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Baby Panda Cupcakes


Like most people, I am a big fan of animal cupcakes. Why? Because they’re adorable. These baby panda cupcakes are not only are they fun to look at, they taste delicious too! This uses my go to cupcake base and american buttercream recipe. A full video tutorial can be seen here.

Vanilla Cupcake Base:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Vanilla Buttercream:

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


  • white sanding sugar sprinkles
  • brown sprinkles
  • chocolate chips
  • candy eye balls (or you can use fondant!)

Servings: 24 mini cupcakes

Bake time: 10 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add in eggs, one at a time. Combine vanilla, oil, and buttermilk in a separate bowl, and stir into the dry ingredients in two installments. I mixed by hand, but you can also mix with a hand mixer. Pour batter into lined mini cupcake pans, filling each liner 1/2 full. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cupcakes are just baked through, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from pans, and let them cool on a wire rack.

As the cupcakes cool, prepare the vanilla buttercream. Whip the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is creamy and smooth. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add salt and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add cream until desired consistency is reached.

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, pipe on frosting using a large, round tip.Dip the frosted cupcakes into a bowl of white sugar sprinkles, making sure that the entire surface of the frosting is covered in  sprinkles. Place two large chocolate chips on the upper third of the cupcake for the eyes, pointy side down. Add a mini dab of frosting onto the back of eyes, and stick them onto the chocolate chips. Place two chocolate chips on the the upper edge of the frosting, for the ears. Put a chocolate chip into the center of the cupcake sideways, for the nose. Using brown sprinkles, make the mouth of the panda. That’s the fun part, you can make the pandas have whatever expression you chose? Below and some mini and regular sized cupcakes that I made.



And TAH-DAH! If these little guys can’t brighten someone’s day, I don’t know what will!


Friday 28th of May 2021

Hi Chelsea, could you please tell me what egg size you use. I live in Ireland & we have small, medium, large & extra large eggs. I know that the wrong size can throw a recipe off. Thanks for all the recipes & advice, truly helpful.

Connie Johnson

Saturday 6th of April 2019

You are so kind, you share your recipes, your frosting and then let us know we should use a different recipe for the cake part of the cup cake.....just not a selfish bone in your body. Thanks


Thursday 29th of June 2017

HI! If I wanted to make an oreo cupcake flavor could I use this recipe as a base or how would I go about doing that?


Wednesday 21st of June 2017

Hi Chelsea, do you have a recommendation to turn the delicious vanilla cupcake base into a strawberry cupcake? Thanks

Stephanie Rutz

Wednesday 21st of June 2017

Chelsea, do you have a recommendation to turn the delicious vanilla cupcake base into a strawberry cupcake? Thanks!