10 Cute Cupcake Ideas for Kids' Birthday Parties

5 birthday cupcake ideas
Cupcakes make a great alternative to a birthday sheet cake.

Looking for something different than the traditional sheet cake for your child's birthday party? Want a dessert that kids will love but you won't have to cut and serve? Consider having cupcakes at the next birthday party you host! Because each cake is a single serving, you can mix things up as much or little as you like. You can make them all uniform or experiment with different flavors and toppings. If you're interested in having these delectable treats at your next party, we have 10 cupcake ideas for you that are sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike.


10: Cupcake Cake

What if you could make one giant cake out of multiple cupcakes? You can: All you have to do is tier them like a wedding cake. No matter how simple, complex or different from one another your cupcakes may be, placing them on a tiered serving platter will give your party a beautiful centerpiece. Each layer can look the same or feature different kinds of cake or frosting. You can purchase a tiered stand or assemble your own, but make sure it's sturdy enough to handle a kid's birthday party (where there might be more than a few reaching hands). The stand can be square or circular, and the size of your tiered tower will depend, of course, on the size of your party and the number of cupcakes you're planning to serve.


9: Filled Cupcakes

You can hide the filling inside the cake itself or make the delicious addition more obvious. Either way, they'll be delicious.
You can hide the filling inside the cake itself or make the sweet addition more obvious. Either way, they'll be delicious.
Deborah Jaffe/FoodPix/Getty Images

Yeah, we know, cupcakes are an almost-perfect dessert. But what would make them even better? Filling! Surprise your party guests with mini cakes filled with berries, cream or pudding. These delicious centers are sure to please, but making them does require a few extra steps. If you're a novice at making cupcakes, consider finding a recipe that uses a boxed cake mix and has a simple procedure for filling each piece. Most recipes for cupcakes with cream or pudding centers have you fill them using a pastry bag after they've been baked. If you don't have a pastry bag on hand, you can use a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag.


8: Rainbow Cupcakes

These cupcakes are great for a birthday party with a rainbow, spring, summer or "Wizard of Oz" theme. Use food coloring to make cupcakes with colored layers. Divide your batter evenly into five mixing bowls and add food coloring to each. Make a bowl of yellow, green, red, blue and purple batter or whatever shades you like. If you want bolder, darker colors, consider using gel food coloring, which yields more intense shades and doesn't dilute the batter like liquid dyes can. If you prefer more pastel hues, start by adding very little coloring and increase the tint to your desired shade. After your bowls of batter are ready, make a rainbow by spooning about a tablespoon of one color into the sections of a muffin pan, and then repeat with different layers. Bake your cupcakes, and you'll have rainbow treats ready to be frosted for your party!


7: Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

If you're hosting a party in the winter, consider making cupcakes that look like cups of hot chocolate. You'll need chocolate cupcakes, white frosting with marshmallow crème and candy canes. After all your cupcakes have baked and cooled, top them with a few dollops of white frosting so they look like melting marshmallows in a cup of hot chocolate. Sprinkle the tops with cocoa powder. To make handles on your "cups," cut the curved tops off your candy canes and stick them into the side of the cake with the rounded side sticking out. Voilà! You have a tasty dessert that's guaranteed to warm up your party.


6: DIY Cupcakes

Sprinkles are always a kid-favorite cupcake topping choice.
Sprinkles are always a kid-favorite cupcake topping choice.
Jamie Grill/Iconica/Getty Images

One way to both feed and entertain your party guests is to let them decorate their own cupcakes. Put out various kinds of frosting, sprinkles and other toppings and allow the kids to get creative. Some stores sell edible cake decorations shaped like flowers or letters that you can use, but miniature marshmallows and chocolate candies also serve as easy toppings kids will love. This kind of decorating can get messy, so it may be better to do this activity at smaller parties where things are less likely to get out of hand (and onto the counter and floor). You'll also want to make sure you have multiple aprons to keep your guests from staining their clothes.


5: Cupcake Cones

Who says cones can only be used for ice cream?
Who says cones can only be used for ice cream?

One of the trendiest cupcake concepts we found combines the fun of cupcakes and ice cream without the drippy mess. There's no ice cream required (unless you want it on the side, of course), and making the tasty treat is easier than it sounds.

What you need:


  • cake mix
  • a box of flat-bottomed ice cream cones
  • frosting
  • decorations of your choosing

Prepare the cake mix as you normally would. Instead of filling the cups of a muffin pan, fill each cone about half full with cake batter, and stand each one in the muffin pan cups.

Here's the easy part: the cake bakes right inside the cone. Just cool, decorate and enjoy!

4: Cupcake Caterpillar

This sugary caterpillar is more about the decoration than anything else; really, it's a trail of cupcakes set up in a curvy line. Bake a batch of cupcakes in the birthday boy or girl's favorite flavor(s) and allow them to cool completely before decorating. About six cupcakes make a good body, single file.

If you're baking for multiple guests, double the number or make double the amount in mini cupcakes instead. Another alternative: Use a small sheet cake as the head of the caterpillar instead of a cupcake.


Decoration ideas include small, cut pieces of licorice string to use as the legs, feet and antennae and gumballs, M&Ms or chocolate chips for eyes.

3: Cupcake Pops

Cupcake pops might just be the cutest dessert ever invented.
Cupcake pops might just be the cutest dessert ever invented.

Everything seems more fun when it comes on a stick, doesn't it? And don't discount cake -- it sure is tasty when it's served like a lollipop.

Pops aren't what we'd normally consider when we think of cupcakes. However, you'll find a variety of recipes with a Web search (which usually call for crumbled cake and icing mixed together to form bite-sized balls) but this is a great opportunity to let your imagination run wild. Decorate small batches of cake to look like beach balls or baseballs, for example, or you could press each tiny dessert into a cupcake-shaped cookie cutter and decorate it to look like a mini cupcake -- but on a stick. However you do it, the pops will be cute, unique and oh-so tasty!


2: Ice Cream Cupcakes

Ice cream cupcakes -- what a way to combine two birthday favorites into one sweet treat! To make them, whip up cake batter (or yummy brownie mix) and fill muffin cups only about halfway or less (about 1 tablespoon of batter, give or take depending on the size of your pan). Bake and cool.

Fill the remaining space in the cup with ice cream and put the whole pan into the freezer. Decorate them just before you're ready to serve.


Also consider an alternative method: bake cupcakes as you normally would and allow them to cool completely. Instead of decorating with a traditional frosting and other goodies, frost them with a scoop of your birthday boy or girl's favorite ice cream flavor.

Either way, serve immediately so the ice cream doesn't melt!

1: Sushi Cupcakes

Sushi cupcakes? No worries: there's nothing fishy about this sweet treat.

Yellow, white or lemon-flavored cupcakes can be cut up to look just like the real thing, except a lot more sugary. We recommend using white frosting with white sprinkles or coconut shavings to make make a good substitution for sushi rice.Consider using jelly beans for roe, gummy fish candy to sub for the real thing and Fruit Roll-Ups to recreate nori (the seaweed paper used in sushi rolls). Dried fruits can also be used as decoration to keep it a little healthier -- dried mango looks a lot like ginger.

Kids can also get in on the action and sculpt these creations themselves.

Regardless what kind of cupcakes you make for your kid's big birthday bash, they're sure to be a hit. Just don't forget to make a few extras for yourself!

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