Cute and Easy Animal Cupcakes

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Cute Decorative Animal Cupcakes for kids birthday parties

When my girls were little, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Sometimes they would sit on the counter and help me make dinner (mostly handing me things and pouring in stuff), and other times we would make “fun food,” like peanut butter on a rice cake with raisins for a smiley face.

I even remember we hosted a playdate in our backyard where we all made three “food art” projects.” If you ever try that, take my advice and stop after two. Not only was it more than we needed, but in our case, it suddenly started raining just as we were starting the “cake towers.” I still remember gathering up bowls of different colored frosting and running toward the house!

Now that my kids are older, my younger daughter, Rebecca, has made some birthday cakes and cupcakes completely by herself that are far better and more creative than anything I’ve ever made, and in fact has even completed a Wilton cake decorating class.

These animal cupcakes are both cute and delicious, whether you’re making them with kids or if you’re someone like my Rebecca who loves to get artistic when you bake. Some are super-easy, while others are a little more involved and involve fancy-sounding things like fondant or modeling chocolate.

Have fun!

Table of Contents

Jungle-Themed Animal Cupcakes

A jungle theme is always fun for a kid’s birthday party or baby shower. There are a lot of directions you can go with it, and several different animals you can work with.

Let’s start with lions:

Easy Lion Cupcakes for a Jungle-Themed Party

These lion cupcakes are bright and colorful and very easy to make. Mini vanilla wafers are used for the ears, and a caramel candy (yum!) is used to make the nose.


How to Make Lion Face Cupcakes


Lion Cake with a Cupcake Mane

This idea is simple, but effective. Simply ice a round cake with yellow frosting, draw a face with black gel icing, attach two dessert cups for ears, and then put a dozen chocolate cupcakes around the outside edge.


Jungle Themed Cupcake Designs

Here’s a nice assortment of jungle animal designs from Betty Crocker. You can easily make the cupcakes themselves just by using a cake mix, vanilla and chocolate frosting, and various food coloring.

After that, the animal faces themselves are pretty easy:

Lions — Put caramel popcorn around the edge of the cupcake to create a “mane.” Use 2 M&Ms for the eyes and two Cheerios for the ears, pretzel sticks for the whiskers, and black gel frosting for the mouth.

Tigers — Again, use black gel frosting to create the stripes, and use 2 M&Ms for the eyes. Cut a gumdrop in half for the ears.

Zebras — Cut a small horizontal slit in the top of the cupcake near the edge and insert a vanilla wafer to create a “longer” face.

Monkeys — Cover the entire cupcake with chocolate frosting, then mix chocolate frosting with vanilla frosting to create a lighter brown color. For the eyes, attach an M&M to a marshmallow half with frosting.


Jungle Themed Cupcakes for a Baby Shower

If you don’t have the time (or inclination) to create fancy animal faces, then you can just make “regular” cupcake and add a cute topper:

Jungle Animal Cupcake Toppers for a Baby Shower
Jungle Animal Cupcake Toppers for a Baby Shower
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Elephant, Giraffe, Lion, and Tiger Cupcake Toppers
Elephant, Giraffe, Lion, and Tiger Cupcake Toppers

And if you’re having a jungle-themed baby shower …. wouldn’t these socks make the cutest gift?

Safari Animal Baby Socks
Safari Animal Baby Socks


How to Make a Giraffe Cupcake Cake

Well, this looks fairly easy! Get 20-24 cupcakes, decorate them with yellow and orange icing, arrange them like so, and use some black gel for the feet and eyes. Ta-da!

And here’s a template you can use so you don’t would I would do — which is thinking that I was arranging the cupcakes to look like a giraffe, but ending up with a huge, amorphous blob.

And here’s a template if you just want to make a giraffe head:


Easy Giraffe Cupcakes

These little giraffes are easy enough to kids to make (perhaps with a little help.

Roll out a ball of colored fondant with something like this, then cut out a giraffe using a cookie cutter.

Color the giraffe’s eyes and spots using food markers, then pipe an orange frosting tail and horns.

Giraffe Cookie Cutter
Giraffe Cookie Cutter


These giraffe faces are made almost entirely from rolling, squeezing, and cutting different colors of fondant and arranging them on top of each other.

Then just them on top of your cupcakes!


How to Make Elephant Cupcakes

Elephant Cupcakes Made with Candy

First, frosting a cupcake with grey frosting and use white and black frosting to create eyes.

Then melt some gray frosting in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Dip a gummy worn trunk.)

Dip miniature pretzels in the melted gray frosting, let the excess drip, and place it on waxed paper.

Then microwave a pink Starburst candy, flatten it, and press it against the pretzels to make the elephant’s ears.
(This will be the elephant’s ears.)

