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My 10-year-old LOVES to cook and bake. This weekend she decided to celebrate the arrival of spring with these cute duck cupcakes. It all began with the shopping list she wrote out for me…

  • 1 box of Lemon cake mix
  • 2 cans of vanilla frosting (1 can + 1/3 of the other can is separated out)
  • Yellow food coloring
  • Yellow cupcake wrappers
  • Marshmallows
  • Donut holes
  • Large package of Starburst
  • Mini M&Ms (I first bought regular ones, which are too big — get the minis!)


And here’s how you make the rubber duckie cupcakes:

1. Bake the cupcakes in the yellow cupcake liners according the to the cake directions and allow them to cool.

2. Put one can + 1/3 of other can of the vanilla frosting into a microwaveable bowl, color it with yellow food coloring, and cover with plastic wrap. Of the remaining frosting, 1/4 cup should go into a Ziploc bag for later.


3. Frost the cupcakes with whatever frosting is leftover in the can.


4. Cut marshmallows in half on the diagonal and put them point side up in the middle of the cupcake (for duck tail cakes) and on the edge of the cupcake (for swimming duckies). Put a donut hole on the edge opposite the tail for swimming duckies.


5. Fill in the corners between the head and tail with frosting.


6. Put the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes. (You’ll note in the photo below that not all the cupcakes were filled in. Alexa didn’t think it was necessary, and opted not to do it with all of the cupcakes. I, personally, think it makes for cuter ducks in the end.)


7. While the cupcakes are in the freezer, microwave the yellow frosting for 45 seconds until it is smooth and liquid, like a thick cream.


8. Take the cupcakes out of the freezer one at a time and DIP them in the yellow frosting up to the edge of the liner. It helps if you swirl them a bit in the frosting. They’ll be drippy when you pull them up — let the drips run off the tails. Repeat until done. This is a bit messy — keep a towel nearby for frosting-covered fingers!



9. Cut orange Starburst on the diagonal to make the duck feet — you’ll want to flatten them into long triangles then use a knife to shape it and put in the lines. Place the feet at the back edge of the duck tail cupcakes. Orange Starburst candies also form the beaks — cut them in half long wise and form each half into a long oval, then fold it over and pinch it at the fold. Push the beaks gently into the frosting-covered donut holes on the swimming ducks — if they don’t stay, use a little frosting you put in the Ziploc bag. Other accessories, like the pink bows and red baseball caps can be created out of the Starburst candies with a little creativity!



10. To make the eyes, cup the tip off the Ziploc bag with frosting and squeeze it to put just a dab of white frosting on either side of the swimming duck’s heads. Immediately place a brown M&M on the white frosting to make the eye. Repeat as needed.




Voila! These were made by a kid (with a little help from mom), so they totally look handmade and very charming, in my opinion.

Note: Alexa got the idea for these rubber duck cupcakes from a cupcake book she has called What’s New, Cupcake? by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. Alexa got her copy MANY years ago, and it’s quite dog-eared now. We’ve made many cupcakes from it, including turkey cupcakes and pie cupcakes! We highly recommend this book!


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