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Shark and Beach Cupcakes

Martha Stewart Kids, Fall 2003

Happy times with kids call for cheerful cupcakes. Easier to serve than cake, cupcakes require no slicing, no plates, and no forks -- and every child gets her fair share of icing.

The designs on this page start as Chocolate Cupcakes or Vanilla Cupcakes iced with Swiss Meringue Buttercream -- perfect for spreading in thin layers or sculpting into thick mounds (and licking from the bowl).

The cupcakes can be baked a week ahead and frozen, but decorate them no more than a day before serving. Set up an assembly line, and put kids in charge of affixing candy eyes, gumdrop cheeks, and other trimmings. Pack the cupcakes in a shallow plastic container, and stuff crumpled waxed paper in between. Then dole them out and watch kids marvel for a second before opening wide!

Shark and Beach Cupcake How-To
In June, look out for blue paper fins slicing through icing waves. Some might prefer a sandy beach, so stand a drink parasol in a dune of icing dipped in finely ground graham-cracker crumbs.


Comments (16)

  • Devani Anjali Alderson 4 Jun, 2013

    Those look good even for older kids.

  • ikookies 9 Aug, 2012

    The cupcakes turned out wonderful and the 2 year old birthday boy loved them! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Fiona Johnson 20 Jun, 2012

    Loved these cup cakes. My son is called Finn so these were ideal. I made the shark finn out of chocolate by melting some chocolate spreading on baking paper, refrigerating and then used a crescent moon cookie cutter (perfect shape) simply cut in half. Thanks Martha x

  • GinaBean04 2 Jun, 2012

    I made only ocean cupcakes with Swedish Fish: Aqua Life for my friends BBQ and the kids loved them and the adults thought they were a great idea. Everyone wanted to know how I made them. They were a big hit. :-)

  • RachaelA 26 Jul, 2011

    Another cool idea to make the shark cup cake totally edible is to use marshmallow fondant to make the shark fins.

  • RNjojo 20 Jun, 2011

    I have made these numerous times for both my daughter and son -- usually for the last day of school parties. I make my own buttercream icing, and the fins out of the blue cardstock just like the directions say. They are a huge hit! I use multicolored drink umbrellas to make it look tropical. The blue shark cupcakes I make chocolate, and the beach ones vanilla, so there is a choice for everyone. So much fun! They look exactly like the picture!

  • EmilieD 6 Jul, 2010

    this is so cool i read all the comments and got so many good ideas for my little cousin's beach party. i have 6 lifesaver candies floating in the "ocean" with teddy grahms (excuse the spelling) and gummy bears floating atop. i have little beach umbrellas with fruit roll up towels little chocolate "shells" i got at the candy store! i'm so exited! i'll post you later to see how they turned out

  • CA112 29 Dec, 2009

    I think the sand ones would be cute with a gummy lifesaver as a float and a teddy graham bear sitting in it.

  • foodluvrr 4 Aug, 2009

    I LOVED the idea of beach inspired cupcakes and couldn't wait to try this recipe. However my experience was an absolute disaster! The cupcakes turned out ok, but the butter separated from the egg whites which meant the blue dye didn't mix in well either. The frosting then became super stiff, unless it sat out too long and then the butter would melt. In the end, I didn't even care for the frosting since it was like eating a stick of butter. Any ideas on what went wrong and how I could fix things?

  • Govega 2 Jul, 2009

    Also I think that you may be able to add small chocolate candy "shells" in the sand... I am going to do this next weekend for a bbq we are having.

  • sliceofisaaclife 8 Oct, 2008

    these were a huge hit at my son's second birthday party. i made him a nemo cake, and then used these as accents to lend an adult aspect to the party. I used a regular cake mix and tinged store-bought vanilla icing blue. For the shark cupcakes, I used blue cardstock, but put the fins in right before the party so they didn't soak up any oil from the icing. The adults raved about them and they were so easy to make! And the kids were more interested in these than the cake!

  • ZanesMom 12 Aug, 2008

    I made mine with fruit roll up "beach towels" under the umbrellas. I also used blue food coloring and made the shark cakes blue to look more like water. They turned out really great!!!

  • laurambrogan 1 Aug, 2008

    blue food looks disgusting, why not white icing with minimal blue piping? this just looks too unappetizing

  • omporteous 31 Jul, 2008

    Where can I get grape fruit leather?

  • amclausen 23 Jul, 2008

    I chose to make the fins out of grape fruit leather. It had the texture we were looking for and my son loved the fact it was edible!

  • Lila-C 19 Apr, 2008

    you can also make the fins out of white chocolote coloured blue - shape in on baking paper and use when set - you can put a template under your paper if you like.