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How to Make Festive Cupcakes Decorated Like a Turkey and Other Thanksgiving Tips

How to Make Festive Cupcakes Decorated Like a Turkey and Other Thanksgiving Tips

Make your Thanksgiving dessert table extra festive this year with cupcakes decorated to look like little turkeys.

Need a new, fun Thanksgiving dessert? John Kanell of Preppy Kitchen is here to save the day! Through Preppy Kitchen, John has created a food and family focused blog with great recipes and ideas, just like these turkey cupcakes.

Perfect for all of fall, these chocolate cupcakes are soft and rich and topped with a festive buttercream turkey.

Check out these two helpful hosting tips from John for your Thanksgiving dessert table:

See Also

Make the cupcakes and frosting ahead of time, fill the piping bags, and decorate a few of the cupcakes to use as examples. Now let your guests take a shot at piping some turkeys. Little ones will especially enjoy making these and it will keep them busy while you finish setting up!

If you’re making pumpkin pies this Thanksgiving try warming up the filling before baking! Add to a pot over medium-low heat and whisk until warm, then pour into pie shell and bake. Your pies will bake more quickly and evenly!

Turkey Cupcakes

John Kanell of Preppy Kitchen
Moist and rich chocolate cupcakes topped with a festive buttercream turkey. These cute turkey cupcakes are sure to be the star of your Thanksgiving dinner!
Course Dessert


For the Cupcakes:

  • 1/4 cup sour cream room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1/4 cup hot coffee
  • 1/3 cup veggie oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder nice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 2 lbs confectioners sugar 907g 900g
  • 1 lb butter 450g unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Blue food coloring


For the cupcakes:

  • Preheat to 350F. Add papers to a cupcake tin.
  • Sift the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  • Add the wet ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  • Whisk until smooth and combined.
  • Distribute batter evenly into the cupcake papers and bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow time to cool.
  • For the Vanilla Buttercream:
  • In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
  • Sift the confectioners' sugar into the creamed butter.
  • Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and milk.
  • Separate into multiple bowls.
  • Add food coloring to create yellow, orange and red the turkey colors. Use cocoa to get the brown base color.
  • Transfer each color to piping bags fitted with wilton 103 piping tips. Transfer the brown to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

For the Assembly:

  • Start with a red ruffle around the perimeter of the cupcake. Leave a gap open for the body.
  • Pipe an orange ruffle, then a yellow ruffle.
  • Pipe one continuous body and head.
  • Add a white dot and mini chocolate chip for the eye.
  • Pipe a beak on the side of the turkey head with the yellow buttercream.


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