The Best Dr Pepper Cupcakes From Scratch

Dr Pepper is a popular soda with many people. It has just the right amount of sweetness and fizz to be great for any occasion! Dr Pepper cupcakes are even more amazing because they capture all the flavors that make Dr Pepper so much fun.

The Best Dr Pepper Cupcakes From Scratch

The best part about these cupcakes? They’re from scratch, so you know their ingredients are fresh and wholesome. If you want to try something new, or if you love Dr pepper then this recipe is perfect for you!

The Best Dr Pepper Cupcakes From Scratch

These Dr Pepper cupcakes have a light, fluffy texture and are perfect for any occasion. But it gets even better! The frosting is even made with Dr pepper so you can enjoy the flavor of your favorite soda all day long!

History of Dr Pepper

The Dr Pepper Company was originally founded by a pharmacist, Charles Alderton. In 1885 in Waco Texas he invented the drink we know and love today! He called it “Waco”. It wasn’t until years later that it became known as Dr. Pepper after its main ingredient – pepsin powder which is used to help break down food in the stomach.

vintage dr pepper bottles

What does Dr Pepper Taste Like?

Dr Pepper is a unique tasting soda that’s hard to describe. It has hints of both sweetness and spiciness with a citrus flavor as well! Many people also notice some cinnamon notes when they drink Dr pepper for the first time.

Others? Think it is a close comparison to a Cherry Coke or Cherry Pepsi.

Regardless, I love the catchy jingle that rocked my childhood:

Vintage Dr. Pepper commercial circa 1979 featuring David Naughton (“Makin’ It”) & Popeye The Sailor.

Pretty cool for the special effects of the time — and yes, you are welcome for that “I’m a pepper, you’re a pepper, he’s a pepper, she’s a pepper – wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too jingle that is now stuck in your head…

Other favorite ways to use Dr Pepper

Some people just love it chilled and ready to drink. A few (I think slightly odd) souls like to heat it up to drink. We love to grill with it in this recipe from Operation $40K: Dr Pepper Glazed Salmon on A Cedar Plank.

Then, you can bake with it.

Obviously, we are making cupcakes with it today, but it has been used as everything from a glaze on Strawberry Lemonade Bars to being added to the frosting on a decadent chocolate cake.

This recipe of ours will make 24 cupcakes. From scratch. And it really doesn’t take as much time as you might think it would. The citrus zest in the frosting plays off the citrus notes we talked about in the drink.

How to make Dr Pepper Cupcakes

Our recipe for Dr Pepper cupcakes doesn’t use a cake mix – like so many of the recipes out there – and I really think it makes a difference. We could call these Cherry Dr Pepper cupcakes as we use a cup of dried cherries in them – but that plays on the cherry correlation to its soda competitors.

Dr Pepper cupcake Ingredients:

what is needed to make dr pepper cupcakes

For best results, have as many of these ingredients at room temperature as you can. If you don’t have buttermilk you simply have to add an acid to your milk. Whole milk or 2% work best and the rule of thumb is: for every 1 cup of milk, stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar.

  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup Dr Pepper
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ⅓ cups sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Dr Pepper Cupcakes Instructions:

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line the muffin tins with cupcake liners.

How to make dr pepper cupcakes

In a small pot stir together the cherries and the soda over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, set aside to cool.

dr pepper cupcakes from cake mix

In a small bowl whisk together melted butter, cocoa, and boiling water, set aside to cool. (bowl 1)

dr pepper cake mix

In a separate larger bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla extract. (bowl 2)

Add in flour, sugar, and spices.

making dr pepper cupcakes

Drizzle in the butter-cocoa mix, then stir it into the buttermilk mixture, and finally add in the soda cherry mixture and stir until well combined

Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 full and bake for about 18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.

Dr Pepper Cupcakes Frosting:

Yes, this recipe even uses Dr Pepper in the frosting for an additional layer of flavor!

You will need:

  • 4 cups Dr Pepper
  • 3 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Boil the soda over medium-high heat until reduced to about ½ cup, set aside to cool completely. Using a mixer cream together butter, sugar, zests, and vanilla extract. Drizzle in cooled soda and mix until smooth.

how to make dr pepper frosting

Add your frosting to your pastry bag – for easier decorating

In this Cupcakes 101 Video, I show you some quick, easy tips & tricks for how to fill your piping bag with frosting, fillings, or decorators icing easily and without the mess!

Frost cooled cupcakes with spatula or from a piping bag – I LOVE the piping bag when I am going to do a lot of cupcakes.

