Cake (cupcake) decorating can be so expensive and overwhelming at first.  Here I show you some of my techniques for making beautifully decorated and professional looking cupcakes that won't break the bank and that anybody can do.  These cupcakes have a plain vanilla base, simple butter creme frosting, and are decorated with  homemade fondant jungle animals that taste delicious.

This is not your typical flavorless and hard fondant, the homemade marshmallow fondant is delicious and creates toppers that any kid, or adult, would love to eat.

Step 1: Baking the cake

This instructable focuses on a method for decorating cupcakes, the combination of flavors are endless and completely up to you.  I enjoy a simple vanilla cupcake with traditional butter creme frosting to showcase the fondant sculptures on top of each. 

Bake the cake:

Purchase your favorite boxed cake mix (even the off brands work great, they are all the same basic ingredients) and prepare it following the instructions on the box.  Make sure to use room temperature eggs so that your cupcakes bake up light and fluffy.  Using boxed cake mix is not cheating (These will still be homemade), I believe it is a simple way to make sure the cupcake tastes great and proportions of sugar, flour, baking powder, etc are correct.  I've experimented with many different homemade batter recipes and I've found that its not the base cake that makes the dessert special, but rather it is the optional fillings and toppings that make the cupcake special. 

Pour your cupcakes into cupcake pans that have been lined with cupcake papers.  I like to use solid aluminum wrappers because they are typically the least expensive and (typically 79 cents for 50-75!) will not distract from the sculpted piece or decoration that you top the cupcake with.  Designer cupcake papers are overrated and way too pricey!

Do not under bake the cupcakes! Many inexperienced bakers often worry about over baking the cupcakes so they end up taking them out too early only to find a sticky mess.  Test the cupcakes with a toothpick or by pressing the top with your finger to see if they spring back. 

Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 2 minutes then flip them out onto a cooling rack to completely cool before frosting.
Phoenix Flare11 months ago
I want to make them out of clay and keep them
Phoenix Flare11 months ago
Adorable! You must be good at children's parties!! Look stunning! I WANT one!
kbateman made it!1 year ago

These are amazing! I am making them for my Daughter in laws baby shower. These are what I have done so far, pretty easy, I am impressed!

Cute for a baby shower
saosport2 years ago
Amazing. I will be trying this. I am thinking about making the animals for a noah's ark cake :) Thanks
DailyChaos2 years ago
I made these for my daughters birthday and am very happy with how they turned out! Thanks for the instructions! Do you have to refrigerate them if you make them in advance?
rrkrose3 years ago
Ahh.. These are adorable!
wow!that is easy!next time i decorate a cake i will use this recipe!
It is really good.
wow i didn't know fondant was this easy !!! awesome
N1K1_1NC.3 years ago
Do you know if i can wear gloves while making the fondant and if there is a specific type of glove to use?

Nice instructables :)
swilde13 years ago
Oh myyyyyy... this is so cute! But dont think I will be able to make these small animals :P
This is awesome...Great work!
stevequag (author) 4 years ago
I suggest refrigeration or freeze it. However leaving it out probably wouldn't hurt since it is all shelf stable ingredients. A few days on the counter should be just fine as long as it is wrapped in plastic wrap.
chaugen14 years ago
Should you refrigerate the remaining fondant or is it okay to leave it out?
hypnostics4 years ago
I love your step by step process! Thank you for this!
RockinRo4 years ago
These are too dang cute good idea for a baby shower or kids bday party. =)
These look adorable! Well done on making so many, I don't think I'd have the patience.
stevequag (author)  VengefulSpoon4 years ago
Thanks, your bonfire cupcakes are a great idea. Might make some myself come fall.
ckmurphymi4 years ago
These look so awesome!!!
mquagliotto4 years ago
Very nice
These are really cute I love them!
lmajeske4 years ago
Steve, What an awesome job!!!!
stevequag (author) 4 years ago
I'll admit it was hard to let them go
recchia114 years ago
They look way too fabulous to eat!
I was going to participate in the contest, but i ran out of time! great work again! :)
ShoutOUT4 years ago
Wow, that's great. How long did it take?
stevequag (author)  ShoutOUT4 years ago
I'm not really certain since it was made in steps. The fondant figures are made in advance and come together very quickly. I would say a dozen in 2 hours, however this was my first time making them so it took some time to get the hang of it. I now could probably average 5 minutes per figure. baking the cupcakes took 20 minutes, some time to cool, then frosting them took about 20 min. It turned out to be a fun afternoon of baking :)
mary candy4 years ago
hard to beat you man!
they are so cute!!!
Omg! I dont think they could look more cute and more yummy! Awesome Job!
ChrysN4 years ago
They look amazing, great job!