March of the Penguins Cupcakes

The penguins have been out fishing all day and now are on their way home in a line, moving past icebergs and more fish.  The last penguin in line has the bucket of fish that they’ve caught.  Happy Birthday Kindra!  This decorating idea comes from the “Hello, Cupcake!” cookbook; it’s not hard to do but it is a little time consuming.  Gathering all the needed ingredients was a little time consuming as well so I’ll tell you where I found some of the hard to find ingredients and maybe that will help save you some time.

Makes 7 penguins, 4 icebergs and 1 fish bucket

12 vanilla cupcakes (see previous post), 11 baked in white paper liners and 1 baked in a silver foil liner (I just did mine in the regular liners)


4 plain mini doughnuts (found these in the bakery section at Target)

1 (16 oz) can vanilla frosting

7 plain doughnut holes (also found in the Target bakery)

1 (16 oz) can dark chocolate frosting

black food coloring (found this at Zurchers party supply)

4 large marshmallows

7 thin chocolate cookies (Famous Chocolate Wafers) (couldn’t find these after looking in about 3 stores so I just used Keebler round mint cookies)

7 yellow fruit chews (Starbursts, Laffy Taffys)

14 mini chocolate chips

Icebergs and Bucket:

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup blue and white rock candy, plus more for garnish (Zurchers happened to have rock candy suckers so I bought a couple of those and just broke them up while taking the candy off the stick)

small colored fish candies (the ones in their pictures looked hard like sweet tarts but I couldn’t find those so I ended up using multi colored Swedish fish)

1 strand black licorice lace


1  Cut mini doughnuts in half crosswise.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of vanilla frosting into small ziploc bag, press out excess air, seal and set aside.  Spread vanilla frosting on 7 of cupcakes and place mini doughnut half, cut side down, on top.  Spread more vanilla frosting on top of mini doughnut and place doughnut hole on top.  Spread more vanilla frosting up sides of doughnut holes to fill gap as smoothly as possible.  Place cupcakes in freezer 10 minutes, until slightly frozen.

2  Tint dark chocolate frosting with black food coloring.  Microwave in 1 – 2 cup microwavable measuring cup, stirring frequently, until it is texture of lightly whipped cream, about 35 seconds.  Holding 1 chilled cupcake by its paper bottom, dip it into black frosting just up to liner.  Hold cupcake above surface and allow excess frosting to drip off (be patient here and let this happen otherwise you end up with runny, messy looking penguins).  Turn right side up and let stand.  Repeat with remaining 6 cupcakes.

3  Using clean scissors (I sprayed mine with Pam before cutting), cut 1/8″ off both flat ends of each marshmallow.  Trim 1/4″ off 1 side of 7 of marshmallow circles to create straight edge.  Press 1 cut marshmallow piece onto black frosting on each cupcake, straight edge next to paper liner, to make penguin’s belly.

4  Using a serrated knife, make 2 parallel cuts in each chocolate cookie 1/2″ in from opposite sides.  The 2 curved outside pieces will form the penguins wings.  (I just cut the Keeble cookies carefully in half.)  Trim 1/4″ from end of each wing.  Press trimmed end of cookie into frosting just below penguin’s head, 1 on each side, securing them with dot of black frosting.

5  Cut 4 of yellow fruit chews in half on diagonal to form triangular beaks.  For each penguin, place cut side of 1 of triangles onto the black frosted doughnut hole, pressing gently to secure.  Cut and shape remaining 3 1/2 fruit chews into 14 three toed feet.  (I didn’t bother with the feet.)  Snip 1/8″ corner from bag of vanilla frosting.  Pipe white dots for eyes and add mini chocolate chips, pointed end in.  Pipe a small white highlight on each eye (didn’t bother with this either).

Icebergs and Bucket:

1  Spread remaining vanilla frosting on top of remaining 5 cupcakes and press shredded coconut into the frosting.  (I dumped the coconut on a paper plate and pressed the top of each cupcake into the coconut.)  Arrange the rock candy on top of 4 of cupcakes in paper liners to make ice.

2  Add fish candies and licorice lace to remaining cupcake in foil liner.  Attach other end of licorice lace to one of penguins.  (I put frosting on the back of each fish to secure it to the bucket and tied the lace around the base of the cupcake and then tucked the other end under the penguin’s arm.)

3  Arrange penguin cupcakes in a curved line on a serving platter.  Place 2 fruit chew feet in front of each penguin.  Place iceberg cupcakes around penguins and sprinkle serving platter with fish candy and rock candy.  Tuck a fish candy under wing of 1 of penguins.  (I took a box and cut the lid off then lined the bottom with blue scrapbook paper and set up my penguins inside that.)

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