Zebra Cupcakes with “Grass” Buttercream (Safari Cupcakes)

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I am new to this whole food blogging thing so be patient! I’m not an English teacher (that’s my sister), so my grammer and punctuation won’t be perfectly proper. I can guarantee that! I am a model after all, so my brain is only about half the size of a normal person’s right? That will be my excuse.

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With that being said, my twin nieces just entered into the terrible twos…I mean…they just turned two. They had a safari themed party, and can I just say that I never realized how much pressure goes into picking out a hip and trendy theme for your child’s birthday party until I finally had a child of my own! With Pinterest filled with cute party favors, crafty food and beverage tables, detailed theme-oriented decorations, witty personalized invitations, AND thank you cards; birthday parties are no longer just a box of cheap pizza at the community swimming pool… But hey, there is NOTHING wrong with a box of pizza at the pool, just saying.

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Creating the perfect birthday party is no longer just about making your child happy. Many times it’s about impressing the other parents and making their children wish you were their parent. RIGHT?! Sorry, it’s the truth, but lucky for you, I’m here to show you how to make the cutest little safari themed cupcakes that are so easy and delicious that all the other parents AND their children will be wishing YOU were their mom! Oh and your kid will be happy too…

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First, we have to make the zebra stripped cupcakes. Similar to marble cupcakes, but when you bite into them, it will actually look like zebra stripes! No it’s not sorcery; all you have to do is layer your two flavors of batter on top of each other, 1 teaspoon at a time, until you have about 6 layers.

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Marble cakes are great for kids because we all know how indecisive they are. Having to choose between chocolate and vanilla can be seriously mentally draining. I get it. That’s why marble cake was invented! Top these babies with green “grass” buttercream and it’s as simple as that. I used a #233 Wilton piping tip to achieve the grass-like appearance for the frosting, but if you don’t feel like using a piping bag, you can just spread on some frosting, and using the back of a fork or spoon, just dab on the tops up and down to get the frosting to stand up a bit (if that makes any sense.)

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Aww like little cupcake mugshots. I know the frosting is supposed to look like grass, but it sort of looks more like bird turd. That’s what happens when you have a toddler clinging to your leg the whole time…

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My sister gave me these animal print candles to top them with, but mini plastic safari animals would also be super cute and leave the guests with a little party favor that you can just get from the dollar store!

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And here’s a little tip: I just happen to live in hell, I mean… Arizona. The party was outside, and it was like 110 degrees that day (which is sudden death for buttercream frosting), BUT how I prevented the grass from turning into a pond, was by placing the finished cupcakes in the freezer for about an hour before delivering them to the party. It hardens the frosting so that it’s easier to transport and it doesn’t melt as quickly. You could also just leave the cupcakes in the fridge for a few hours and take them out just before you need to leave. But even after keeping them nice and cold, a few of them still suffered from heat exhaustion… to the point where the butter actually separated from the frosting!

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My son didn’t seem to mind much…

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NOTE: You could use regular cocoa powder for the chocolate portion of the batter, but I was given strict instructions to keep the stripes looking as dark as possible, so I opted for the special dark cocoa powder. Alternatively, you could just add a bit of black food coloring to the regular cocoa powder, OR you could use this zebra stripes technique with any color you like and just divide the plain vanilla batter in half and add in a few drops of food coloring to one of the batters.

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Recipe: Zebra Cupcakes with “Grass” Buttercream (Safari Cupcakes)
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These cupcakes are moist, dense, and perfect for a safari themed party!
Recipe: Zebra Cupcakes with “Grass” Buttercream (Safari Cupcakes)
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Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
These cupcakes are moist, dense, and perfect for a safari themed party!
Servings
36cupcakes
Servings
36cupcakes
Ingredients
Servings: cupcakes
Units:
Ingredients
Servings: cupcakes
Units:
Instructions
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  3. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar for 3-4 minutes, until pale yellow and fluffy. Slowly pour in oil while beating. Add vanilla and lower the speed to low.
  4. Alternating, add a third of the flour mixture, 1 cup buttermilk, third flour, 1 cup buttermilk, ending with the remaining third of flour. Mix until just combined.
  5. Pour half of the batter into a separate bowl and mix in cocoa powder and additional ½ cup buttermilk until just combined. 
  6. Using a teaspoon, pour 1 teaspoon of vanilla batter into each muffin tin, then top with 1 teaspoon chocolate batter into the center and alternate until muffin cups are 2/3 full (about 3 teaspoons of each batter). Give the pan a little jiggle in between layers to evenly spread out batter and be sure to put each teaspoon into the center of the cup.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Cool completely before frosting!
Frosting
  1. Using a hand mixer, beat butter until fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. 
  3. Once all the sugar is added, beat on high for 3-4 minutes until very light and fluffy.
  4. Add in vanilla and milk and beat until smooth.
  5. Add in food coloring a few drops at a time until desired color is achieved.
  6.  Add more milk to thin out frosting or more powdered sugar to thicken it if needed.
  7. Fill a large piping bag, fitted with a #233 wilton piping tip, with frosting and pipe onto cupcakes.
Recipe Notes

NOTE: this recipe can easily be halved.

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