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Bug Cupcakes

Martha Stewart Baby, 2001


A birthday cake needn't be large and layered. Clever slicing and colored icing transform simple cupcakes into real delights. Gumdrop heads and licorice antennae may be the first things picked off and popped into happy mouths. Finally, something from the insect world you don't have to grab out of children's curious hands.


Cupcake liners
5 Small bowls
5 tints of food coloring
Serrated knife
Small offset spatula
Licorice strings
Pastry bags, couplers, and round tips

Prepare: 1 recipe One-Bowl Chocolate Cake in cupcake liners; and 1 recipe Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Simple Sugar Icing. Divide frosting into 5 small bowls, and tint each bowlful a different color with food coloring.

Bug Cupcakes How-To

1. Use a serrated knife to cut the domed tops evenly off of each cooled cupcake. Cut each top in half.

2. Use a small offset spatula to evenly spread 1 1/2 tablespoons colored frosting over each flat cupcake top. Then position halved cupcake tops on top of frosted cupcakes, pressing gently to adhere wings to soft frosting. To make bugs, attach tops with the domed side up and points meeting just inside edge of cupcake and extending off the opposite side. To create butterflies, attach pieces, cut side up, with rounded edges in center of cupcake (domed shape will create angled wings). Refrigerate until frosting is firm and wings are secure, about 30 minutes.

3. Prepare gumdrop and licorice heads: Snip licorice strings on a diagonal into 1 1/2-inch lengths. Use a toothpick to make 2 holes in the top of each gumdrop on opposite sides. Insert the pointed end of a licorice strip into each hole to create antennae. Using extra frosting as glue, attach gumdrop head to cupcake.

4. Decorate wings as desired with assorted colored frostings: Place frosting in pastry bags fitted with couplers and round tips, and pipe over surface of wings. Alternatively, gently spread frosting with a small offset spatula over the surface of the wings as desired. For lots of frosting, spread each wing with a base coat of frosting first and pipe out decorations in a different color. For just a touch of frosting, pipe simple decorations onto the bare black wings.

Comments (15)

  • danielledaphne 19 Jun, 2013

    formulate the design and technology decisions necessary to make sure successful technology implementation projects. mcitp mcts // mcse mcsd // mcsa

  • Nousheenkiran 6 Sep, 2012

    Delicious recepie.I like so much thanx for sharing.


  • goodwitchjill 17 Aug, 2010

    I always keep a very thin fishing line in my kitchen for such cutting jobs! I learned that trick working with ceramics.

  • Katjewave 25 May, 2009

    Shalau, Thanks for the tip about thread cutting! That would make it much safer to do with children, too.
    I hope your trip to Washington is terrific!

  • shalau 25 May, 2009

    standard cake mix is 24 cupcakes. Personally I would recommend buying "confetti" cake mix or "cherry chip". It is a white cake mix with multicolored or cherry "chips" in it (one of my fav's for 20 yrs) if you want to stretch a recipe then use smaller cupcake tins

  • shalau 25 May, 2009

    Easier and less messy to use thread to cut off tops just tie it under the lip of cupcake and gently pull ends till it slices through (kinda like tying shoes) it will make a nice straight slice...if you prepare it, it is safer for your children, and it involves them. String cutting is great for baking just be creative!

  • bff201 26 Mar, 2009

    I'm making a fundraiser so I can go to a special trip to washington. I'm planning to make cupcakes, cakes, and some cards to sell at my dad's work. :] Possibly make some hot coffee too. :)

  • shop26 14 Mar, 2009

    How many cupcakes does this recipe make?
    Sunflower Rae: did you make the cupcakes to replace a traditional birthday cake or in addition to a cake?

  • SunflowerRae 12 Mar, 2009

    I made these for my son's 1st birthday as well - using a plastic bag with the tip cut off instead of icing tips. The One Bowl Chocolate Cake recipe can't be beat.

  • aweidenh 12 Nov, 2008

    I made these for my son's 1st birthday. They tasted really great but..plan lots of time for this! If you want to make them look anything like the photo you need lots of patience because it is more work than it seems with all the different details, trying not to stir crumbs.

  • TangJeen 31 Oct, 2008

    This is soooo cute. I'll make some for my husband!!

  • cocojo 5 Jun, 2008

    I"m planning to make these for my daughter's birthday. Did anyone make ahead and freeze? just wondering if it's an option...if I should cut the tops off and then freeze OR cut them off once thawed.

  • elsafer 29 May, 2008


  • phamack 28 Apr, 2008

    Need to add how many cupcakes this makes.

  • cocoyolive 28 Mar, 2008

    my daugthers favorite love it..........