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Jungle Animal Cupcakes

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  • Prep 2 hr 45 min
  • Total 2 hr 45 min
  • Servings 24
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Lions and tigers, oh my! Create a jungle of decorating activities by making kids' favorite animals.
Updated May 20, 2022
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Cupcakes and Frosting

Lion Decorations

  • 1 1/2 cups caramel popcorn
  • 12 brown miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits
  • 12 pretzel sticks
  • 12 pieces Cheerios™ cereal (any flavor)

Tiger Decorations

  • 12 brown miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits
  • 12 orange chewy fruit-flavored gumdrops (not sugar coated), cut in half crosswise, top halves discarded

Monkey Decorations

  • 12 brown miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits
  • 6 miniature marshmallows, cut in half crosswise, pieces flattened
  • 12 small round chocolate-covered creamy mints

Zebra Decorations

  • 6 round vanilla wafer cookies
  • 24 brown miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits
  • 6 black chewy licorice-flavored gumdrops (not sugar coated), cut in half vertically


  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Decorate cupcakes to make 6 lions, 6 tigers, 6 monkeys and 6 zebras.
  • 2
    In small bowl, mix 1/2 cup chocolate frosting with black food color to make black frosting. Place in resealable plastic freezer bag; cut small tip off 1 corner of bag. Use black frosting to decorate lions, tigers, monkeys and zebras (steps 3 through 7).
  • 3
    Lions and Tigers: In medium bowl, mix 1 cup vanilla frosting with enough yellow and red food colors to make orange. In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon orange frosting with 3 tablespoons white vanilla frosting to make lighter orange for muzzles. Frost 12 cupcakes with darker orange frosting. For muzzle, spread or pipe small circle of lighter orange frosting on each cupcake.
  • 4
    For lions, place caramel corn around edges of cupcakes for mane. For eyes, add brown baking bits. For whiskers, break about 1/2-inch pieces off each end of pretzel sticks and insert in cupcakes. For ears, add cereal pieces. Using black frosting, pipe on mouth and nose.
  • 5
    For tigers, use black frosting to pipe on stripes, nose and mouth. For eyes, add brown baking bits. For ears, add gumdrop halves.
  • 6
    Monkeys: Frost 6 cupcakes with chocolate frosting. In small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon chocolate frosting and 2 tablespoons vanilla frosting to make light brown. For muzzle, spread or pipe circle of light brown on each cupcake that starts in middle and extends to edge; pipe small tuft of hair on opposite edge. For each eye, attach brown baking bit to marshmallow half with frosting; place on cupcakes. With black frosting, pipe on nose and mouth. For ears, add mints.
  • 7
    Zebras: Cut small horizontal slit in top of 6 cupcakes near edge of paper cup. Insert edge of vanilla wafer cookie into each slit to create elongated face, adding small amount of vanilla frosting to cookie before inserting to help stick. Frost cupcakes with vanilla frosting. For muzzles, frost cookies with black frosting. With black frosting, pipe on stripes and mane. Add brown baking bits for nostrils and eyes. For ears, add black gumdrop halves, cut sides down.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens


Nutrition Facts are not available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • Animal-themed foods make back-to-school time fun!

    When August starts drawing to a close, kids may get anxious at the thought of heading back to school. So put a little pep in their steps with animal-themed lunches, dinners and after-school snacks!

    To see recipes, click on title or photo.

    1. Panda Bread

    Any old sandwich can go from a disappointing "aww" to a pumped up "AWWW!" when it's made with Panda Bread. Basic white bread becomes a real treat when slices look like pandas! Just imagine lunchbox sammies made with this!

    2. Jungle Animal Cupcakes (Featured!)

    Lunchbox desserts don't get any cooler than this for young ones! Cute animal faces peek up at your kiddo for a real day brightener. You could also make these into a super fun after-school project, letting the kids put the faces on themselves when they get home!

    3. Ominous Flaky Owls

    Owls are so "in" again! So this is another fun sweet treat for your kids, made from crescent dough, chocolate stars, cinnamon and sugar. The only prob? They're so cute your children may not want to eat 'em. (Jk! They'll totally be gone before you know it!)

    4. Silly Snake Dogs

    These Silly Snake Dogs are way easy, because all you have to do is wrap breadstick dough around a hot dog, decorate the little snake face and pop 'em in the oven. You can serve them alongside a Friendly Dog Salad for a balanced meal. What an awesome dinner idea for the first day of school!

    5. Spooky Spiderweb Pizza

    Another great dinner that can let your kids get their hands into it is this Spooky Spiderweb Pizza. You can make the base, and let the kiddos make spiders and other critters to decorate it with. Keep this recipe handy -- Halloween is right around the corner, so you're sure to use it again!

    Lions and Tigers and Bears

    Here's the recipe for the cute featured cupcakes. For other recipes, click on the photo or recipe title above.

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    Check out these Tablespoon articles with lots more super fun food for kids:

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