Now be nice – the 14-year-old did these. We are building her skills. Next time, I would use a star tip and probably a fun sprinkle pack. Because yeah – sprinkles! Ohh – even those waxed soda bottle candies – one on top would be perfect!!

Dr Pepper Cupcakes from scratch

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How to Make Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcakes

Why Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcakes? I am totally a child of the 70s and remember the big Kool-Aid man busting through a wall and saving the day with all the thirsty kids and flustered mom.

How to Make Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcakes cover image

He was in his glory as a man in tights and wearing a giant plastic pitcher of that sugary goodness that seemed to quest everyone on a hot Wisconsin Summer Day.

Just check out these Cherry Kool-Aid Man Commercials:

Top 20 funniest Kool-Aid Man commercials

So, these Cupcakes are a throwback to my childhood – and I hope they bring a smile to your face.

How to Make Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcakes

We played around a lot before sharing the final results with you – tried tweaking my white cake scratch recipe, tried different cake mixes, and finally came up with our version of Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcakes.

If Cherry Kool-Aid isn’t your thing? No worries – use one of the other flavors: Green Apple, Strawberry Kiwi, Peach Mango, Cherry Limeade, Tropical Punch, Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Sharkleberry Fin, or Invisible Grape – which I would dye purple.

Simply sub out the right kind of Kool-Aid and alter the food coloring used for the cake mix and frosting.

Is Kool-Aid bad for you?

Yes, Kool-Aid is bad for you. Each cup of Kool-Aid has 20 grams of sugar, or to be precise, the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of sugar. Research has shown that the artificial dyes in Kool-Aid may cause hyperactivity in your child. Long-term consumption may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and even cancer.

However, Kool-Aid has fewer calories than your typical soda, contains vitamin C, and is not carbonated.


That being said – cupcakes aren’t good for you either – if you have long-term consumption and overindulge.

So there – don’t make and eat these every day.

What else can you do with Kool-Aid?

I find it funny as Kool-Aid has been used lately in everything from cookies, to dying hair. Let’s face it – we are a creative lot! I even saw a recipe for Kool-Aid pound cake!

There seem to be mixed results for using it as a hair dye? Professionals seem to hate it but the normal folks like us seem to have better results with it. Here is a video I found on how to do it – which I find fascinating! I know what I paid to have a stylist dye my kiddo’s hair purple…this might be our next venture!

How to dye your hair with Kool-Aid

The one that really blows my mind?

Kool-Aid pickles! Or Koolickles as they are more commonly known as. They reportedly originated in the Mississippi Delta region of the United States…and I guess it is credited to African American culture. The recipe is more often made with water, not pickle brine, or simply dipped in Kool-Aid powder.

I’m not sure I am brave enough to try them, but the colors are fabulous!

How to make Kool-AId pickles.

The standard Kool-Aid pickle ingredients are:

  • 1 packet of Kool-Aid mix
  • 1 jar of dill pickle spears or whole pickles
  • 1 cup of sugar

Remove pickles from jar leaving the pickle juice. To the pickle juice, add 1 cup of sugar and stir to combine as well as you can. Place the pickles back into the jar and close the lid. Be sure the lid is tight. Place Kool-Aid pickles in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Shake or turn the jar at least once a day during the 1-2 weeks.

OK — I went down a rabbit hole! Let’s get back to the cupcakes!

We use a boxed cake mix

These Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcakes are started with a boxed mix instead of being a Kool-Aid cake from scratch. I find that it is the best way when baking with Kool-Aid to make a consistent finished product.

What cake mix do I prefer?

Right now, the brand at Aldi is my favorite – as I have been playing with layered cakes too. It has brought taller cake layers than either Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker lately and comes in lower on the price point.

How do you store Kool-Aid Cupcakes?

The best way to usually store your finished creations? Room Temperature. Considering the buttercream frosting, they should be fine for five to six days. You can learn more about that in our article How To Frost A Cupcake.

Just like any of our cupcake recipes, you can make the cupcake bases in advance. I actually have some yellow cupcakes in my freezer right now for Easter.

Generally, the rule of thumb is that if you plan to frost and enjoy them within a couple of days you should be storing your cupcakes at room temperature. If you do not plan to frost or enjoy them within a couple of days then it’s best to freeze them.

You can learn more about Batch Baking During the Winter Months in my other post if you want to, but batch baking and freezing are some of my trade secrets. Rarely would I pop them in the fridge – the constantly circulating air dries them out too much.

Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcakes Ingredients

Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcakes Ingredients

You will need:

  • 1 box of white cake mix
  • 3/4 cup kool-aid drink powder, cherry flavor
  • 1 1/4 cup water*
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil*
  • 3 egg whites*
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature
  • 3 TBS heavy cream
  • 4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 drop of red food coloring

*Or what your boxed cake mix asks for.

Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcake Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a 24-cup muffin pan with liners.

Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcake Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together: 1 box of white cake mix, and the 1/2 cup Kool-Aid drink powder.

Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcake Instructions:

Follow directions on the package and whisk in 1 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3 egg whites, and 2 drops of red food coloring.

Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcake batter

Divide batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cherry Kool-Aid Cupcake ready to frost

Kool-Aid Cake Frosting

When ready to frost the cupcakes, whisk together: the 1 cup butter, 3 TBS heavy cream, 4 cups powdered sugar, and 1/4 cup kool-aid drink powder, cherry flavor.

Add in 1 drop of red food coloring, (or as many drops as needed to get to the desired red tint you are looking for)

Whip until it is smooth and fluffy, but holds its shape. Scoop into the piping bag and set aside until you are ready to frost these babies!

Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Now, you COULD decorate them more – I know I usually do all “Fancy” with sprinkles, etc but occasionally? Less is more.

What do you think?

Kool-Aid Cake Frosting

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Great Root Beer Float Cupcakes Spell Summer Fun

I know, Root Beer Float Cupcakes? Think back to childhood and the simplicity of a great root beer float. I remember being barefoot, sitting on the concrete steps in the back yard with my feet reaching the actual patio, and holding my Tupperware harvest gold tumbler that had a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it as my mom poured the can of Jolly Good root beer between my cup and my brothers.

Great Root Beer Float Cupcakes Spell Summer Fun

Yes, we always watched carefully to make sure it was even – heaven forbid if one of us got more than the other, LOL! We also had those quick sips in between that alternating root beer stream as we tried to keep our treats from foaming up and over the top of the cups.

My Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Do you have any memories like that? I swear everything was just so much simpler when we were kids.

That is what these Root Beer Float Cupcakes are – is a nod to that simple time of childhood – and a treat for hot summer days. I know, I have done Orange Crush Cupcakes, and even Dr Pepper Cupcakes, but these Root Beer Float Cupcakes are a treat in their own right.

Who made root beer float?

The story goes that in 1848, the first soda fond in Chicago was opened by druggist Josiah H. Reed. Soda fountains were popular until the 1960s and have become kind of a kitschy thing to hunt out yet today. I seem to find them in the least expected places.

The actual creation of the root beer float came years after that first Chicago soda fountain, supposedly invented in 1893 by Colorado gold mine owner Frank J. Wisner, according to CNN.

Just think: 128 years ago! That was before refrigeration – or at least as we know it today. Many areas didn’t even have electricity yet! Ice houses were still in common use.

Boy times have changed!

Root beer is still the same though – in a cold frosty mug and with absolutely no ice. A & W restaurants still serve it this way, to this day.

Why is root beer served without ice?

Why is it so important that root beer is served in a frosted glass without ice? When cold root beer meets frosted glass, the drink starts to foam, and this amazingly thin layer of icy slushy root beer forms along the surface of the glass.

If you added ice, you would have a lot more foam and it would kill the mild carbonation aspect not to mention making a huge mess.

Great Root Beer Float Cupcakes Spell Summer Fun

Root beer, root beer floats, it all adds up to good stuff whether you were like us in the back yard or sitting at a soda fountain or drive in restaurant.

Why are root beer floats so good?

What is there not to like? A root beer float is made of vanilla ice cream and root beer. The reason it gets so foamy is that when carbonated root beer comes in contact with the vanilla ice cream, carbon dioxide bubbles are released. That means that the root beer helps to free air bubbles trapped inside the ice cream.

That is what makes it so wonderfully creamy.

Of course, being from Wisconsin, I have to mention use ICE CREAM, not frozen custard. (Sorry Culver’s, I still love you)

Do you put the ice cream or root beer first?

The great debate: which goes in the glass first? Well, here is the answer:

Gently pour the root beer over the ice cream. You’ll notice that, after just a few minutes or after a good stir, the ice cream will start to float—hence the name of this glorious drinkable treat!

Now, if you want to make a Brown Cow — all you have to do is to switch out the vanilla ice cream for some chocolate. Maybe that is just a Wisconsin thing?

Which root beer is best?

We Tried 9 Brands and Found the Best Root Beer

  • A&W.
  • Barq’s. – I believe this is the only root beer that has caffeine.
  • Dad’s.
  • Baumeister. – it is regional to Wisconsin, and a hands-down favorite!
  • IBC. – this is what I used for this recipe
  • Mug.
  • Sioux City.
  • Sprecher

Which is YOUR favorite on that list?

