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Sloth Cupcakes

I usually make a mini cake of each cake in my animal cake series, but this week I’m mixing things up and making cupcakes! These sloth cupcakes are inspired by my sloth cake.

They’re made with my chocolate cupcake recipe, which is one of my favorites!

image of adorable sloth cupcakes made with chocolate cupcakes and chocolate peanut butter frosting

These sloth cupcakes are decorated with peanut butter and chocolate buttercream, so they’re just as delicious as they are cute.

How to Make these Adorable Sloth Cupcakes

Let’s walk through each step that goes into decorating these sloth cupcakes!

Step 1: Pipe on the Face

Use a round piping tip to to pipe a circle of peanut butter frosting in the center of each cupcake. Smooth any lines with a small offset spatula or butter knife.

image of an adorable sloth cupcakes made with chocolate cupcake being decorated with chocolate peanut butter frosting

Step 2: Add the Sloth’s Facial Features

Use the dark chocolate buttercream to pipe on the sloth’s eye patches.

Press small round black sprinkles onto the cupcake to look like the sloth’s eyes and nose. Add a long, thin sprinkle to make the sloth’s mouth.

If you don’t have black sprinkles like this, I suggest rolling out small balls with black fondant to create the sloth’s face.

image of an adorable sloth cupcakes made with chocolate cupcake being decorated with chocolate peanut butter frosting

Step 3: Add the Sloth’s Fur

Switch to a small grass piping tip and pipe chocolate peanut butter buttercream fur around the face.

Pipe an extra bit of of buttercream fur at the top of the cupcake to give your sloth a little tuft of hair.

image of adorable sloth cupcakes made with chocolate cupcakes and chocolate peanut butter frosting

Substitutions and Swaps in these Sloth Cupcakes

While I love this recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all of these ingredients on hand!

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe:

  • Buttermilk – You can also use full fat yogurt, sour cream, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free
  • Instant Espresso or Coffee – You can omit the instant espresso if you dislike the taste of coffee, but it really just enhances the chocolate flavor in this these cupcakes.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Dutch processed or dark cocoa powder will work in this recipe too.
  • Melted Chocolate – Any type of chocolate will work to make the cupcake batter and frosting. You can use milk, semi-sweet, or dark. You can also use chopped up chocolate, or chocolate chips.
  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend or cake flour if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Vegetable Oil – You can use any flavorless oil in this recipe. Canola or sunflower oil would work great!
  • Large Eggs – If you have an egg allergy you can use 2 flaxseed eggs instead or a vegan egg replacer like this made by Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Vinegar – This recipe needs a bit of vinegar because it uses baking soda as a leavening agent. The vinegar activates the baking soda and helps the cupcakes rise. You can use white or apple cider vinegar.
  • Unsalted Butter – You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe if needed. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work in this frosting if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Creamy Peanut Butter – Smooth and creamy peanut butters like JIF or Skippy work best in this frosting! Natural frostings have a tendency to separate and this can cause your frosting to break. If you have a nut allergy, just use additional butter in place of the peanut butter in this recipe.
image of chocolate cupcakes baked in a pan

Tips for Making The Best Sloth Cupcakes:

  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Set your cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Mix your cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
  • Use a cookie scoop to easily fill your cupcake liners. It also makes sure your cupcakes end up being the same height.
  • Bang your cupcake pan on the counter before putting it in the oven. This brings any air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.
  • Seal off the top of each of your piping bags with a rubber band to prevent any frosting from seeping out the top of the bag and make the piping bags easier to use.
  • This recipe makes an American buttercream frosting, so it will crust as it sits out and is exposed to air! Be sure to either cover the frosting with plastic wrap if it’s made in advance, or immediately place it into your piping bags.
image of a sloth cupcake that's been unwrapped and is ready to be eaten

Making These Sloth Cupcakes In Advance & Storage Tips:

Make your cupcakes in advance! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for 2 days at room temp, up to a week in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month or the freezer for 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. However, I find frosting them right before serving is best.

image of a sloth cupcake that's been bitten into

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make these sloth cupcakes, I’d love to hear what think! Please leave a rating below.

Also tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media!

