5 – Outline the Red Cross in White

The final step to finishing the flag design is to outline the red cross with white. Use the No. 3 tip and pipe an “L” around each side of the red cross.

Cornation Cupcakes

This completes the steps for decorating these United Kingdom cupcakes, a.k.a. Coronation Cupcakes! I hope you enjoy making your own flag cupcakes!

Cornation Cupcakes

Other Recipes You Might Enjoy

If you like this recipe, here are other red, white, and blue recipes and tables you might enjoy. Click on each name to link to the post.

Cornation Cupcakes
Print Recipe
Coronation Cupcakes
Vanilla bean cupcakes decorated with a Union Jack flag
Coronation Cupcakes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 23 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Almond-Vanilla Buttercream
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 23 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
Almond-Vanilla Buttercream
Coronation Cupcakes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 24 regular-sized cupcake liners in muffin pans.
  2. Place the sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and vegetable oil into a large mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth. Then sift in the cake mix and stir until smooth--but not overmixed. Do not skip sifting the cake mix because the batter will be lumpy.
  3. Use a cookie scoop to divide the cake batter evenly between 24 cupcake liners.
  4. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the cupcakes are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean or with a few small crumbs. Do not overbake. After 5 minutes of cooling time, move the cupcakes to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Almond-Vanilla Buttercream
  1. Beat the butter, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt with a mixer until creamy. Add the cream and stir. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, and beat between each addition. If the frosting is too stiff, add more cream. If too soft, add more sugar.
  2. Divide the frosting into 3 bowls. Set aside one bowl of white frosting. Add a small amount of red gel coloring to a bowl of frosting and stir to mix. Add additional color if needed until the desired shade is reached.
  3. Add royal blue to another bowl of frosting. Stir to make a blue color. Add more blue if needed to reach the desired shade of blue.
  4. Prepare 3 piping bags for the frosting by placing a coupler into each. Attach the frosting stars to the couplers and add the screws to secure the tips. Add a frosting color to each bag.
  5. To create the flags, apply one color to all the cakes and then move to the next color.
  6. Add white X shapes to all the cupcakes. First, place a star in the middle of a cupcake. Then add two more at 1 and 7 o'clock, as shown in the photos. Then place a star at 11 o'clock and another at 5 o'clock. Fill in with piped stars to connect them and make an X. Repeat these steps until all cupcakes have an X shape.
    Coronation Cupcakes
  7. Fill in with blue stars in all the areas between the X shape. It does not have to be exact because these cupcakes are abstract flags. Repeat for all the cupcakes.
    Coronation Cupcakes
  8. Add red crosses by overlaying stars on top of the blue areas. Place a red star in the middle of the white X. Then add one to the center edge of each blue section. Connect the stars by adding stars in between them. Then connect the other side up to the middle to make a line. Repeat to form a cross. Add this cross to all of the cupcakes.
    Coronation Cupcakes
  9. Add red lines to each flag. First, remove the coupler ring and star tip from the red frosting bag. Add the number 2 round tip. Then make lines on top of the white X by tucking the piping tip into the red cross. Squeeze the piping bag and pull the piping tip up and away from the cupcake to make a string of frosting. Quickly lay the red frosting string onto the white, breaking it at the cupcake edge. Notice that the red lines are not in the middle of the white; instead, they should be placed close to the edge of the white. Starting clockwise, place the line closer to the upper blue section. Repeat for each section going clockwise. Then add red lines to all the cupcakes.
    Coronation Cupcakes
  10. The final step is to outline the red cross in white using the number 3 tip. Pipe an "L" around each side of the red cross. Then repeat for each cupcake.
    Coronation Cupcakes
Recipe Notes

Measuring Powdered (Icing) Sugar

Use these tips to prevent adding too much sugar to the frosting:

  • Use a spoon to fluff the sugar before measuring it for the buttercream.
  • Do not pack the sugar in the measuring cup.
  • Use a knife to level the top of the sugar in the measuring cup.

Gel Food Coloring

Recommended gels:

 

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