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My sweet little baby girl turned 2 this weekend! It's hard to believe my youngest isn't really a baby anymore but we had such a fun time celebrating her! I always enjoy throwing fun parties for the kids and because my youngest is obsessed with anything to do with animals and animal sounds, I knew I had to make some animal-inspired cupcakes for her party. After perusing Pinterest for a few ideas and some inspiration I was ready to get creative!
The thing is, I'm not much of a cake decorator. Truthfully, I'm pretty useless with a piping bag unless it's a super simple task, so when it comes to novelty cupcakes like this it's got to be simple. These Zoo Animal Cupcakes couldn't be easier to make: simple homemade cupcakes, one batch of easy buttercream frosting, some food colouring (and cocoa powder for the chocolate frosting), a few candies, sprinkles, some Oreo cookies, and a black gel frosting pen.
When it comes to kids birthday parties it's all about fun, not about perfection. And there's no need to spend all kinds of money for themed-cupcakes from a professional bakery when you can make them yourself with a few simple ingredients! Watch the video tutorial below to see just how easy it is! Trust me, if I can do it so can you!!
Zoo Animal Cupcakes Tutorial (makes approximately 24 cupcakes)
For these cupcakes, I used my favourite chocolate cupcake recipe and my favourite vanilla birthday cake recipe made into cupcakes. Both are fantastic recipes (that also happen to be egg-free), but if making cupcakes from a boxed mix is more your speed then that's fine too!
For the frosting:
Beat 2 cups softened unsalted butter on high speed until it's smooth and pale in colour. Add 6-8 cups of powdered sugar, beating in one cup at a time until the mixture is smooth. Add whole milk by the tablespoon until the frosting reaches spreading consistency (you'll probably need to add 3-4 tablespoons of milk).
Divide the frosting into 4 equal parts. Use food colouring to colour one batch of the frosting yellow, one batch of the frosting orange, and stir about 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder into the third batch to make the dark chocolate frosting.
Divide the fourth part of the frosting into two parts, leaving one part white and stirring 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder into the other part to create the light brown frosting.
You should end up with 5 bowls of frosting: yellow, orange, dark brown, light brown and white.
For the decorating you'll need:
Black gel frosting pen (available at any baking supply store)
Yellow food colouring
Orange food colouring (or use a combination of yellow and red)
Orange, Brown and Yellow candies
Spread yellow frosting on top of each cupcake. Roll the edges in red sprinkles and add two yellow candies for the ears. Draw eyes, whiskers and nose on with a black gel frosting pen.
Spread orange frosting on top of each cupcake. Draw on the stripes, eyes and nose with a black gel frosting pen and place on 2 orange candies for the ears.
Spread dark chocolate frosting on each cupcake. Spread a small amount of light brown frosting for the snout and place two brown candies for the ears. Draw on the eyes and nose with a black gel frosting pen.
Spread the dark chocolate frosting over each cupcake. Spread a small bit of light brown frosting for the snout and a little bit for the hair. Pipe on a small amount of the white frosting for the eyes and add chocolate candies for the pupils and the ears. Draw on the nose and a smile with a black gel frosting pen.
Spread each cupcake with the dark chocolate frosting. Pipe 2 small dollops of white frosting where the eyes should be and add two Oreo cookie halves on top. Pipe two small dots of white frosting on top of the Oreo cookies and add two small chocolate candies for the pupils. Add an orange candy for the nose.
And that's it! Super simple zoo animal cupcakes perfect for the little party animal in your life!
I hope you love this tutorial as much as I loved making it! Let me know in the comments below if you'd like to see more kid-friendly cupcake tutorials!
Looking for more kid friendly recipes? You'll love these Healthy Toddler Muffins or my 6 Healthy Travel Snacks for Kids!