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La Jolla Mom - How to Make Turkey Cupcakes for Thanksgiving | Fall Desserts

How To Make 3 Different Turkey Cupcakes For Thanksgiving Dessert

How to Make Turkey Cupcakes

I did quite a bit of internet surfing before deciding how to make turkey cupcakes. I used features from several different cupcakes and then added a few other touches. I was also able to use leftover Halloween candy.

I admit that these turkey cupcakes are a little bit labor intensive, but you can omit a some steps (see below) to simplify. However, after the second turkey cupcake, I got the hang of it and the process moved quickly. My 3-year-old helped with the candy corn and a little here and there, but I had to assemble and frost them.

I used Ina Garten’s pumpkin cupcakes with my own maple cream cheese frosting. The pumpkin flavor turned out to be the right call as it’s almost the same color as the cookies and donut holes. You’ll need:

1. Cupcakes
2. Frosting
3. Donut holes
4. Annie’s Ginger Cookies
5. Fruit by the Foot or similar red fruit roll up
6. Candy corn
7. Mini chocolate chips or M&Ms for eyes. You could even use regular sized chocolate chips.
8. Large marshmallows cut in half
9. An edible “stick” such as a pretzel or candy melts that I piped out straight and let harden. This stick attaches the donut hole to the cupcake.

I was not motivated to go to the store for pretzel sticks. I found some dark chocolate candy melts, put them in a Ziploc, microwaved until soft and piped out some sticks in advance. They harden pretty quickly and since no one will see them, they don’t have to be perfect. Pretzels are easier.

Take donut hole and carefully insert the edible stick securely inside.

Stick other end inside cupcake to form the body. Frost entire body. I tried to melt the frosting a little bit and dunk, but because it was cream cheese (I think), that didn’t exactly work. But it helps to have a tiny brush to get the frosting into crevices and, of course, an angled spatula.

Put a small stripe of frosting on the back of 4 candy corns. Attach candy corns to half of the ginger cookie.

Place the cut-in-half large marshmallow on the back of the cupcake, opposite the donut hole head. Push the cookie into the and prop it up on the marshmallow. Tip: the cookie will get soggy if assembled and refrigerated overnight. If you’re frosting in advance, keep the tails off. I might also keep the beak off too.

Cut Fruit by the Foot into small strips, about 1 inch long. Angle the edges and wrap them around the candy corn. If you have the patience to take a toothpick and dab a little bit of frosting under the Fruit by the Foot before you put it on the candy corn, this helps. Push the entire colored end (if you can) into the donut hole. Be gentle, as I had a few donut holes crumble. If you have trouble with the candy corn falling off, use some frosting to secure it. Push in two mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Add the candy corn feet and you’re done! You can change the turkey cupcake design based on your taste. For instance, if you want to scrap the frosting, you’ll save loads of time. And since the pumpkin cupcakes, donut hole and ginger cookie are more or less the same color, it looks pretty good. I forgot to touch up the frosting that’s holding the candy corn in place though.

Or, omit the ginger cookies and just use the candy corn as feathers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Erin - November 24, 2010

    really cute :-)

  • MELISSA - November 17, 2010

    I am trying these out next week as a fun suprise for everyone, wish me luck:)also and other ways to make brown/tan frosting?could i just add the syrup to my store bought frosting? thank you :) melissa from maui

    • La Jolla Mom - November 17, 2010

      Hi Melissa! With just the syrup alone the frosting will turn off white so that’s why I dyed it with food coloring. The frosting I used has a very slight maple flavor but if you want to bump it up a little I wonder if you could use more syrup and more sugar (so it doesn’t get runny). If you happen to have that maple flavoring as opposed to syrup. Ina Garten has a recipe for maple frosting that I’m sure is delicious. I just didn’t have that.

  • Birdrockfab - November 15, 2010

    My daughter can’t wait to make these! What a great recipe we can make & enjoy together.

  • DowntownRob - November 9, 2010

    Wow great blog post. Please please stop posting about cupcakes, I can’t handle it. I want them bad enough as it is. 😉

    • La Jolla Mom - November 9, 2010

      Rob I see you tweeting from the gym on occasion so a few here in there is ok! :)

  • Vanessa (Chefdruck) - November 9, 2010

    What a great idea. These are adorable and your step by step pictures are really helpful. Doing a chocolate stick instead of a pretzel stick is probably much yummier.

    • La Jolla Mom - November 9, 2010

      Coming from you Vanessa, that’s a huge compliment. Thanks!

  • Simone - November 8, 2010

    How cute! I love this idea!

    • La Jolla Mom - November 9, 2010

      Hi Simone. Thanks so much. It was pretty fun. You’re always so nice about the comments. :)

  • merrin - November 8, 2010

    mmm looks sooo tasty

    Hi there,I found your blog through MBC an I am now following.Would love a follow back at

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I'm Katie Dillon, a freelance luxury travel writer who lives in seaside La Jolla, CA. This is where I document my recent trips around the world, the latest San Diego happenings and other fun lifestyle topics. Thanks for stopping by!

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