Time: 1 1/2 hrs
Yields: 6 cupcakes
Soap cupcakes are probably my favourite kind of soaps to make. I love playing around with soap, and cupcakes has a lot of playing and creativity involved. There’s the icing to pipe in all kinds of different ways and colours. You can play around with the fragrances and designs of the cupcakes, including choosing a fun cupcake carton. But most of all, I love decorating the cupcakes. You can add glitter, little parasols or flags, or make your own decorations using soap dough.
Don’t be put off by the ‘advanced’ level, and even if you think your piping skills aren’t up to scratch (you should have seen my first attempts!), with a little glitter on top, I bet they’ll look fantastic!
If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly suggest you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.
Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!
Preparation: Before starting, make sure you have all your equipment and material laid out and ready to use. Prepare your piping bag, putting in the tip or nozzle. And prepare your soap colourant according to the supplier’s instructions. Lay out the cupcakes cartons, setting out a couple extra in case you have surplus soap.
ONE: To prepare the lye, first measure out the water in a heat proof Pyrex jug. Then, in a separate container (I use a little plastic cup for this), weigh out the caustic soda. Make sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves. Carefully, add the caustic soda to the water (NEVER THE OTHER WAY ROUND!), and avoiding any splashes, stir until the lye water is clear. Set aside to cool.
TWO: In a separate large Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the coconut oil and cocoa butter. Either heat in the microwave (if using a Pyrex jug) or on the stove (if using a pot), until the oil and butter has completely melted.
The recipe uses a large percentage of hard oils and butters, to ensure that the soap will thicken enough to be able to pipe it as icing on top of the cupcakes. Because of the proportion of hard oils, you will also need to work fast, because the soap mixture will reach trace quicker than the usual recipes containing less hard oils.
THREE: Weigh out and add the olive oil, sunflower oil and castor oil to the now-liquid coconut oil and cocoa butter, and give it a quick stir.
FOUR: Make sure you are still wearing your goggles and gloves. When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, carefully add it to the oils and then using a stick blender, pulse and stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified (does not separate).
FIVE: Add your fragrance or essential oil and give it another quick stir. Make sure the fragrance or essential oil that you are using do not accelerate the soaping process. You don’t want the soap to thicken and solidify in your piping bag! It’s happened to me a few times!
SIX: Pour about half of the soap into a separate container or bowl. One will be the uncoloured icing on top, and the other will form the coloured bottom part of the cupcakes.
SEVEN: To one pot add your soap colourant, and mix, using a whisk or stick blender, until you have reached a thin-medium trace. If you leave it too thin, the soap won’t support the icing. If it is too thick, you won’t be able too pour it.
EIGHT: Pour the coloured soap into the cupcake cartons, filling it to about 1/2 to 1 cm from the rim. Depending on the size of the cupcake cartons, you might have a bit more or less than 6 cupcakes.
NINE: Using your stick blender, mix the remaining uncoloured soap until it has thickened enough that you can pipe it. Scoop the soap into your piping bag, and then pipe the top of the cupcakes into nice swirls.
If you would like a white icing, you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of titanium dioxide mixed with a little oil to the soap before stick blending it to thick trace. You can find more hints on soap icing and how to pipe soap here.
TEN: You can sprinkle some glitter or add other decorations to your cupcakes, or leave them just as they are. I’m using silver Bio-glitter from Pure Nature. And the little pink soap balls I made with soap dough. You can find the tutorial for soap dough here.
Leave the soap cupcakes to cure for at least 6-8 weeks before using. Because they are cold process soap, you can leave them unwrapped.
- 200 g olive oil
- 260 g coconut oil
- 200 g sunflower oil
- 100 g cocoa butter
- 50g castor oil
- 114g caustic soda (NaOH)
- 230 ml water
- 30 ml fragrance or essential oil
- soap pigment or dye
- optional: glitter and decorations
- piping bag and tip
- 6 cupcake cartons
Preparation: Set out all the equipment you need, including the piping bag and tip. Prepare the soap pigment or dye according to the supplier’s instructions.
- Measure out 230 ml of water into a heat proof Pyrex jug. Weigh out the caustic soda and carefully add it to the water, avoiding any splashes. Gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved and the lye water is clear. Set the lye aside to cool down.
- In a large heat proof Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the coconut oil and cocoa butter. Heat in microwave (if Pyrex jug) or stove (if pot) until all the oil and butter has melted.
- Add the liquid oils to the melted coconut oil and cocoa butter, and give it all a quick stir.
- Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective goggles and gloves, carefully add the lye to the oils.
- Using a stick blender, pulse and stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified.
- Add the fragrance and give it another quick pulse to mix in the fragrance. Avoid the soap mixture getting too thick at this point.
- Pour half of the soap into a separate bowl or container.
- To the remaining soap in the pot, add your colourant and whisk or stick blend to medium trace.
- Pour the coloured soap into your cupcake cartons, filling it to about 1/2 to 1 cm from the rim.
- Using your stick blender, mix the uncoloured soap until it is thick enough to pipe.
- Scoop the soap into the piping bag (make sure the tip is already inserted in the bag) and then pipe it in swirls on top of the cupcakes.
- Optional: sprinkle with glitter or add other decorations
- Leave the cupcakes to cure for about 6-8 weeks before using.