Now, let’s make those Root beer Float Cupcakes!

Best Root Beer Float Cupcake Recipe

  • 3/4 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 C Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Root Beer Extract 
  • 1 cup IBC Root Beer

How to make Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cupcake pan with liners.

Using a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.

In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Add your root beer extract and mix until well combined.

Add in flour and root beer slowly, 1/3 by 1/3, and mix until just combined.

Fill each cupcake pan cup about 2/3 full. Bake for 21 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit till cool.

Root beer Float Cupcake Frosting:

  • 2 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 4 C Powdered Sugar
  • 3 tbsp IBC Root Beer
  • 1 tbsp Root Beer Extract
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3-5 tbsp heavy whipping cream 

Using a standing mixer beat the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream until combined, smooth, and slightly stiff.

Rootbeer Float creamcheese Cupcake Frosting

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop a mound of frosting onto the top of the cupcakes. Use a butter knife to smooth out the frosting. 

Best Root Beer Float Cupcake Recipe

Using the remaining frosting in the bowl, beat in the rootbeer and rootbeer extract. If you need to, add in 1 C of powdered sugar. Once the frosting is fully mixed, scoop the frosting into the piping bag.

how to make Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Pipe dollops of frosting onto the vanilla frosting. Top them with a cherry for the perfect finishing touch.

ready to eat Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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Cookie Bottom Cupcakes Everyone Will Love!

I have been on a kick lately of things from my childhood – I think it is my way of processing losing my mom just after Christmas. Oreos have been used in our family recipes for decades, down to my Momma’s award-winning Fudge Bottom Cheesecake. Cookie Bottom Cupcakes just seemed like a perfect fit for what I have been craving.

Cookie Bottom Cupcakes Everyone Will Love!

After all, I have done few different versions of a cookie cupcake before – mostly by using them to decorate the top. This time? We have Oreo bottom cupcakes that will provide a surprising crunch to the person nibbling your delicacy.

I have played a lot with Oreos before – on both this site and my other one:

Annnnnd I will again, LOL. I have a peppermint version in mind for a nice Christmas holiday cupcake!

Oreo Commercials can jumpstart your creative juicdes for how to use them yourself!

Cookie Bottom Cupcakes

You could do this recipe with any kind of chocolate sandwich cookie – but I prefer Oreos. Even Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies would work in the bottom of the cupcakes and could be crunched up to make the cookie bottom cupcake frosting.

We use a boxed Cake Mix

I know it seems like an evil thing to say – using a boxed cake mix, but you could use my yellow cupcake recipe and make them from scratch if you are so inclined.

This will make a LOT of cupcakes

Normally you fill a cupcake liner 2/3 to 3/4 full of batter before you bake it. Since you start this recipe by popping a cookie in each cupcake liner, that takes up some of the space so your batter will go further.

Instead of the normal 24 or so cupcakes from a boxed mix, I get about 30 when I make this recipe – and for that reason.

How do you store Cookie Bottom Cupcakes?

Just like any of our cupcake recipes, you can make the cupcake bases in advance. I actually have some yellow cupcakes in my freezer right now for Easter. Generally, the rule of thumb is that if you plan to frost and enjoy them within a couple of days you should be storing your cupcakes at room temperature.

If you do not plan to frost or enjoy them within a couple of days then it’s best to freeze them. You can learn more about Batch Baking During the Winter Months in my other post if you want to, but batch baking and freezing are some of my trade secrets. Rarely would I pop them in the fridge – the constantly circulating air dries them out too much.

Can you buy Oreo frosting?

While I share how to make Oreo Frosting for these Oreo bottom cupcakes, you can skip that and actually BUY the frosting if you are near a Sam’s Club. You can buy ANY of their frostings!

You can go to their bakery section and order supersized tubs of its frostings, like the Bettercreme Oreo Cookies ‘N Creme icing. Beware though, it is a large tub and has enough frosting to coat more than 200 cupcakes!

I have not tried to freeze it – so it might only be an option for those rare times when you have a LOT to make, for a special event.

I have not checked to see if Costco has the same option, and honestly? It is pretty easy to make.

Cookie Bottom Cupcakes Everyone Will Love!
Don’t these Cookie Bottom Cupcakes just look absolutely amazing?

Oreo Frosting Tips

You are going to want to put it into a piping bag or Ziploc bag for the purpose of decorating your amazing cookie cupcakes – so you need to make sure your crushed Oreos are fairly fine – chunks could get caught in your piping tip and make your life frustrating with the jam up and then blast out.

