Turkey-decorated cupcakes

It’s a little bit early to start thawing out the turkey for your autumnal gathering, but in keeping with this week’s Craft Wars Thanksgiving theme, I thought it would be fun to show you my buttercream turkey-themed cupcake recipe.

Turkey-inspired cupcake

My Glitterville forefathers would have most likely brought these festive fowl to the table of that most noted luncheon oh-so-long ago! These tasty turkeys, made from chocolatey cupcakes topped with real buttercream frosting and candy trims, far exceed the boundaries of the kid’s table.

Turkey-decorated chocolate cupcake recipe

Yields approximately 12 cupcakes



  • Chocolate cupcake mix of your choice
  • Buttercream frosting (recipe below)
  • Dark chocolate morsels, melted
  • White chocolate morsels, melted
  • Decorator bags (or zip-close bags with the corner snipped off)
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie sheet or pan
  • Candy corn
  • Red jelly beans
  • Red food coloring


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 4-6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Prepare and bake cupcakes according to package instructions.
  2. To make the frosting, place butter in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add four cups of confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla.
  4. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about three to five minutes.
  5. Gradually add the cocoa and remaining sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. If mixture is too soft, add more sugar; if too thick, add more milk until you reach the right consistency.
  6. Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set up if chilled. Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

Decorating directions:


Frost the cupcakes

Cover the tops of your cupcakes with the chocolate buttercream using a knife to create feathery peaks or with a decorator bag fitted with the star tip (optional). Shape the head by putting an extra dollop of frosting on one side.

Frost the cupcake


Create chocolate decorations

To make the turkey tail feathers, fill two disposable decorator bags with melted chocolate, dark in one and white chocolate in the other. Snip the tip off of the decorator bag, using a pair of scissors, and pipe the dark chocolate outline of the feathers onto a wax paper-lined sheet pan, followed by the white chocolate to fill in the centers. Create the eyes using the same technique and place in freezer to chill until hard (about five minutes), then remove from freezer and peel off the paper.

Create the outline of the chocolate feathers

Fill in the chocolate feathers with white chocolate


Make turkey trimmings

Assemble the tail by pushing your piped chocolate feathers into the frosting across the back in a fan shape. Next, add a piece of candy corn for his beak and a few additional pieces to add more color and to give him wings. Complete his look with a bit of red frosting (reserved out of your frosting bowl before adding the cocoa) on the top of his head and a red jelly bean for his waddle!

Assembling the turkey-inspired chocolate cupcake

Final product: Turkey-themed chocolate cupcake

Final product: turkey-inspired chocolate cupcake

Traditional vs. Modern Thanksgiving

More fun cupcake ideas

Tree trunk cupcakes
Cupcakes in an ice cream cone
Fun daisy cupcakes for birthday parties


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