Marzipan Animals on Chocolate Cupcakes

Marzipan is like an edible Play-Doh. Kids can color it and make anything they can dream up. It's such a great handmade gift to top off a homemade cupcake. In this case, it's for a wonderful grandfather, who's usually on the other end of offering the treats.
photographed by Gail Albert Halaban.

Step-by-step instructions and tips on how to make marzipan animals can be found at the end of this post.

Divide the marzipan into equal parts to make different colors.

Add gel food color, (its easier to wash off than it looks).

Sculpt your favorite animals out of the marzipan.

We had a bunny, a dog, a wolf, a frog, some pigs, a couple of whales and a few very exotic sea creatures.

The kids put the paper liners in the pans and filled them with batter.
For an extra surprise we cut an upside-down cone shape out of the tops of the cupcakes...
...and filled them with chocolate-strawberry ganache.

Put the cupcake tops back on, spread a little more ganache on top, and pipe on vanilla icing.

Place a marzipan animal decoration on top to look like they're popping out of the cupcake!

Proud decorators.


Supplies needed: Marzipan, toothpicks, gel food colors, corn starch or confectioner's sugar (to coat work surface), water.
Instructions: 1. We started with 2 rolls of pre-made marzipan and a 4 pack of primary gel colors from the supermarket.

Color marzipan: Add just a few drops of gel colors to each piece of marzipan you'd like to color. Once you have your 4 basic colors, plus the natural off-white that the marzipan comes in, you can combine the colored marzipan pieces together to make more colors.

3. Coat a marble or other work surface with corn starch or confectioner's sugar. Roll out simple shapes of marzipan
like balls or cones for the heads, and mounds of a similar size for the shoulders. Shape tiny pieces into triangles or floppy ears, round noses, eyes or what ever you'd like for your animal.

4. Place 1/2 toothpick into one of the mounds as a support for stacking the head. Stick the head onto the "shoulders" with a few drops of water. Attach the smaller details with a drop of water.
5. Use a toothpick to make impressions for eyes, nose and or mouths, or paint them on with food color using the tip of the toothpick.

6. Place finished animals on top of iced cupcake.

Tip: We set-up models, like stuffed animals (and the family dog happily lay at their feet), before we started so that the kids could have references for basic shapes and ideas.

(above) our project was inspired by the marzipan cats and dogs in this terrific children's book called Bake Sale by Sara Varon about Cupcake and his friend Eggplant.


  1. Great Pictures! Cute Kids! It's really one of worthy experienced to see the exclusive way to make attractive and impressive Chocolate Cupcakes. As Marzipan Animals illustration is really looking great on those. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for posting this - gorgeous idea! Just wanted to ask how far in advance could you make the animals without them becoming all dry or inedible? Thank you...


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