It isn’t pretty and creates more work in the long run, trying to make it look better – not that I have ever heard of people complaining about a free cupcake, LOL.

This frosting is different

I played around with this a bit and ended up with a variation of the “boiled frosting” recipe I used for the cinnamon rolls at my restaurant. It is kind of like making a roux – you use flour as the starch and milk as the fat – and cook it on the stove until it gets really thick.

It has to be moved to the fridge for a bit and then you bring it back out to add the other ingredients.

Once this is made? It can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks! We used to make large batches of our frosting, and heat the rolls a touch before serving and spread that frosting over those warm rolls – for heaven on a plate that was almost as large as your head.

Seriously, people came from miles for our rolls and the real trick to them was the frosting.

You could try a frosting hack

Take a tub of cream cheese frosting from your grocery store, add some powdered sugar and then your crushed Oreos. It WILL work, I just wasn’t happy with it for what I was going for.

Cupcake with cookie base

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Place a whole Oreo into the bottom of each cup.

How do you store Cookie Bottom Cupcakes?

After that, you will need:

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix and the ingredients that the box asks for
  • 1 Oreo cookie per cupcake, after you have already put one in the base of the cupcake liners for the cupcake itself.
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup crushed Oreos – it is about 10-12 Oreos

Make the cake mix, according to the box. Pour the batter over the cookie in the cupcake liner until it is 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Oreo Cupcakes Frosting

While the cupcakes are baking, get that frosting base started!

Cookie Bottom Cupcakes Everyone Will Love!

In a small saucepan combine the 5 tablespoons flour with that 1 cup of cold milk. Stir and whisk the mixture constantly over medium-low heat until it becomes really thick.

Cookie Bottom Cupcakes frosting base

Seriously, you have to stand there with it and keep your whisk moving – it changes up almost instantly when the heat is right. I take it off the heat, add to a bowl, and pop it into the refrigerator or freezer for about 10 minutes so that it cools completely.

When it has cooled, you can finish your Oreo frosting.

In your mixer cream together the butter and sugar. When the sugar is well incorporated into the butter, add in the vanilla and mix for 30 seconds longer. Add in the thickened milk/flour mixture and mix on low for about 30 seconds, then turn the mixer to high and mix for about 3 minutes.

Oreo Cupcakes Frosting

You are going to be amazed at how light and fluffy this frosting it -it is almost like whipped cream!

Cookie Bottom Cupcakes frosting

Now, you need to fold in that 1 cup of crushed Oreos. If you want to just dump them in the mixer and let the machine do it for you – don’t let it run much longer than 30 seconds…you don’t want to kill your fluffy goodness.

Cupcake with cookie base

Scoop that frosting into a piping bag or in a Ziploc bag where you snip the corner, and pipe frosting onto each cooled cupcake.

Top with an additional Oreo for the garnish to your masterpiece!

Cookie Bottom Cupcakes Everyone Will Love!

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Mermaid Cupcakes for Your Favorite Fin Fan

What little person isn’t enchanted with the concept of Mermaids? A few years back I did a Mermaid themed birthday party on our main site: Mermaid Birthday Party – With Free Printables! If I did that party now? Instead of the cake, I would make these mermaid cupcakes.

mermaid cupcakes article cover image of mermaid tail cupcakes

Mermaid Cupcakes

How do you make mermaid cupcakes?

Because these Mermaid Tail Cupcakes are a little putzy, I start this recipe with a boxed cake mix. You could easily use my Best Yellow Cupcake Recipe from Scratch and then divide the batter to add the food coloring you need.

It really is pretty simple, you make and frost the cupcakes, and then add the mermaid tail. You can make them with chocolate, but we like to make them with fondant.

Mermaid Cupcake Toppers

Now as for the Mermaid Tails and Seashells, the mermaid Silicone fondant mold can be found at Michael’s craft store, along with 1 tube of pink fondant, and one tube of lilac fondant. The Seashell Silicone fondant mold I found HERE on Amazon.

To work with the fondant, you will also need: 1 C of corn starch, 1 food safe paint brush (Wilton sells a set of 5 at Michael’s), and 1 tube of gold luster dust.

If you make the fondant accessories first, you will whip out the finished cupcakes faster than you could possibly imagine. Start by lightly powdering your hands with the cornstarch, and start to work the fondant until it becomes soft and easy to work with.

