Tutorial: Candy Penguin Cupcakes

I’ve mentioned a time or two those moments of inspiration in the kitchen, like the Cheesy Garlic Bread Swirls where this idea just popped into my brain and it ended up being just as tasty as I imagined it would be. Well, one day, I was just sitting there, minding my own business, and I thought, “PENGUIN CUPCAKES! I must make some!” I poked around on the internet a little for ideas and I checked out the penguins in Hello, Cupcake, (which, by the way, are completely adorable in the book, but I saw some truly sad re-creations online). Discouraged by what I was unable to find, I set out to make something of my own that met the following criteria:

–Everything tasted good. No fondant and no weird candy that no one likes. I wanted the whole thing to be completely edible and completely yummy.

–No weird or ridiculously expensive ingredients. I wasn’t about to send you out to find marzipan or something.

–I wanted to be something that, if they were patient enough, pretty much anyone could make. I didn’t want any painting, dripping issues, or drawing, and I wanted minimal sculpting. All you need is to be able to follow the directions, give the penguins plenty of time, and have a steady hand. And another set of steady hands doesn’t hurt, either! 🙂

One great thing about these is that they can be done in steps. Make the cupcakes one day and freeze them in an airtight container. Make the frosting another day. Build the penguin bodies and then finish them off a few days later. It’s really pretty flexible. Also, you can use unfrosted store-bought cupcakes as well as store-bought frosting if you’re not up to doing this 100% from scratch. No matter how you do it, though, this is such a fun way to spend an afternoon with your kids (although probably your older kids) or a friend or even for a date if your husband/boyfriend/potential suitor can stand the sheer cuteness of it all.




  1. I just had to chime in and let you know that I laughed at your "posing for senior portrait" comment! 🙂

    These are sooo cute!

  2. OMG! These are fantastic, just fantastic. But then that's the nature of penguins, no matter what form.

  3. These might be a lot of work but they are GORGEOUS!!! I'd do it! In fact, I just might!

  4. Too cute I will have to make these with the kids while they are on Christmas break!

  5. I wish I had kids… I'm sure they would enjoy these more than my boyfriend! Hahah! These cupcakes are just too cute!

  6. I love your blog site, it is so fun. We tried our first recipe last night and it turned out great! Thanks!

  7. These are wonderful!!! I'm going to (attempt) make them for my daughter's "lucky day" for her birthday at school next week. She is so excited! Thanks for sharing these and wish me luck 🙂

  8. Those penguins are super cute! Don't know if I am that ambitious. I was just on the Pioneer Woman's site and you guys were in her list of top 20 food blogs that people read I thought that was pretty great, congratulations.

  9. These are super cute!

    BTW- (in case you didn't know this already)Pioneer Woman had a giveaway and to enter you had to link to one of your favorite recipes on the web. She posted the statistics today and listed the top twenty sites that were linked to. Guess what…you gals made the top twenty! I was happy to see you there b/c I just love ya over here:0)

  10. I also came to tell you that I saw you on PW Cooks! How cool! If I remember correctly you both love her site. Can you believe that you were in the top 20? WOW! That's up there with Martha, Smitten Kitchen, and more! WOW! Cool.

  11. I just finished making these for my daughter's kindergarten birthday party! They turned out pretty darn cute, they would have been perfect had I been a little more patient 🙂 I used a few shortcuts that might be helpful for others if they are for a group of easy-to-please kiddos – I used the ready to melt tubs of dipping chocolates that you just pop in the microwave, they worked great and seemed to stay melty for a long time, plus clean up was a breeze. One tub decorated 19 penguins. For the eyes, I used the packages of cookie frosting with the small tip (white) and the black decorator gel for the iris. It worked great and was easy! Thanks SOOO much for the idea, my daugher is incredibly excited to take these to school!
    I just love Our Best Bites!!!

  12. SO excited about the meat pies! I went to Kenya in July and we were served these as a special treat. I was a little leery about trying them, but when in Kenya….
    The were DELICIOUS! Cannot wait to make this for my husband and kids…. I think they will be a huge hit!~

  13. I came across these while browsing your site because I have not been disappointed once! If you put out a book I will BUY SEVERAL!

    My niece has penguin love so we all love them (she's two). I've sent her mom this link! Ironically – the niece's name is Kate 🙂

    Keep up the AWESOME work!

  14. Thank you for this recipe! I was planning on using the Hello, Cupcake! recipe for penguins, and I was naturally fearful of all the dipping and odd ingredients, but your penguins seem much safer and novice-friendly. I’m trying these instead! (:

  15. I love the penguins and think the sweets you used to create them are really great. I need to buy some of the Trolli Strawberry candies. I haven’t tried them, but they sound yummy. I might swap out store bought candy eyes in place of piping on the eyes just to make it even easier. So cute!

  16. I love these…I have 2 in pre school and they are learning about penguins this week…making them for tomorrow! Im gonna heed the advice and buy cupcakes…and we have the big campfire marshmallows, and mini chocolate chips for the eyes. also if you cant find candy corn (like me) Im gonna use the orange slice candies….thank you! I know the kids will be excited!

  17. Can’t wait to try try these! Thanks for the no-fondant recipe – I’ve tried that stuff (at least the pre-made variety) and tastes/chews like sweet shoe leather…>:P
    Loved your ‘senior portrait’ comment – will def’ly look for your books – let us know if/ when you do one! (Maybe ‘The Best of the Bites’???;-)
    Keep up the great work!

  18. Omg…these are too adorable not to make. I can’t recall the last time I said “Eeek!” as I looked over a recipe. I’m going to try making these for Easter and alternating a bit. Instead of milk chocolate, I’m going to *try* white chocolate for the body…and if I’m feeling daring, I might add some yellow food dye. They look so delicious too. You are amazing for coming up with these!! I only hope mine will turn out as nice. Okay, I need to close the window b/c I can’t stop looking at these lil guys. (Does that mean I have a problem?) Lol. Thanks for sharing, and look forward to more recipes!

  19. I think that these are so cute and I do a lot of cupcakes on special birthdays and other occasion so this is a great idea. I will keep this in my records for future use.

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