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20 Fun Birthday Cupcake Ideas

From creative flavors to gorgeous decorations, these birthday cupcake ideas are the best way to celebrate someone's special day.

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Pull-Apart Cupcake Cake

Rather than frosting each cupcake individually, gather them together and decorate as one. Pull-apart cupcake cakes can be themed to just about any birthday party with ease. Learn how to make these pull-apart cupcake cakes here.

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Sprinkle CupcakesTaste of Home

Sprinkle Cupcakes

Give birthday cake sprinkles a bit of an upgrade by only adding them to just the edges of a cupcake. The easiest way to create this cute look is to take a frosted cupcake, turn it on its side and roll the edge on a plate full of sprinkles. You can go monochromatic, like with this pink velvet cupcake, or go with whatever color combo would go with your party. Before you start baking and decorating, check that you have these essential cupcake tools.

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Bakery-Worthy Roses

For something a little more elegant, there’s no cupcake decoration that beats the classic frosting rose. To achieve this look, place a closed star tip in a pastry bag and fill it with slightly cool frosting. Starting in the middle of the cupcake, gently squeeze the pastry bag while moving the tip in a counter-clockwise direction. Once you reach the edges of the cupcake, loosen your grip on the pastry bag and lift it from the frosting. Easy peasy. For more help, take a look at these piping bag tips that will have you frosting like a pro.

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Tie-Dye CupcakesTaste of Home

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

I’ve been making these colorful cupcakes with my mom since I was in high school. The cheery sweets are as fun to make as they are to eat. —Tammy Quinn, Lynden, Ontario

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Watercolor-Inspired Cupcakes

For a near-effortless cupcake design that looks anything but, this watercolor technique is just the ticket. Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, spread dabs of different colored frosting along the top of a cupcake. After the cupcake has been covered to your liking, you can use your spatula or knife to spread the colors together slightly or leave them as-is. Either way, they’ll look beautiful on your dessert table. Here are some more easy birthday cake ideas you might want to try.

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Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cinnamon ButtercreamTaste of Home

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

Stuffing cupcakes with additional frosting, custard, sprinkles or, in this case, apple pie filling, is a great way to pump up the treat’s flavor and playfulness. For more filling ideas, check out our best stuffed cupcake recipes.

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Ice Cream Cone CupcakesTaste of Home

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Kiddos will love this adorable cake and ice cream mash-up. If you’d prefer a more traditional cupcake, you can substitute the scoop of ice cream on top for a scoop of frosting. Fill out the rest of your party’s menu with these kids birthday party food ideas.

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Two-Tone Frosting

This dual-color frosting look is incredibly easy to do yourself. Split your frosting evenly between two bowls and dye them as desired. Open a pastry bag with tip of your choice or a plastic bag over a glass and add the frostings almong the side of the bag, using a spatula or butter knife. Twist the top of the pastry or plastic bag, then frost with a simple swirl. Then, enjoy! (Are you eating a cupcake the right way?)

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Fresh Fruit ToppingTaste of Home

Fresh Fruit Topping

Cupcake toppings don’t have to be candy and sweets. This brightly-flavored cupcake recipe uses fresh strawberry halves for a juicy, all-natural garnish. If you’re really cutting back on your sugar intake, you can try out this sugar-free cupcake recipe.

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Oreo Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream FrostingTaste of Home

Oreo Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Frosting

On the other hand, birthdays are the perfect excuse to go all out. This Oreo cupcake recipe was developed by Taste of Home’s Test Kitchen and has the classic sandwich cookie baked into the cupcake, mixed into the frosting and used as a topper.

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Mini-Floral Cupcake

Perfect for a brunch birthday party, this chic piping looks just like a hydrangea. You can recreate this decoration by filling a piping bag with a small star tip with the frosting color of your choice, and pipe short, small flowers. For a more natural look, use two-toned frosting and vary the size of your piped flowers. Check out these homemade frosting recipes that make cupcakes even better.

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Curveball CupcakesTaste of Home

Curveball Cupcakes

Have an avid baseball player’s (or watcher’s) birthday coming up? Take inspiration from their favorite game to decorate their b-day treats! Bring the stadium home with some of these copycat baseball park recipes.

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Jalapeno Popper Corn CupcakesTaste of Home

Jalapeno Popper Corn Cupcakes

Cupcakes don’t have to be sweet. This cornbread cupcake recipe has jalapenos baked right in and is topped with a smooth cream cheese frosting. Here are some more sweet-and-savory desserts that’ll satisfy all of your cravings.

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Chocolate Decorations

Make customized chocolate cupcake toppers in about five minutes flat. First, draw your preferred design on a sheet of parchment paper, then flip the paper over. Melt white or milk chocolate candy melts in the microwave, transfer to a piping bag or plastic bag and trace the drawn shapes on the parchment paper. Let the chocolate shapes set in the fridge until solid and then add to the top of frosted cupcakes. Take a look at these other edible cupcake decorations.

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Peanut Butter & Jelly CupcakesTaste of Home

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

Turn your little one’s favorite lunch into a sweet and nutty dessert! If strawberry isn’t their thing, feel free to substitute it with grape, blueberry or raspberry jam or jelly.

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Candy CupcakesTaste of Home

Candy Cupcakes

Have kiddos decorate their own cupcakes with leftover candy you have in the pantry. Give each cupcake a quick spread of bright frosting, divide the candies into small bowls and let little hands create monster faces. Psst! This was the most popular type of candy the year you were born.

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Pineapple Upside-Down CupcakesTaste of Home

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

Think outside the cupcake liner with this take on upside-down cake. These individual-sized pineapple upside-down cakes bake right in a cupcake tin and can be served oven-fresh. Throwing a tropical themed bash? Here are some amazing ideas for a tropical birthday party that you’ll want to steal.

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Red Wine CupcakesTaste of Home

Red Wine Cupcakes

This one is for the adults! Made with dry red wine and topped with an elevated mascarpone frosting, these chocolate cupcakes are fitting for any 21+ birthday bash. Keep the good times going by playing one of these adult party games.

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Rainbow Cupcakes

With some blue frosting, white frosting and a strip of Airheads Xtremes, you can top your cupcake with a sweet rainbow scene. Keep your head in the clouds with more rainbow-inspired recipes.

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Caramel Apple CupcakesTaste of Home

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Skip the frosting altogether and go with a topping of caramel and chopped nuts. This recipe uses toasted pecans but walnuts, hazelnuts or peanuts would work well, too. Next, take a peek at our best cupcake recipes of all time.

Caroline Stanko
As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.