Using one of the brushes, dip it into the cornstarch and lightly coat the silicone mold. Tear off a tablespoon amount of fondant and mold it into the tail mold. Once that is done, let it sit for 5-10 minutes before flipped over the mold and carefully push out the fondant tail out of the mold.

Once all tails have been molded, lightly dip the tip of a paint brush into the gold dust and brush the tail with it. Let the mold dry for 1 hour.

Repeat the steps to make the Seashells.

Can you make the cupcakes in advance?

Just like any of our cupcake recipes, you can make the cupcake bases in advance. I actually have some yellow cupcakes in my freezer right now for Easter. Generally, the rule of thumb is that if you plan to frost and enjoy them within a couple of days you should be storing your cupcakes at room temperature. If you do not plan to frost or enjoy them within a couple of days then it’s best to freeze them. You can learn more about Batch Baking During the Winter Months in my other post if you want to, but batch baking and freezing are some of my trade secrets. Rarely would I pop them in the fridge – the constantly circulating air dries them out too much.

Mermaid Cupcakes Recipe

You will need:

  • 1 box of French vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 C of softened unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 1 C whole milk
  • cupcake liners
  • cupcake pan
  • blue, pink, purple and green gel food coloring

Directions for Mermaid Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan with the liners. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, butter, milk, and mix until combined. Divide the batter into 4 small bowls. Add a few drops of the food coloring to a bowl, one different color each. Mix until combined and the colors are bright and vibrant to your liking.

Using a spoon, start spooning 1 color of batter into the cupcake liners. Repeat step with other colors until the cupcake liners are 3/4th full. Bake in the oven for about 21 minutes. Pull out and place on the side to cool.

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 C powder sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 3-5 TBSP heavy whipping cream
  • Blue and pink gel food coloring
  • 1 disposable piping bag
  • 1 disposable piping bag with a star tip
  • 1 bag of Wilton White Jumbo Nonpareils Sprinkles
  • 1 bag of each Wilton Purple, green, Blue, orange Jumbo Nonpareils Sprinkles

Using a standing mixer, combine all ingredients and mix on medium speed. If your frosting starts looking like powdery rocks, add another tablespoon or so of heavy whipping cream. Mix until you see creamy stiff peaks starting to form.

Once the frosting is made, scoop about 1 C of frosting into the 3 different bowls. Add a few drops of the blue food coloring into one bowl, add a few drops of pink into the second bowl, and leave the third bowl white.

Take the piping bag (without a tip), and stick it tip first into a drinking glass. Fold the edges of the piping bag over the glass. Scoop blue frosting into the piping bag and then frost the cupcakes.

Dip the frosting into the sprinkles.

Using the piping bag with the star tip, set it in a glass and fold the edges over. Scoop the pink frosting onto one side of the piping bag and then scoop white frosting onto the other side. Twist the outer edge closed and then pipe a medium dollop of frosting into the middle of the blue sprinkled cover mound.

Push the mermaid tail into the pink and white frosting and add the shell piece onto the side of the frosting for the finishing touches.

finished mermaid cupcakes with the tails on them

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mermaid cupcakes article cover image

Fruity Pebbles Cupcake – a Cereal Treat

Rarely do I let sugared cereals into the house. The plethora of fake colors, sugars and preservatives are not something I really want Miss Sarah over indulging in so I simply don’t buy them. UNLESS….I am making this Super Fun Fruity Pebbles Cupcake Recipe.

Post cereals aren’t on sale all that often, and you rarely see a coupon for them. That makes these a big splurge for me and one box? It will make several batches of these gems. These cupcakes are fun, colorful, and just a party on a plate. Seriously, who could resist that?

Besides having Fruity Pebbles grace the top of your frosted beauties, some is used inside the cupcake batter to make a tasty homestyle version of a FunFetti cake mix. You COULD skip my cupcake recipe and use a boxed cake mix, but there is a real differrence in taste. The Fruity Pebbles cereal really adds to the cupcake textrue and flavor, when you use it.

I know this recipe is all about Fruity Pebbles cereal, but you could also use Cocoa Pebbles. It won’t be as colorful, but will work the same way to give you a treat with a hint of chocolate.

Fruity Pebbles Cupcake Recipe

You will need:

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 C milk
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
1 C sugar
1/2 C Fruity Pebbles Cereal


1 1 C unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 C powder sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 piping bag with a large star tip
wooden spoons for decoration, optional
Fruity Pebbles, for topping


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg whites, and vanilla.
  • In a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients and milk mixture alternately beginning and ending with dry ingredients, beating until combined.
  • Mix in the Fruity Pebbles Cereal
  • Scoop the batter into the cupcake liner filling about 3/4 full
  • Bake in the oven for 21 minutes
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack

Frosting directions:

  • Using the standing mixer, beat butter and powder sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add heavy cream and vanilla, beating just until creamy and stiff peaks form.
  • Scoop the frosting into the piping bag and frost the cupcakes.
  • Sprinkle with the Fruity Pebbles Cereal before the frosting dries.
  • We just garnished them with a faux wooden spoon – a half a tongue depressor would work well too!

