Birthday Cupcake Ideas For Numerous Themes

Fun And Fabulous Cupcake Ideas
The Perfect Alternative To A Cake!

Cupcakes are the perfect birthday party "cake." They make it easy to quickly serve to a crowd no matter what the size. They are a no muss, no fuss kind of a "cake."

These fun little "cakes" also lend themselves to easily be decorated. In fact, you can even have little ones put on the final touches. So, if you're looking for some birthday cake recipe ideas in cupcake form, then you might want to check out these little cuties.


balloon cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "Disney UP Cakes." These cupcakes were inspired by Disney Pixar's "Up." Let Carl, Russell, and Dug give your next party a lift with a bunch of "Up"-inspired cupcakes.


  • Cupcakes
  • Bright-colored frosting
  • Ribbons


1. Frost cupcakes in bright colors.

2. Tape a length of ribbon to the bottom of each cupcake, then arrange the cupcakes as shown on a large platter or board. Tie the loose ribbon ends together. On top of the ribbon knot, place Family Fun's print-and-fold paper model of Carl's House.

Cupcake Ideas


cub cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "Cub Cakes." Your cubs will make tracks for the kitchen when they spy thee paw-print cupcakes.


  • Cupcakes
  • White or light chocolate frosting
  • Mint patties
  • Junior mints or chocolate chips


1. To make these treats, frost your favorite cupcakes with white or light chocolate icing (for a furry paw, mix the frosting with grated coconut first).

2. Top each cupcake with a small mint patty. Then place three Junior mints or chocolate chips, points up, around the larger patty for claw marks.

Cupcake Ideas


basketball cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "March Madness Cupcakes." Score big with resident hoop fans by making a batch of these tournament-time treats.


  • Mini white cupcakes (approx. 1-inch tall)
  • White frosting
  • Orange decorators' gel
  • Sugar cookies (approx. 3-inches in diameter)
  • Mini basketball chocolates (available at candy stores)


1. For each basket, trim the cupcake flush with the wrapper's edges, if needed. Frost the cupcake and pipe a ring of decorators' gel around the edge.

2. For the backboard, frost half of a cookie, then add decorators' gel details. Keeping the cookie flat, dab frosting where the basket will go and gently press the cupcake in place.

3. Use another dab of frosting to secure a chocolate basketball. Let the treats set for at least a half hour before standing them up.

Cupcake Ideas


penguin cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "Penguin Cupcakes." Your guests will waddle in for some yummy penguin cupcakes.


  • Vanilla cupcakes
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Chocolate cookies (e.g., Keebler Fudge Shoppe Grasshopper
    Fudge Mint Cookies -- 3 halves per penguin for body and head)
  • Dried apricots (cut into triangles for the beak and feet)
  • Brown M&M's Minis (eyes)


1. Have your child help make a batch of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. (Use your favorite recipe or 1 box of cake mix, which will make 24 cupcakes.)

2. Buy or make 2 to 3 cups of frosting (save some for decorating glue).

3. Decorate as shown, cutting the cookies in half with a knife (a parent's job) and using extra frosting to attach the apricot beak and the M&M's eyes.

Cupcake Ideas


polar bear cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "Polar Bear Cubcakes." They just couldn't bear to keep this cool polar family a secret any longer. Here's how to make your own irresistible trio, starting with Mama Bear.


  • Light-colored cupcakes, 1 regular and 3 mini
  • White frosting
  • Shredded coconut
  • 3 large and 2 small white gumdrops
  • 1 Junior Mint candy
  • Chocolate chips, 4 regular and 4 mini


1. First, frost the top, sides, and bottoms of both a regular-size cupcake and a mini cupcake with white frosting. For each cupcake, frost the bottom first; then use a fork stuck into the bottom to hold the cupcake while you frost the rest of it.

2. Roll the cupcakes in shredded coconut; then, working on waxed paper, set the cupcakes on their sides with the top of the smaller cupcake stuck to the bottom of the larger one to form the bear's head.

polar bear cupcake

3. Add 2 horizontal slices from a large white gumdrop for ears, a Junior Mint candy for a nose, and 2 chocolate chips for eyes. For each cub, frost a mini cupcake and a large gumdrop, then roll them in coconut and arrange them on their sides as shown. Add 2 horizontal slices from a small white gumdrop for ears, a chocolate chip nose, and 2 mini chocolate chip eyes.

Cupcake Ideas


spring showers cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "Spring Showers Cupcakes." If April rains have your kids in a gloomy mood, try whipping up a batch of these Spring Showers Cupcakes, sure to brighten even the grayest of afternoons.


  • Cupcakes
  • Blue food coloring
  • White frosting
  • Airheads taffy
  • Decorating gel


1.To make one, use food coloring to tint white frosting light blue and spread it on a cupcake made from your favorite recipe.

