An afternoon of Panda Cupcakes



Yesterday afternoon my friends Denise, Tisha and I embarked on a mission to make some panda cupcakes from Alan Richardson and Karen Tack’s book, which Denise received as a Christmas present. The book’s creations are adorable! Making these was a great group project since all the components that transform these cupcakes into pandas take a considerable amount of prep work. By the way, the lovely kitchen you see in these photos is at Denise’s parents house.


The cupcake decorating ideas in this book vary from the whimsical, like our pandas, to the elegant like a white Christmas wreathe.  It also comes with a cupcake decorating kit, which includes metal decorating tips and some disposable pastry bags. However, one of the book’s big draws is that you need little more than some candy, plastic storage bags and time.


There’s also a section in the back with recipes for making your own cupcakes from scratch. We saved some time by using white cake mix and vanilla icing from the grocery store, but I’d be happy to give the book’s cake recipes a go next time.


Making 24 of these little guys took us three hours, complete with messes, improvised ingredients and laughs. Ooodles of fun photos after the jump!eggsintomixer

We started by assembling all the necessaries on the counter and using Mrs. Giaimo’s brand new red stand mixer to get our cupcake batter ready. Aaahhh, I love the whhhiiiirrrr of a stand mixer. I definitely aspire to own one of my own some day.


And then, into the cupcake pans and then the oven. We baked them about 20-something minutes, as per the instructions on the back of the box. The mini cupcakes had to come out a few minutes earlier.

While the cupcakes baked, we broke open two packages of chocolate sandwich cookies to get working on some limbs and fur. Tisha painstakingly covered individual breakfast cereals in chocolate sauce for ears and — carefully! — cut some brown chocolate candies in half for noses.




Denise used a food processor to turn not-so-successfully halved cookies into cookie crumbs, or panda fur. Once the cupcakes had emerged from the oven and cooled, it was time to start frosting and assembling.



Unfortunately, this one tumbled onto the floor and became a magnet for dog hair and fuzzies from the rug.


After I snatched it up before Ally could gobble it up, it went into the trash. This actually worked out just fine because an exceptionally odd-shaped panda body (big cupcake) was elected to be eaten pretty early in the process.

One panda down, we proceeded to assemble the other 23.






And thennnnn, voila! Our first creation was a little less than thrilled.



The one below is Frankenpanda. So called because the chocolate chip + icing combination we tried for his eyes resulted in a monstrosity that was not quite as cute as the others.


Pretty soon we had ourselves a platter full of pandas.


They weren’t as polished as the ones in the book…


…but they definitely had, um, character. And hell if they weren’t tastey too.


If you liked these, I would definitely recommend giving “Hello, Cupcake!” a try. All of the projects are excellent, whether as showstopping desserts for a crowd or a fun afternoon project for friends.



16 Responses to An afternoon of Panda Cupcakes

  1. renee says:

    i have nothing to live for because i was not there with you guys making panda delights…

  2. Paul says:

    Wow, never before have I seen cupcakes I would like to both devour and keep as souvenirs! They’re cute, and I could see them bringing about months of terrible jokes about panda cupcakes.

  3. Denise! says:


  4. Kristin says:

    Amazing photo blog!! Gosh, like I knew how much effort you guys put into those cupcakes but this really takes the cake! (Get it?!!!!!)

  5. Tisha says:

    I love those pictures!!! Good times, ugly cupcakes…but good cupcakes!

  6. Mercina says:

    So cute! Good job guys!

  7. Reeni says:

    Those are adorable!

  8. editorjones says:

    @Renee – Don’t worry, we’ll make some when you’re back in town!

    @Paul – Yeah, I had a hard time eating the last of the pandas I took home with me. He was starting to look pretty droopy though.

    @Denise – You’ve always been famous. 🙂

    @Kristin – Thank you, thank you. I do what I can. I ❤ your corny joke.

    @Tisha – I particularly liked your Pirate-Panda. Teehee.

    @Mercina – Thanks Mercina! Our work definitely paid off that afternoon.

    @Reeni – Thank you Reeni! It’s not often that food is this cute before I eat it.

  9. GrannyLooHoo says:

    I love the intensity with which you all worked on the cupcakes–what a cute post!
    I have a red KitchenAid too; I hope you get your stand mixer soon 😉

  10. editorjones says:

    Thanks for coming by Granny. Making those cupcakes was quite a feat. And I hope a KitchenAid comes my way soon… I’m thinking I want a green one.

  11. Kat says:

    Awesome pictures and a great job! My eyes were glued when I saw Panda Cupcakes! I love pandas. I am actually planning to carry a small panda plush to every restaurant I go to so that it can be my new scary trademark! lol Those cupcakes are too cute to eat! ^_^

  12. londoneater says:

    very cute cupcakes and I’d probabaly have to agree with Kat that they look too cute to eat …..

    …actually I take it back, no cupcake is too cute to eat.

    kang at

  13. editorjones says:

    Thanks Kat and Londoneater. 🙂 Next time I have an afternoon to kill and a handful of friends/laborers, I’ll def. be making them again.

  14. I think I would have used miniature Oreo cookies for the panda ears.

  15. Javi says:

    That panda cupcakes are lovely and look delicious. My girlfriend is gonna love them.


  16. spider cupcakes…

    […]An afternoon of Panda Cupcakes « hungry student[…]…

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