Adorable Chocolate Panda Cupcakes

I have so many things to say about these cupcakes.

First, they're delicious. Second, they're easily the cutest thing I've ever made.

I love pandas so when I saw Bakerella make these earlier this week, I knew I wanted to give them a shot. Then, I had a huge project and deadline at work this week with a client that happens to have "panda" in their name. It was meant to be.
They all  had their own personalities.
I planned to make both the cake and frosting from scratch but I didn't have enough powdered sugar on hand, so I used a Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting. The actual cake recipe is amazing & very simple. There used to be an independent grocery store by our house that made giant chocolate chocolate chip muffins that I would (often) stop by and get after work. That store closed over a  year ago but this recipe tastes just like the muffins I've been missing. Tickle me pink.

My last story about these guys is that I went to three different stores to find supplies. First, JoAnn, who didn't have what I wanted. Then Michaels, where I got the confetti sprinkles for the eyes and the sanding sugar. Both of those stores had the edible ink pens I needed, but they were around $9. I didn't want to spend $9 just to draw on some pupils so I skipped them. But, when I went to my final store, Meijer, to get the chocolate sprinkles, I found the same set, on clearance, for $3.99. AND THEN...they rang up for $0.79. Made my day. By the way, if you are in the market for edible ink pens, I would not recommend the Wilton ones I got. They're not great. 

On to the important part. The recipe.

One lone Panda.
Source: Bakerella 
Makes: 48 mini cupcakes. You can't really tell from the pics, but they are minis.

Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Fill mini cupcake tray with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together with a wire whisk.
Add eggs, oil, vanilla and milk and mix until combined.
Add hot water and mix.
Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Cool and decorate. 

Decorating Supplies
Frosting (I used Betty Crocker cream cheese)
Decorator bag and Ateco tip 807 (I used a ziploc bag & a random tip)
White sanding sugar
Chocolate Chips (I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips because that's what I love)
Jimmies (Chocolate or black)
Pastel confetti sprinkles (just the white ones)
Black edible ink pen 
Mini cupcake wrappers
See the clearance tag?!
Decorating Directions
Frost your cupcakes. I piped them, but you don't have to. 

Pour some baking sugar into a bowl. Once frosted, smush (gently) your cupcake into the sugar, fully coating it. 

Then it's really up to you. 

Two chocolate chips up at the top for the ears.
One sideways (& upside down?) for the nose. 
Then I drew the pupils on the white sprinkles. Be careful because if you apply too much pressure, they break. Lesson learned.
Use a little bit of frosting to "glue" the white sprinkle to a chocolate chip for the eyes.
Then position the eyes however you want.
Making the mouths with the chocolate jimmies was fun because you could give them personality. The smirking ones were my favorite.

See Bakerella's post for way better step by step instructions with pictures. I just looked at her pictures & copied. Everyone that saw these said the pictures don't do them justice. I was proud.


  1. These are sooooo cute! I saw them over at Six Sisters Stuff and had to come take a look! They look so proffessional - well done!
    Have a great weekend
    Rebecca @

  2. Oh my goodness these are absolutely beautiful!!!! They look like they just came from a bakery! BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  3. Aw these are adorable!

    We'd love to see this at our Beautify it Monday link party open now!

    -Four Sisters

  4. Love your panda cupcakes!! Thanks for being a part of our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." Hope to see you again real soon!! -The Sisters

  5. These are adorable--they are Kung Fu panda cupcakes!!! I love them!

    New follower,

  6. I had to Pinterest these, they are too adorable! I need to create an occasion to make them soon, because I like them so much. Newest follower, would love a follow back at Enter to win the giveaways while you're there! :)

  7. OMG - these are sooooooooo cute and adorable!
    You did a wonderful job

  8. Saw this from Something Swanky - you did a beautiful job! Pinning so others can admire too :).

  9. Hi where you able to make 48 eyes out of one bottle of rainbow confetti? Need help not sure if one is enough.

    1. One bottle was plenty for me. Hopefully you see this!

  10. I'm in the UK and im not sure what kind of sugar you used to dip the frosted cakes in. Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

    1. Hi Vicki,

      I used Wilton's Sanding Sugar but I just looked on their site and they don't ship to the UK. Do you have a Hobbycraft near you? I just googled it quick and it looks like they might carry it. Or this site ships internationally & has it
      Good luck!

  11. I've never heard of sanding sugar. Is it similar in consistency to granulated ?
    Thanks for the help! I'm so excited about making these :)

    1. No, not like granulated sugar. It's a little chunky, not fine like regular sugar. I guess you could compare it to the consistency of coarse seas salt? You can kinda see in the first picture up top - it's more of a sprinkle. You can also see a decent picture in the link I posted in the last comment. I need to remake them & take some better pictures =)


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