Make these adorable marzipan bees to top cupcakes or a beehive cake. They taste much better than any cake toppers made from hard sugar or gum paste, given their sweet almond flavor. Although they take some time they can be made several weeks in advance, making it easy to adorn simple cupcakes in time for a party. This recipe makes about 12 bumble bees, depending on size. Marzipan typically comes in 7oz packages so you can easily make 24 bumble bees by using the entire package of marzipan and doubling the recipe.
Allow the bees to dry on the waxed paper overnight after assembling and painting. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
- 3.5 oz marzipan, such as Odense brand
- Yellow food coloring
- Black gel food coloring (thicker than liquid food coloring and easier to paint with)
- Thin bristle pain brushes (Winton makes a 3 pack)
- 1/4 lbs. sliced almonds
- Waxed paper
- Color marzipan: Cover work surface with waxed paper. Place marzipan in a metal or glass bowl and add 3-4 drops of yellow food coloring, or enough to make them as bright as you would like. Fold marzipan over coloring and continue to fold and kneed in your hands until color is fully mixed into marzipan. Wear plastic gloves for this process if you would prefer not to get food coloring on your hands - they will be tinted yellow after hand-kneeding.
- Make bumble bee bodies: Use 1 teaspoon of colored marzipan and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball between your fingers to make a tootsie roll-shaped body for the bee. Repeat to make 12 bodies.
- Make bumble bee heads: Pinch off about 1/2 teaspoon of colored marzipan and roll between your palms to make a small ball. Make 12 balls. Gently press the balls onto one end of the bumble bee bodies. They will stick without any additional adhesive (if your marzipan is dry and they are not easily sticking dab a tiny bit of water one end of the bumble bee bodies and stick the ball to that end).
- Paint the bumble bee stripes: Place several drops of black gel food coloring in a small glass, ceramic or metal bowl. Hold the bumble bees gently between your thumb and forefinger. Dip the tip of a fine bristle pain brush into the black food coloring. Using long, smooth brush strokes, paint two or three even lines around the bumble bee bodies (I made two thick lines but if you have a steadier hand you can make three thin lines). The lines may appear uneven or thicker in spots but they will still look great once they are fully assembled.
- Attach the wings: This is by far the simplest step and the good news is you are almost done. Pick out 24 almond slices that are fully intact. Insert two almond slices vertically into the back of each bumble bee to make the wings.
- Make the faces: Dip the flat end of a toothpick into the black gel food coloring and make two eyes on each head. Dip the pointy end of the toothpick into the black food coloring and gently use it to make a curved mouth on each head.