A couple of weeks ago after posting my owl cupcakes, I received an email from a reader wondering if I had a recipe or method for decorating cupcakes to look like ladybugs.  Her daughter’s first birthday is coming up and the party is ladybug-themed.  Hello, Cupcake! has tons of fun and unique cupcake ideas, but ladybugs is not one of them.  I began writing back to her to tell her I did not know of a ladybug cupcake, but then immediately an idea popped into my head and all at once I knew how I would make them.  So, instead I wrote her back saying that I would give it a shot and see how she liked them.  Well Sara, here you go – I hope these are what you were looking for!

I had such a blast coming up with these on my own.  I did a lot of experimenting with different “materials” (cookies, candies, etc.) and methods of assembly to get exactly the look I was going for.  I took step-by-step pictures along the way since this is more of a method than a recipe.  Enjoy!

Ladybug Cupcakes
Supplies needed:
12 chocolate (or other flavor) full-size cupcakes
1 package Oreo Cakesters
Red candy melts (I used about 1/2 bag)
Black M&Ms
Canned vanilla frosting, half colored green and half left plain
Mini Oreo cookies
Black licorice

As always, I started with Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes.  They are just so simple to throw together and taste great every time.  (I didn’t show it in the picture, but I did end up leveling some of them.)

Separate one of the chocolate cookies from an Oreo Cakester and split it in half.  These will be the ladybug wings.  Do the same with the remaining half and discard the filling.  (I chose Oreo Cakesters because they are much easier to cut than regular Oreos.  They require a bit more care because they are softer, but I found them much easier to work with.  They also happen to be the perfect size for fitting on top of the cupcakes.)

Repeat this process until you have 12 sets of wings.

Melt red candy melts in the top of a double boiler.  

Carefully dip the top side of each cookie half into the melted red candy to coat evenly.  I found the best method for handling this step was to place the cookie half face down in the red candy melts, then gently remove it using two forks (one to tip it out of the candy, one to hold it) so that as little candy melt gets onto the bottom side of the cookie as possible.  Gently shake the fork holding the cookie half to remove excess candy, if necessary.  Transfer to a work surface and top with black M&Ms.  (I tried many different candies for the ladybug spots including mini M&Ms, chocolate chips, and jelly beans, but ultimately chose regular black M&Ms for size and color.)  Allow the candy to set completely before proceeding.  

(If there are little jagged bits of hardened candy sticking out around the edges, it is okay because they are mostly surrounded by frosting.  If they really bother you though, just trim them off with a small paring knife.)

Using a plastic bag with the corner cut off, pipe two large blobs of plain frosting onto a cupcake.  This will be used to “glue” the wings on.

Place the wings on the cupcake, all the way to one side of the cupcake so that there will be room for the head.  Squeeze another blog of frosting in front of the wings, where the head will be.

Before placing the head on the cupcake, cut two short pieces of black licorice and stick them in between the cookie pieces of the mini Oreo to look like antennae.  (I could not find regular black licorice so I had to make due by cutting small pieces of black Twizzlers.)  Once the head and antennae are assembled, place the head on in front of the wings.

(Note: I think Junior Mints would also be perfect for the heads, but they would not hold the antennae as easily as the mini Oreos do so that is why I ended up choosing to use the cookies.)

Using another plastic bag with the corner cut off and filled with the green frosting, pipe small blobs of frosting around the front of each ladybug to look like grass. 

And that’s it!  I was actually surprised at how simple these were.  Definitely less involved than some of the other cupcakes I have made.  

My niece certainly seemed to enjoy them! 

Source: Annie’s Eats original