Finally, stick white candy-coated licorice into frosting for the tusks.


Elephant Cupcakes for a Baby Shower

A tray of cupcakes topped with these light blue and white fondant elephant toppers would look adorable at a boy’s baby shower.

Cut out the elephant shapes with the cookie cutter and set aside to dry out.

Use white fondant to make the ears, either by using a teardrop-shaped cookie cutter or just cutting out circles and shaping them with your fingers.

Use water to adhere the ears to the elephant shapes.

Draw an eye on each elephant with an edible ink pen, then set et aside to dry overnight.

Elephant Cookie and Fondant Cutter
Elephant Cookie and Fondant Cutter


If you like, um … “technicolor pachyderms” (anyone else know what that’s from?;)), here’s a cute way to make them.

Decorating Cupcakes: Colorful Elephants


Another option is to create an elephant cake out of cupcakes.

Pipe 9 mini cupcakes and 27 regular-sized cupcakes with grey frosting and then add a fondant tusk, ear, and eye.

Blue Elephant Baby Shower Party Package
Blue Elephant Baby Shower Party Package


How to Make Farm Animal Cupcakes

A barnyard or farm theme is another idea that lends itself to having a lot of different animals

Barn Cake with Farm Animal Cupcakes

Another Betty Crocker design, this barn is decorated with pretzel sticks, graham cracker squares, shredded coconut, and yellow and green food coloring.


Barnyard Animal Cupcakes Tutorial

These cow cupcakes are quick and easy to make.

Use Wilton candy eyes, a pink Starburst candy for the nose, and two black jelly beans for ears.

Then use craft scissors to trim a couple Haribo cola bottles until they are a size that looks right for your cows.

Haribo Happy Candy Gummi Candy
Haribo Happy Candy Gummi Candy


If you like working with fondant, this is a pretty cute cow cupcake:

Cow Cupcake with Fondant


How to Make a Fondant Cow

These were described as “lamb” cupcakes for Easter, but I think they could work as sheep cupcakes for a barnyard themed party, don’t you?

Sheep Cupcakes with Mini Marshmallows

The sheep’s faces are made by flattening gumdrops (they chose to make “black sheep” — cute!), poking holes into them for nostrils, and attaching candy eyes and licorice sticks.

After frosting the cupcakes, create a mound of frosting in center (the frosting recipe includes two jars of marshmallow creme), attach the sheeo’s face, and press in mini marshmallows.


Pig Cupcake Ideas

As any Charlotte’s Web fan knows, you can’t have a proper barn without a pig. Here are some clever ideas:

Cute and Easy Pig Cupcakes

These look more difficult than they really are. Simply coat a cupcake in pink frosting and then:

Cut pink wafer cookies into triangle for the ears.

Use 2 mini chocolate chips upside down for the eyes.

Place a pink Necco wafer in the middle for a nose.

Attach 2 pink mini marshmallows to the side of the cupcake with frosting for the feet.



These cute pigs are made with Wilton candy eyes a pink marshmallow cut in half for the snout, upside-down candy hearts for the ears, and a twirled pink pipe cleaner for the tail.

Wilton Candy Eyes
Wilton Candy Eye


Make this Cute Pig Cupcake


And these pigs in mud are just too adorable not to include. You can purchase them on Etsy.


Farm Animal Cupcake Toppers
Farm Animal Cupcake Toppers


How to Make Cat Cupcakes

Of course we have to include cats because … well, look at the name of the blog. 🙂

Cat Cupcakes Made with Candy and Fondant

These cat cupcakes are based on the character Chloe from the movie The Secret Life of Pets.

The secret to the pretty, glittery effect is giving the cupcake a light coat of white buttercream frosting, then turning it upside down and dipping it in purple sanding sugar. I actually didn’t know what sanding sugar was and had to look it up.


Cute Kitty Cat Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting


How to Make Penguin Cupcakes

Penguins are absolutely adorable. I remember when we went to the Gatlinburg aquarium several years ago, the penguin section was by far our favorite part.

Plus, since I grew up in Pittsburgh, I can’t help being a Penguins fan! 😉

Cute Penguin with Winter Hats

Years ago when we went to the Gatlinburg Aquarium. the penguin exhibit was by far our favorite part. There’s just something about penguins that are adorable.

What I particularly love about these cupcakes is that the penguins are wearing winter hats to keep warm. So cute!

These cupcakes are a little more challenging than some of the others in this post. It involves cutting out fondant with a wine glass and heart cookie cutters and using a paint brush to create the eyes and brush orchid pink “pearl dust” (yeah, I”d never heard of that either) onto the penguin’s cheeks.