Other Posts You Might Like:

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Sloth Cupcakes

image of adorable sloth cupcakes made with chocolate cupcakes and chocolate peanut butter frosting

These sloth cupcakes are decorated with chocolate peanut butter buttercream to look just like little sloths! They're just as cute as they are tasty!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 3 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature (180 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant espresso or coffee (3 grams)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, melted (57 grams)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (32 grams)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (98 grams)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (3 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (2 grams)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature (114 grams)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (73 grams)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar (4 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (217 grams)
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (60 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (2 grams)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (375 grams)
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream (45 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp of melted milk or dark chocolate, cooled (30 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp cup unsweetened baking cocoa, sifted (12 grams)

Additional Tools / Equipment

Instructions

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F / 175°F. Place cupcake liners in baking pans.
  2. Add 3/4 cup of buttermilk and 1 1/2 tsp of coffee or espresso powder into a large bowl. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Add in 1/3 cup melted chocolate chips and 1/3 cup cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients (3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt) into chocolate espresso mixture and stir until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a spatula.
  5. Mix in 2 eggs, one at a time.
  6. Add 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp vinegar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Mix until the batter is smooth - it will be thin!
  7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  8. Allow cupcakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. If you're in a rush (or impatient like me), you can place them in the freezer for 15 minutes to accelerate the cooling process.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Beat 1 cup of room temperature butter and 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a hand mixer or stand mixer until smooth.
  2. Add in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix on a medium-low speed until combined.
  3. Slowly mix in 3 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed. Half way through add in 3 Tbsp of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
  4. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached.
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add an extra Tbsp of heavy cream. If it's too thin, add in another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.
  6. Stir by hand with a rubber spatula to get the frosting SUPER smooth, then place 1/4 of the peanut butter buttercream into a small piping bag fit with a small round piping tip (like a Wilton 3) and set aside.
  7. Mix 2 Tbsp sifted cocoa into the remaining peanut butter frosting on a low speed. Place 3/4 of this frosting in a small piping bag fit with a small grass piping tip.
  8. Add 2 Tbsp of cooled, melted chocolate into the tiny bit of remaining frosting. Stir until smooth then place in a small piping bag fit with round piping tip (like a Wilton 3) and set aside.

Decorating these Sloth Cupcakes

  1. Use the peanut butter buttercream to pipe a 1 inch circle on top of each cupcake.
  2. Use the dark chocolate buttercream to pipe on the sloth's eye patches.
  3. Add small, round black sprinkles to the cupcake to look like the sloth's eyes and nose. Use a long, thin sprinkle to make the sloth's mouth. If you don't have black sprinkles like this, I suggest rolling out small balls with black fondant to create the sloth's face.
  4. Pipe chocolate peanut buttercream around the sloth's face with a grass piping tip to look like fur.
  5. Repeat with remaining cupcakes! Feel free to get creative with each sloth's facial expression to give them a little variety.
  6. Then enjoy! These cupcakes taste best fresh, but frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature overnight in an airtight container or be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

Making Mini Sloth Cupcakes

If you want to make mini sloth cupcakes, this recipe can be baked in mini muffin tins! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, and they only need to bake for 9-10 minutes at 350 F / 175 C.

Tips for Making The Best Sloth Cupcakes

  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Mix your cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
  • Use a large cookie scoop to easily fill your cupcake liners. It also makes sure your cupcakes end up being the same height.
  • Bang your cupcake pan on the counter before putting it in the oven. This brings any air bubbles that are trapped in the batter to the surface.
  • Seal off the top of each of your piping bags with a rubber band to prevent any frosting from seeping out the top of the bag and make the piping bags easier to use.
  • This recipe makes an American buttercream frosting, so it will crust as it sits out and is exposed to air! Be sure to either cover the frosting with plastic wrap if it's made in advance, or immediately place it into your piping bags.

Sloth Cupcake Variations:

  • To make eggless, dairy free sloth cupcakes, use an alternative dairy milk to replace the buttermilk and heavy cream (almond, oat, or soy), vegan butter sticks to replace the butter, and an egg replacer like this.
  • To make gluten free sloth cupcakes, swap in your favorite gluten free flour blend for the AP flour this recipe calls for, and be sure to overmix your batter and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before baking for best results.

Making These Sloth Cupcakes In Advance & Storage Tips:

Make your cupcakes in advance! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for 2 days at room temp, up to a week in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer

Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature overnight or be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container, but I find frosting them right before serving is best.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 360Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 39mgSodium 277mgCarbohydrates 55gFiber 2gSugar 44gProtein 5g
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