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.

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    • says

      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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