Wilton Pink Pearl Dust
Wilton Pink Pearl Dust


Penguin Cupcakes Toppers Made With Oreos

This is a simple way to transform a regular chocolate cupcake into a penguin cupcake with an Oreo topper. Use icing to paint a “cashew-shape” on the Oreo to make a penguin, then use a piece of an Orange Slice for the nose and black gel for the eyes.


Penguin Cupcakes Made With Oreos and Candy

Aren’t these cupcakes adorable? I think it’s easier than it looks, too.

Trim an Oreo for the head, then cut another Oreo in half for the wings.

Cut a one-inch piece of red Fruit by the Foot, then pinch it at the center to make a bowtie.

Use snipped triangles of circus peanuts or orange slices for the nose and feet.

Then just add a row of round pearl candies to the body for buttons!

Wilton Round Pearl Candies
Wilton Round Pearl Candies


Super-Cute Christmas Penguin Cupcake Toppers


Easy “Under the Sea” Cupcakes

“Squirt” Sea Turtle Cupcakes with Gumdrops

Planning a Finding Nemo birthday party? These cupcakes featuring Squirt, Crush the Sea Turtle’s playful little son, are adorable and easy to make. Simply cut and arrange peach gummi rings, red and green gumpdrops, spearmint leaves, and mini chocolate chips for the eyes.


The Sea Otters from Finding Dory

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have always been one of my favorite candies, so it was no surprise that I was instantly drawn to these sea otter cupcakes with Reese’s heads and Whoppers for paws. (I love Whoppers too. Those and Milk Duds are our families’ two official “movie theater candies.”

You need something called “modeling chocolate” to make these cupcakes. You can make modeling chocolate by combining chocolate and corn syrup — or you can simply buy it.


Quick and Easy Octopus Cupcakes

These octopuses (octopi?) are made by arranging 8 gummi worms in a circle, putting a gumdrop in the center, using candy eyes, and giving him a little smile by dipping a toothpick in melted chocolate and drawing it on.

Gummy Candy for Octopus Cupcakes
Gummy Candy for Octopus Cupcakes


Easy Crab Cupcakes for Kids’ Beach-Themed Summer Party

These crab cupcakes would be cute not only for an Under the Sea party, but also for a trip to the beach, a pool party, or any kind of summer get-together. The legs are made from red shoestring licorice.



Under the Sea Cupcake Tutorial


Butterfly Cupcakes Decorating Ideas

Butterflies are, of course, so pretty and colorful by nature that they lend themselves to all sorts of creative ideas. They would make a nice choice for a spring birthday party.

Butterfly Cupcakes With M&Ms and Pretzels

My kids were all born in the spring and we often had their birthday parties out in the backyard when they were younger, so these immediately caught my eye as being a good spring birthday party cupcake.

It uses pastel-colored M&Ms for the body, yogurt pretzels for the wings, and something called “Edible Easter grass” for the antennae.


Super-Easy Butterfly Cupcakes

These cupcakes are not only very pretty, but so easy that it’s almost ridiculous.

Simply cut out a little circle in the center of a vanilla cupcake.

Cut the circle in half (these will become the butterfly’s wings) and fill the “hole” with sweetened whipped cream (not frosting!)

Arrange the wings in place and top with sprinkles and powdered sugar.

That’s it!


Cupcakes in the Shape of a Butterfly


How to Make Puppy Cupcakes

Yes, we own three cats, but we still love puppies! (Who doesn’t?)

Here are a whole bunch of ideas for “pupcakes” for different varieties of dogs. All of them are super-cute!

Cute and Super-Easy Puppy Cupakes

The secret to this little guy’s fluffy white “fur” is using white icing in a spray can.

Start by squirt a dollop of icing in the middle of the cupcake and a small line of icing along the top edge of the cupcake.

Use mini marshmallows vertically for the both the ears and the snout.

Ice the face with “squirt-strokes,” then the snout, going in a different direction.

Use 2 mini M&M’s for eyes and a chocolate-covered raisin on top of the snout as the nose

You can use either a pink M&M or a half of a Starburst candy for the puppy’s tongue. like a tongue.


Easy Dalmation Puppy Cupcakes


How to Make Mini Puppy Cupcakes for Kids


Puppy Dog Cupcakes with Oreo Ears


More Puppy Cupcake Designs


Owl Cupcakes with Oreo Eyes

Here’s another recipe that’s really easy for kids to make. Nothing fancy, just make a regular cupcake and decorate with Oreos and M&Ms! What could be easier?

I hope you’ve found some great ideas for your next kids’ birthday party — OR just a fun activity together!

Follow My Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and Other Desserts Board on Pinterest

Cute and Easy Animal Cupcakes you can make with your kids
How to make cow and other fun farm animal cupcakes for birthday parties
Fun and easy farm animal cupcakes for kids, including cows, pigs, and sheep with marshmallows

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