May 4, 2015

For a recent event we thought it might be fun to TURN ONE OF OUR CAKES INTO A CUPCAKE.  So we took our LADYBUG CAKE (which you’ll find on page 166 of CAKE MY DAY!) and shrunk it down to jumbo cupcake size. Like we did in our book, we decorated the inside as well as the outside—and ended up with a cupcake that makes you say WOW twice!


Pink Cake Batter (Duncan Hines Pink Velvet or your favorite scratch cake)

One box of unglazed chocolate cake doughnut holes (Dunkin Munchkins)

Vanilla frosting

Red or neon pink food coloring

Red decorating sugar

Chocolate frosting

Thin pretzel sticks

Chocolate cookie crumbs (crushed Oreos)


Small round black candies (Pearls)

Round black candies (Sixlets) or chocolate cereal puffs (Cocoa Puffs)

Black licorice lace (or substitute thin pretzel sticks)


We began with a pink batter. We used Duncan Hines Pink Velvet cake mix with buttermilk added in place of water to make them really firm and tasty.

To get the surprise inside, spoon a small amount of batter into the bottom of each jumbo paper cupcake liner. Then add an unglazed chocolate cake doughnut hole to the cup.

ladybug batter dot

Finish filling the cups to cover the doughnut holes.

lady bug batter



Bake as directed on the box. (The addition of the doughnut hole will shorten your baking time a bit so check for doneness at the beginning of the cooking time range, not the end.)

ladybug out of oven

Let the cupcakes cool completely before decorating.

To decorate the Ladybugs, tint a batch of vanilla frosting pink using red or neon pink food coloring. (Canned frosting like Duncan Hines Creamy Homestyle works well for this, or use the Almost Homemade Buttercream Frosting recipe from any of our books. Steer clear of whipped frostings.)

Add a large dollop of the pink frosting to a cupcake and, using an offset spatula, shape it into a smooth mound. (Don’t be stingy with the frosting because we want our bugs to have nice rounded shapes on top.) Holding the cupcake on its side, gently roll the top in a bowl of red decorating sugar to coat. Once the frosting is coated you can use a clean offset spatula or your finger tips to smooth out any imperfections or bumps and make the tops perfectly round.

For the heads, we used more of the chocolate doughnut holes. Cut enough doughnut holes in half so that each of your Ladybugs will have a half for the head. To make the heads easier to coat, insert a pretzel stick into the flat side of each doughnut hole half. Holding the doughnut hole by the pretzel stick, frost the rounded side with chocolate frosting. Then roll the chocolate frosted doughnut in Oreo cookie crumbs.

To assemble the Ladybugs, pipe a line of chocolate frosting down the center of each sugar coated cupcake. Attach the head at one end of the line of frosting by pushing the pretzel stick into the cupcake. (If the pretzel is too long, just break off an inch or so before pushing it in. If the pretzel end shows at the top of the doughnut hole, just push it down and cover it with some of the crumbs.)

For the eyes, using frosting to secure, attach two Smarties candies with a black Pearl candy at the center. Press three spots to either side of the line of chocolate frosting using small round black candies like Sixlets or small round cereal pieces like Cocoa Puffs. Add 2 short pieces of licorice lace for the antennae. (You can also use the thin pretzel sticks for the antennae. Just snap them in half to shorten.)

And there you have it—a cupcake that looks like nature’s most popular bug, INSIDE AND OUT!

Ladybug Surprise Inside

If this project makes you curious about ladybug legend and lore, find out more by clicking here.

Happy Decorating,

Alan and Karen

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