2. With scissors, cut a narrow strip of Airheads taffy for an umbrella handle. Bend up one end and set it on the cupcake.

3. Cut a half-circle umbrella top from a second piece of taffy (scallop the bottom edge and add decorators' gel ribs, if you like) and place it over the handle. Finally, scatter blue decorators' gel raindrops around the umbrella.

Cupcake Ideas


apple cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "A Is For Apple Cupcakes." An apple cupcake a day makes every day a celebration!


  • 1 cupcake
  • Red frosting
  • 1 mini pretzel stick
  • Melted chocolate
  • 1 green gumdrop leaf
  • 1 gummy worm


1. Unwrap the cupcake and ice it with the red frosting.

2. Dip the pretzel stick in melted chocolate, allow it to harden, then insert it for the stem.

3. Add the gumdrop leaf (or make one with green frosting and a leaf tip). Cut a small "bite" out of the cupcake and insert the worm or just half of one!

Cupcake Ideas


baseball cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "B Is For Baseball Cupcake." Play ball with this cupcake shaped like a baseball.


  • 1 cupcake
  • White frosting
  • Red whip licorice
  • Chocolate frosting


1. Frost the cupcake.

2. Using the stitching of a real baseball as your guide, recreate the pattern with the red licorice (or with red frosting and a writing tip).

3. With chocolate frosting and a writing tip, sign the ball with the name of your child's favorite player.

Cupcake Ideas


flower cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "F Is For Flower Cupcake." Celebrate the season with these delightful flower cupcakes.


  • 1 cupcake
  • Yellow (or other color) frosting
  • 1 nonpareil candy


1. With the leaf or star tip on your pastry bag, pipe petals from the center to the edge of the cupcake.

2. Place the nonpareil in the center. Yellow makes a pretty sunflower, but you can make these flowers in all colors.

Cupcake Ideas


grapes cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "G Is For Grapes Cupcake." Gumdrops give this great cupcake its grapes and leaves.


  • 1 cupcake
  • Purple frosting
  • Purple gumdrops
  • 2 green gumdrop leaves (or 1 green gumdrop, halved)


1. Ice the cupcake with the purple frosting and arrange the gumdrops in a grape-bunch shape.

2. Place the two leaf-shaped gumdrops at the top of the grape cluster.

Cupcake Ideas


hedgehog cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "H Is For Hedgehog Cupcake." Your kids will love these adorable hedgehog cupcakes.


  • 1 cupcake
  • White frosting
  • Slivered almonds
  • 1 large nonpareil candy
  • 2 small nonpareil candies
  • 1 red hot


1. Ice the cupcake and poke in the almonds for the prickly quills.

2. Place the large nonpareil upside down for the head and, using frosting as glue, fasten the two small nonpareils for eyes and the red hot for a nose. Handle with care!


ice cream cone cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "I Is For Ice-Cream Cone Cupcake." Your kids won't know if you're giving them an ice cream cone or a cupcake.


  • 1 ice-cream cone cupcake (see directions below)
  • Frosting or whipped topping
  • Sprinkles or jimmies
  • 1 maraschino cherry


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Make the cupcakes by filling flat-bottomed ice-cream cones halfway with cake batter (no further or they will not cook thoroughly).

3. Place each cone in a mini cupcake baking tin for stability. Bake at the recommended temperature (350 degrees) for about the same time as cupcakes.

4. Using a pastry bag with a star tip, swirl the frosting or whipped topping on the cone like soft-serve ice cream.

5. Ask the "customers" if they want sprinkles or jimmies. Top with the maraschino cherry.


yellow jacket cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "Y Is For Yellow Jacket Cupcake." Your kids will be buzzing about these cute cupcakes that look like yellow jackets.


  • 1 cupcake
  • Yellow frosting
  • Black licorice, twist and whip
  • 1 chocolate wafer, halved
  • 1 large Black Crow licorice, halved
  • 1 large yellow gumdrop, halved


1. Frost the cupcake in yellow icing, adding stripes with the black twist licorice.

2. Make wings from the wafer halves, adding a design with a writing tip. Support the wings with icing blobs.

3. Attach the halved Black Crow licorice to the gumdrop for eyes, with the whip licorice -- dipped in frosting -- for antennae.


football cupcakes

Here's the recipe for Family Fun's "Touchdown Treat: Football Cupcake." Score major points with these easy-to-make football cupcakes.


  • A cooled cupcake (baked from your favorite recipe)
  • Green and white frosting
  • Fruit leather
  • Pretzel stick
  • Chocolate-covered almond


1. Frost a cooled cupcake (baked from your favorite recipe) with green frosting, then mark the yard lines with white decorators' gel.

2. For a pennant, wrap a fruit leather triangle around a pretzel stick and plant it in the field as shown. 3. Set a chocolate-covered almond or brown almond M&M football topped with white decorators' gel laces on the field, and you're sure to score points with your favorite sports fans.

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