Ladybird Cupcakes

It’s Alfie’s birthday on the weekend and he’s going to be nine.  At his primary school, when it’s your birthday, you’re allowed to bring in something for the class to share.

Ladybirds out on the lawn

Ladybirds out on the lawn

The school does suggest that you order cupcakes from the canteen or that you can bring in a box of ice blocks and I believe these are the preferred options.

Chocolate cupcakes covered in ganache

Chocolate cupcakes covered in ganache

I remember when Archie and Arabella were in primary school.  There hadn’t been any emails or notes sent home to parents about what you could or couldn’t bring in, but it was known that something for the birthday girl or boy was allowed.  When Arabella was in Year 2 I made a swimming pool cake that had blue jelly for the pool that had sides made of  rolls of different coloured icing.  It was a masterpiece.  It even had little boys and girls swimming in the pool (jelly).

Cutting out the circular shapes for the backs of the ladybirds

Cutting out the circular shapes for the backs of the ladybirds

But when I delivered it to the classroom the teacher took one look at it and nearly cried.  It wasn’t the reaction I’d been hoping for.  She said, ‘How do you expect me to cut this?’  And it occurred to me that I hadn’t thought that far ahead.  Teachers don’t want grief.  They don’t want mess.  And they absolutely don’t want additional challenges.

Ladybirds with their wings, spots and eyes

Ladybirds with their wings, spots and eyes

From that day on, I’ve tried to think about being the one responsible for dividing the spoils and so have changed tact from a whole cake to lots of little cakes.

Adding the antennas

Adding the antennas

Tomorrow is Alfie’s ‘day of days’ where he’s able to walk into the classroom bearing the goods.  I’ve made something I thought he’d be proud of and something that wouldn’t reduce the teacher to a bumbling mess.  These are ladybirds and they’re easy to make as long as you set aside a day to create them.  And I’m not sure what the teacher is going to say about the antennas (made of wire).  I see hurdles.

Putting in the antennas

Putting in the antennas

Anyway, here is the recipe for my ladybirds.

A smiling ladybird

A smiling ladybird

Ladybird Cupcakes:

Makes:  12

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5 for skill, 4/5 for time-consuming

Cost:  The cupcakes are cheap and cheerful; decorating them can be costly if you have to buy all the bits and pieces.

  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tspns baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 80gms softened butter
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180C (375F).

Line a muffin tin with red patty cases.

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.  Add remaining ingredients and beat with electric beaters on low for 2 minutes.  Increase speed to high and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Place a heaped tablespoon of mixture into each patty case.  Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.


  • 200gms dark chocolate, broken into small bits
  • 1/3 cup pouring cream

In a double boiler, melt chocolate and cream together.  Mix until smooth, then remove from heat.  Allow to cool until spreading consistency.

To Decorate: 

  • 500gms black icing
  • 500gms white icing
  • red food colouring (powder is better than liquid)
  • wire
  • icing pens in black and red
  • liquid glue
  • poultry pin

Use a metal spatula the ganache over the top of each cupcake.

Roll out black icing on a board covered with icing sugar but be careful to not get too much icing sugar on the black icing as it marks.

Use a circular cutter to cut out 12 circles and place one on top of each of the cupcakes.

Dye 75% of the white icing, red.

Roll out red icing (again, being careful not to mark with icing sugar) then use the same cutter to cut out 12 circles.  Cut out a small semi-circle from each of the circles and discard.  Cut each remaining circle in half to create two wings.  Use liquid glue to stick the wings on top of each cupcake.

Use a poultry pin (or similar) to cut out 72 little circles to make the spots on the ladybird’s back.  This will give you 3 spots for each wing.  Use edible glue on the back of each spot to set them in place.

Roll out remaining white icing and use the poultry pin to press out 24 circles for eyes.  Use the edible glue to stick the eyes in place.  Use a black icing pen to draw pupils onto the eyes of each ladybird.  Use the red icing pen to draw a mouth onto each ladybird.

Cut off 24 lengths of wire.  Use remaining red icing to make 24 circles.  Stick one circle onto the end of each length of wire.  Stick into cupcakes, above the eyes for antennas.

A ladybird cupcake

A ladybird cupcake

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  1. The cupcakes are gorgeous. Hopefully the kiddies will know enough to pull off the antennas and not try to eat them. 🙂

  2. I can hear it now, “Mummy, these are perfect!! I love you so much!!”


    They ARE perfect and so, so cute.

  3. Happy 9th Birthday in advance to Alfie! He is a lucky boy indeed to have a mum who goes to all this effort to make beautiful cakes, which the kids are going to absolutely love.

  4. They’re very, very cute, Charlie! You’re going to put all the other mums to shame! (Not that it’s a contest, though.. ;-))

  5. They are super cute!! Happy Birthday to Alfie 🙂

  6. Awwww these are SO adorable Charlie! Love them!!

  7. I never cease to be amazed by your cake decorating skills! These are beautiful.

  8. These ladybug cupcakes are so super cute!

  9. Happy Birthday, Alfie!

    I’m sure the whole class loved these amazing cakes…
    bringing in cakes to celebrate a birthday must be a tradition the world over in primary schools!
    Your cakes are inspiring indeed – thank you!

    Emma 🙂

  10. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Those are absolutely darling, but I’d expect nothing less from you! Love ’em!

  11. These are absolutely adorable and I am sure Alfie will be proud of your creation. I would never have the patience to make these.

    Happy birthday to your sweet Alfie!

  12. These are super cute, Charlie!! I wasn’t sure what Ladybirds were at first, then I saw them! We call them ladybugs here! Happy Birthday Alfie!! xo

  13. These cakes are fabulous, how perfect for taking into school. My boys always took a sheet cake that seemed to be the ‘thing’. Cupcakes would have been much better and more fabulous. GG

  14. What cute ladybug cupcakes! I’m sure Alfie’s classmates loved them! My kids always loved bringing treats to the classroom, too.