How to Make Lightning McQueen Cupcakes

Ka-Chow! Who doesn’t Owen Wilson’s Cars character Lightning McQueen? This adorable Lightning McQueen Cupcakes-inspired recipe is all over it! Whether you are a movie fan like we are or are planning that Cars birthday party, these adorable cupcakes are more than worth the effort.

How to Make Lightning McQueen Cupcakes

I know these seem like a bit of work, but most of that can be done in advance – like baking the cupcake bases and holding them in the freezer, or even making the “chocolate” icing transfers.

How to Make Lightning McQueen Cupcakes

Yup – these are a fun and perfect way to help celebrate any Lightning McQueen Birthday. Other fun treats you can add would be Cars Snack Mix, Cars Rice Krispy Treats, and even an activity like using egg cartons to make these adorable little cars! You can use this fun BINGO printable for another activity unless you want to step it up and try this popsicle craft cars idea.

Don’t forget your Rust-Eze Cars Transmission Fluid Punch and, before you know it, you are celebrating in style!

Lightning McQueen Cupcakes Car

That is what we are going to use the icing transfers to make – a car out of the mound of red frosting. It makes these a breeze on the assembly line when it is time to put them all together.

Check out this clip of Lightning McQueen vs. Cruz Ramirez!

Lightning McQueen Edible Cupcake Toppers

A lot of people rely on fondant here. There is just one problem with that: it has a short window of time before you need to eat them. By making icing transfers, you have an edible cupcake topper that will last a heck of a lot longer and let you have a little grace time before putting the Lightning McQueen Cupcakes together.

Ingredients for the icing transfers

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 C powder sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • red, black, blue, and yellow food dye

Equipment you need:

  • five piping bags fitted with the number 2 tip
  • Lightning McQueen’s eyes image from google
  • pen or pencil to trace the image
  • piece of white paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • parchment paper
  • 5 bowls

Directions to make the Lightning McQueen transfers

Locate the image of Lightning McQueen’s eyes on google and print it out. Take your piece of paper and place it on top of the image. Using a pen or pencil trace the image onto the white paper about 3-4 times 4 inches apart. Place the paper with the copies onto the cookie sheet.

Lightning McQueen Cupcakes car

Fit a sheet of parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and tape the edges so that you have a smooth flat area.

Using the standing mixer, combine the powder sugar, egg whites, cream of tarter and vanilla and mix on medium speed  if the royal icing is still a yellow soup, add in 1/2 C powder sugar.

Continue to mix until you get stiff peaks. Evenly divide the icing into the five bowls:

  • Add a few red drops into the first bowl and mix until combined.
  • Add a few more drops to get the shade of red that you want
  • Add a few blue drops to the second bowl
  • Add a few yellow drops to the third bowl
  • Add a few black drops to the fourth bowl
  • Leave the white icing in the fifth bowl white

Scoop the icing colors into a piping bag. Using the black icing, outline the place lines on Lighting’s eyes. Using the red icing, fill in the top part red.

Lightning McQueen Edible Cupcake Toppers

Using the white icing, fill in the bottom part white.

Lightning McQueen Edible Cupcake Toppers

Using the blue icing, add two blue dots for his eyes.

Using the black icing again, add a dot into the center of the blue dot for his pupils. Using the yellow icing, below Lightning’s eyes on an empty space on the cookie sheet, pipe on 24 small yellow dots for Lightning’s headlights.

Using the black icing, pipe on 48 medium-sized black circles for the tires. Set aside for 1 day to dry.

How to Make Lightning McQueen Cupcake Bases

This recipe is for making the cupcake bases ALMOST from scratch. You COULD use a boxed cake mix if you wanted to. We have talked before about how to dress up a boxed cake mix – and no one would really know.

This recipe will make 12 cupcakes.

Lightning McQueen Cupcakes Ingredients:

  • 1 box of french vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) of softened unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1TBSP pure vanilla bean paste
  • cupcake liners
  • cupcake pan

Directions for Lightning McQueen Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan with the liners. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, butter, milk, and vanilla bean paste and mix until combined.

