Mermaid Tail Cupcakes

Building on the mermaid cake trend, I wanted to make some mermaid cupcakes! They’re the first cupcake of a cupcakes series I’m starting on YouTube, and I wanted to kick things off with something colorful! I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe, which is a slightly modified version of Life Love and Sugar’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe.

I swapped out the regular milk and used buttermilk (my personal preference!), and made it all in one bowl! I hate making extra dishes, and always try to simplify recipes when baking.

I always frost my cupcakes with a half batch of my American buttercream, and usually use a Wilton 1m tip (open star).

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Additional Items:

  • white fondant
  • tylose powder (optional; accelerates the drying of the fondant)
  • rolling pin
  • pastry cutter
  • purple, sky blue, and green food coloring
  • mermaid colored sprinkles (I used these from Neon Yolk Shop!)

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 17 minutes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Mix in the egg until well combined.

Divide the batter evenly between 3 bowls, and color one a light purple, one a light blue, and one green. Alternate spooning the different colored batters into the cupcake liners, to created a layered look.

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Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2 way full, and bake for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

While the cupcakes bake and cool, make the mermaid tails. Color 1/2 cup white fondant light purple, 1/2 cup light blue, and 1/2 cup light green using gel food coloring. Knead the color into the fondant, twisting and pulling until the color is evenly spread throughout the fondant. Add 1/2 tsp of tylose powder to each color, to accelerate the firming process. If the fondant gets sticky, let is rest for a few minutes, then resume kneading. Combine the three colors into one long log, and twist the colors together. Roll this out, the fold one more time repeat to blend the colors together.


Cut out a 2 inch mermaid tail from cardboard, and use this a template to cut out 12 mermaid tails. Use the wide end of a round frosting tip to make a webbed patter at the end of the tail. Flip the frosting tip over, and use the smaller opening to make the scales on the tail. Use a fondant tool of knife to score the tail. Place on parchment paper and set aside for at least 2 hours to harden.

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Next, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Divide the frosting between 2 bowls, and color one light purple, and the other light blue using a drip of gel food coloring. Place the light purple into a frosting bag with a round opening ( I just cut my piping bag to have a 2 cm opening). Place the light blue frosting a separate bag with an open star tip (Wilton 1M).

Once  the cupcakes are fully cooled, add a swirl of purple buttercream. Pour mermaid sprinkles into a small bowl, and dunk the cupcake into the sprinkles to cover the frosting entirely.

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Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake, and then gently insert the fondant mermaid tail into the center of the swirl.

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I work in finance during day, and like to think of myself as a baker by night! Follow me here at, on instagram @chelsweets, and on YouTube ( ) to see my creations :D

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