  15. I’m so glad I didn’t know you when I was a kid, because in comparison I would’ve been convinced my mum didn’t love me.

  16. Charlie they are adorable! Happy Birthday Alfie!

  17. I do not want to eat these adorable cupcakes, they are too cute 😀
    But too delicious not to!

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. Happy Birthday to little Alfie!! I hope he has a wonderful birthday. No party for the friends? I love the ladybird cupcakes, and you are right, you have to make individual no fuss kind of things. Laith’s 9th is in May, and he’s already requesting stuff. One year I made and decorated 24 Marvel hero cakelets….my hand almost turned blue. I haven’t thought about what I’m doing this year for him.
    Love to Alfie xxxx

  19. Theses critters look good enough to swallow whole and then go for more… are such an artist! Happy Birthday to Alfie! It’s so sad that you aren’t allowed to bring anything to school these days…..makes me sad.

  20. What a cute decoration idea!

  21. We never had any problems about what we could or couldn’t bring into the class either, it’s too bad it has come to that. These are spectacular Charlie, what a very cute idea. You could have made the antenna out of black shoe string licorice, that would have been edible!

  22. Oh, how clever! And wishing the little one a happy birthday!

  23. Those littke cakes look so special. When and why did teachers becone so inflexible? ( this is from an ex teacher) .

  24. I believe we have stooped to having virtual cakes now! Last year at a kindergarten one of my grandsons attended, you were not allowed to provide birthday cakes in any shape or form and a wooden cake was produced from the cupboard by the teacher and everyone sang happy birthday and that was that! These ladybirds look sensational bet there was a proud little boy when you produced these at school!

  25. What a clever way to ensuring that there’s no mess cutting up. I would have loved to have seen that swimming pool cake. I’ve seen some great version of it over the years and I bet yours was great!

  26. Happy birthday Alfie! These are beautiful and I imagine he will be very proud walking in with them. I do think schools have become a bit over the top with dictating what children can and can’t bring – one of my friend’s children goes to a school where you aren’t allowed muffins, even if they are home made! I’m sure the teacher will be delighted with how easy these are to distribute, even if those antennas do result in some frissons with danger 😉

  27. G’day! Happy Birthday Alfie, true Charlie!
    How absolutely adorable your cupcakes are and bet the children of all ages loved them too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  28. Wow they are just beautiful I bet Alfie was proud as punch taking those into class. You have the patience of a saint to take a whole day to decorate them.

  29. Charlie, I bet all the other kids wish you were their mom. What beautiful ladybird cupcakes!
    School rules have changed SO much since we were all in school. Things were much easier then.
    Have a super weekend ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  30. Sooo cute! Happy birthday Alfie!

  31. They are beautiful Charlie I hope they went down well

  32. So cute! Happy birthday Alfie!

  33. Tina at Tina's Chic Corner says:

    I love ladybugs!!! These came out great. 🙂

  34. These look absolutely beautiful!! I love them!!
    I can’t believe the other teacher faced with a pool cake didn’t realize.. knife cuts cake :/
    What a drama queen!!
    I bet Alfie was one happy little boy 🙂
    Well done!

  35. These are super, super cute, the kids may want to keep them instead of eating them. Happy birthday Alfie.

  36. I have made a lot of cupcakes in my life, but not one that you could describe as cute. These are just cute. Really cute. Happy birthday to Alfie and kudos to his talented mom yet again.

  37. The cakes are gorgeous! They make me smile and I’m sure they will be a resounding success.

  38. These are just too cute!

  39. These cupcakes are so cute! And they’re always so easy to serve at parties because no pesky cutting! I love the ladybird design 🙂

  40. They are so cool, Charlie! waw even! Nearly too pretty to gobble up! x

  41. I certainly hope that science can come up with a definitive reason for the allergies affecting our kids. If trends continue, imagine what it will be like in 20 years.
    These ladybugs are wonderful, Charlie, and were sure to make Alfie’s special day even more special.

  42. These are wonderful! Really creative, and just gorgeous. That’s going to be a roomful of happy kids!

  43. Your are so creative…I can just imagine all the smiles on everyone’s faces when they saw Alfie’s birthday cupcakes. I know he had to have had a great birthday.

  44. oh these are so cute – but yet the imagine of young kids with sticky pieces of wire is a little scary 🙂

  45. Oh dear Charlie- eggs, dairy, gluten…I bet you’ll be blackballed from all school functions from now on. Or was that your cunning plan all along? 🙂 Our school is so careful with what it won’t allow that now the kids hand out pencils instead of cakes- dreadful!!
    I adore your little ladybugs and I bet Alfie was very popular in class this day with such gorgeous yummies xox

  46. These are so adorable! I hope he had a great birthday. I am sure everyone loved these cuties!!

  47. Happy Birthday Alfie! What a super mom you are for bringing in such gorgeous cupcakes. I see the whole time consuming part with all the cutting out, etc but they sure are cute.

  48. Seriously, wow! Your cupcakes are so perfect! I love that you added ganache and fondant, that would create a happy dance for sure! So beautiful! Hugs, Terra

  49. Maybe the most adorable cupcakes I have ever seen, Charlie!

  50. Happy belated birthday to Alfie – I bet his class loved those cakes… I sure would!

  51. OMG OMG These are so pretty and cute!!! I’ll definitely have to remember to save this recipe and use it to impress the little people next time I’m invited to their party hehe 🙂


  1. […] for all your lovely comments regarding the ladybird cupcakes.  The children in Alfie’s class just loved them but there was one boy who went up to Alfie […]

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