Using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the cupcake liners and fill about 3/4 of the way full. Bake in the oven for about 21 minutes. Pull out and place on the side to cool.

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 C powder sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-5 TBSP heavy whipping cream
  • Red food coloring
  • medium star tip and pastry bag

Lightning McQueen Cupcake Assembly Directions 

Using a standing mixer, combine all ingredients except the food coloring into the bowl and mix on medium speed. If your frosting starts looking like powdery rocks, add another tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. Mix until you see creamy stiffed peaks. Separate the frosting into three bowls.

Add red dye into the bowl and mix until combined. Add a few more drops in to get a bright red. Fit the star tip into the piping bag. Scoop the red frosting into the piping bag. Twist the top of the piping bag and squeeze the frosting down. Take your cooled cupcake and frosting the cupcake from the outer edge.

Gently peel off Lightning’s eyes and place them onto the top center of the cupcake. Add two yellow dots below his eyes, in the corner for the headlights. Add 4 black dots, 2 on each side, for tires.

ready to eat lightning mcqueen cupcakes

Other cupcake recipes you may enjoy:

Animal Cracker Circus Cupcakes Recipe

I have a friend who was looking at doing a Circus themed birthday party for their 6-year-old and she asked me for ideas. I LOVE serving cupcakes to kids because everyone gets the same portion size and they all get the same amount of frosting and decorations. These simple Circus cupcakes have the flair of the circus with the cupcake liners, sprinkles, and animal cracker toppers.

how to make circus cupcakes article cover image

The animal crackers that we’re familiar with today were first made in England in the mid-1800s. They were slightly sweet biscuits shaped like animals. For a while, they were imported to the United States, but in 1871 the D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Company in York, Pennsylvania, started producing them.

Animal Cracker Fun Facts: In total there have been 54 different kinds of animals in animal crackers since 1902. The current crackers are tiger, cougar, camel, rhinoceros, kangaroo, hippopotamus, bison, lion, hyena, zebra, elephant, sheep, bear, gorilla, monkey, seal, and giraffe.

You can use a Funfetti cake mix from a box to make the cupcakes if you want, but if you do? Check out our post on How to Make Killer Cupcakes so your cupcake fans would never be able to tell!

How to Make Animal Cracker Circus Cupcakes

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted sweet cream butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled Animal crackers
  • 1/4 cup multi-colored nonpareils
  • muffin pan
  • cupcake liners

To Make the Circus Cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pop the cupcake liners into your muffin pan. Fill a Ziploc bag with Animal Crackers and hit with something like an ice cream scoop to crumble them up. Fill the bottom of the liners with crumbled Animal Cracker cookies.

Using a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together with a wire whisk. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Now add sugar, and vanilla to the butter and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternate, the flour mixture, and milk to butter mixture beating on low speed until everything is well combined. Quickly stir in the non-pareils. Fill the cupcake liners to 2/3 full with the cake batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 c unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 3 c powder sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • multi-colored nonpareils
  • 12-18 Animal Crackers for garnish
Animal Cracker Cupcake Birthday Recipe


In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, vanilla and cream cheese on high speed until fluffy. Add 3 cups of sugar, one at a time. Add in heavy cream if frosting is looking like sugar pebbles. Scrape the sides to get all of the sugar. Mix until your frosting is stiff and won’t fall off the whisk.
Using a star tip, pipe on the frosting onto the top of the cupcake. Sprinkle with a few multicolored non-pareils and place an Animal Cracker Cookie on top.

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

It was interesting having a Cookie Monster theme for a birthday party…
for my husband.
Do you know that there is NO
Cookie Monster stuff out there that doesn’t say “Happy First Birthday” ?
So, we kept it simple.
Happy Birthday Mylar Balloons, a cake and Cookie Monster cupcakes.
That is what I brought with me to
Salvatore’s Tomato Pies…
where they took care of everything else.
If you are on Pinterest, I am sure you have seen this idea before…
it really isn’t that hard at all.
Here are some tips:
Make the eyes from scratch… using white candy melts (melted in a zippy bag – snipping a corner to control how I put it onto the Silicone Baking Mat)….and chocolate chips for the center of the eyes
Bake cupcakes… I simply used a box mix.
Cut a “slit” into the cupcakes — this will be his mouth and hold the cookie.
Take a can of whipped white frosting —
I added a little almond extract, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and some Wilton blue food paste coloring.
I add the powdered sugar so the frosting will hold it’s shape better when I pipe it on.
It went into my pastry bag, with a star tip and then I frosted the cupcakes…
Then add a pair of eyes…
and put a cookie into his mouth.