How to Make Shark Cupcakes
Sharks come in all shapes and sizes — and so do these cupcakes!
The Gang's All Here
When we dreamed up these shark cupcakes, we didn't want to leave anyone out. Sure, we could have just created a classic great white shark cupcake, but there's a whole other world of sharks out there. Your shark party isn't complete without our entire lineup — a great white shark, a leopard shark, a whale shark, a blue shark and (of course) a hammerhead!
Plus these desserts are actually two-in-one: the sharks are cake pops, which make it easy to mold the different shapes.
Here's What You Need
(see frosting recipe below)
- 1 dozen cupcakes, cooled (choose any recipe you like)
- 3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- Food coloring: blue
- Candy melts: 2 x 12 oz bags of white candy melts, 1 x 12 oz bag of black candy melts
- Small, round black sprinkles
- Candy Eyes
- Edible blue cake paint
- Cupcake pan + liners
- Mixing bowls
- Baking sheet
- Parchment or wax paper
- Microwave-safe bowls or candy melting pot
- Small circular cutter (optional)
- Small knife
- Lollipop sticks
- Styrofoam block
- Food-safe brushes, assorted sizes
- Offset spatula
Vanilla Frosting Recipe:
For these cupcakes, you could use two store-bought cans or make this small-batch recipe.
Beat the butter for a few minutes on medium speed, preferably using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. On slow speed, gradually add the confectioners' sugar 1 to 2 cups at a time, allowing each batch of sugar to incorporate with the butter before adding the next. Increase speed to medium and add the vanilla, cream and salt. Beat for an additional 3 minutes.
Set aside ¼ cup of the white frosting. Color the remaining frosting with blue food coloring. Cover both frostings until use.
Remove the liners from half of the cupcakes and crumble the cupcakes into a bowl. Gradually mix in 1-2 spoonfuls of frosting until the cupcake mixture can hold a ball shape. Roll out small ping pong-sized balls from the mixture and shape each ball into your desired shark head shapes, using this guide:
- Great White Shark, Leopard Shark, or Blue Shark: Roll the ball into a cone shape, keeping the tip of the cone flat.
- Hammerhead Shark: Roll ball into a boxy Letter T shape.
- Whale Shark: Roll ball into a flattened oval shape. Use your finger to make a small dent into the top for the mouth.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Place the molded shark shapes onto the lined sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.
Melt 1 x 12 oz bag of white candy melts and a handful of black candy melts in a melting pot or in the microwave. For the microwave, place the melts in a microwave-safe bowl and melt at 50-percent power, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted, roughly 2 - 3 minutes. Once mixed, you should have a dark grey color; if needed, add more white or black melts until you’ve reached your desired color.
In separate bowls, melt ¼ cup of the black melts and ¼ cup of the white melts and set aside.
Prep the Pops
Remove the cake balls from the freezer. Dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and insert the chocolate-dipped end of the stick into the bottom of each molded cake pop, inserting until you’ve reached the approximate halfway point inside.
Using a circular cutter and a small knife, cut fin shapes for each shark from unmelted white candy melts. Use the melted chocolate to add on the fin shapes, using this guide:
- Great White Shark, Leopard Shark, or Blue Shark: Insert one fin into the backside of the shark cake pop.
- Hammerhead Shark or Whale Shark: Insert two small fins at each side of the shark cake pop.
Dip each pop into the melted grey candy until the molded cake is completely submerged. Tap the pop against the side of the bowl a few times and swirl the stick to remove excess candy. Stand each pop into a styrofoam block to allow the pops to stand while drying. Place in the freezer to speed up the setting time, if necessary.
Start the Great White Shark
Brush on an oval-shaped section of melted white candy to the front of the pop for the face; let dry. Brush on a black oval-shaped section atop the white for the mouth; let dry.
Add Teeth and Gills
Use a toothpick or piping bag and a drop of grey melted candy to add on gill details to each side and to affix the sprinkle eyes. Use a food-safe brush or toothpick to add teeth with the melted white candy.
Great White Shark
Start the Hammerhead Shark
Brush melted white candy onto the front of the pop for the body; let dry. Use a toothpick or piping bag with a drop of grey melted candy to affix the sprinkle eyes to the face.
Add on a black candy mouth and small white candy teeth, using a fine food-brush or toothpick.
Start the Leopard Shark
Brush on an oval-shaped section of melted white candy to the front of the pop for the face; let dry. Brush on black leopard spots across the back using a brush or toothpick.
Add Eyes and Mouth
Use a toothpick or piping bag with a drop of grey melted candy to affix candy eyes to the face. Add on a black mouth and small white teeth, using a food-safe brush or toothpick.
Start the Blue Shark
Brush on an oval-shaped section of melted white candy to the front of the pop for the face; let dry. Paint the grey colored shark body blue using edible blue cake paint.
Finish the Face
Use a toothpick or piping bag with a drop of melted candy to affix the candy eyes to the face. Add on a black mouth, black nostrils and small white candy teeth, using a food-safe brush or toothpick.
Start the Whale Shark
Brush melted white candy onto the front of the pop for the body; let dry. Use a piping bag or toothpick to add on white spots across the back.
Finish the Face
Affix the candy eyes to the face with a drop of melted grey candy. Add on a small black mouth to the face. Finish with a ring of grey melted candy to the top.
Assemble the Cupcakes
Frost the remaining cupcakes with blue frosting. Add a highlight of white frosting to resemble ocean waves before smoothing with a spatula.
Use scissors to trim the ends of each cake pop stick, before inserting into a cupcake. Once assembled, place the cupcakes in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow the shark pops to firmly set into the cupcakes.