These bright and colorful Mardi Gras Cupcakes are so easy to make thanks to using a box of cake mix and canned frosting! And there are several different ways to decorate them, including placing a king baby in the center!
I have included affiliate links to useful products and services related to the topic of this post.
This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Read Full Disclosure Policy
Mardi Gras Cupcakes
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required as well as understand the steps and timings involved. Photos are for illustrative purposes only.
There are lots of different cupcake recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog of varying difficulty from super easy, to ones that require a little more skill. But I do truly believe everyone can make the cupcakes on my blog if they follow the instructions – which for the more tricky ones are usually very detailed.
However, if you do not have a decorating bone in your body, these Mardi Gras cupcakes are FOR YOU!
They are made using a box of cake mix and colored canned frosting – I’ve even provided some free cupcake toppers that you can use. SIMPLE!
These cupcakes can be made with rum – because it’s Mardi Gras after all – or without for kids and non-drinkers.
And to add to the Mardi Gras-iness of the cakes, you could turn one (or all) of the cakes into little King Cakes by popping a plastic king baby inside after cooking.
Traditionally, a small porcelain baby, symbolizing Jesus, is hidden in the king cake and is a way for residents of New Orleans to celebrate their Christian faith. The baby symbolizes luck and prosperity to whoever finds it. That person is also responsible for purchasing next year’s cake or host the next Mardi Gras party. Bakers have recently been placing the baby outside of the cake to avoid liability for any choking hazard.Wikipedia
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
You may have some baking ingredients in your kitchen already – the full list with measurements is found in the recipe card.
For your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients and equipment needed to make these cupcakes have been listed below and linked to Amazon or other stores if available online.
Cupcakes & Frosting Ingredients
- Box of Chocolate Cake Mix – the usual additional ingredients are changed to butter, milk, and eggs to enrich the cake mix.
- Dark Rum – this is optional if you are serving these cupcakes to non-drinkers or kids.
Or you could make the cupcakes using vanilla or white cake mix and white rum (such as Bacardi).
Cupcake Decorating Equipment
- Large Piping Bag – you can use disposable or reuseable, your choice.
- Large Star Tip – for example, Wilton 1M and/or
- Large Round Tip – for example, Wilton 1A
- Plastic King Babies – insert after cooking and make sure to warn your guests it is there!
- Plastic Mardi Gras Picks
- Mardi Gras Doubloons
- Free Printable Mardi Gras Cupcake Toppers – download below. They are not the same as the ones in the photos which are for illustrative purposes only.
Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog! I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. You can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).
Download Mardi Gras Cupcake Toppers
Click the download link to save the printable file(s) to your computer.
The Shop opens in a new tab/window.
Visit The Purple Pumpkin Shop for both premium and FREE printables that you won’t find on my main blog!
More Recipes Using Cake Mix
One of the hero ingredients in this recipe is cake mix! So here are some more recipes using the same:
- Totally Awesome Hippie Tie Dye Cake for 60s Parties
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake Fudge
- Adorable Easter Bunny Cupcakes!
Mardi Gras Cupcakes Recipe Tips
Cupcake Making Tips
- These cupcakes are made using a box of cake mix – the flavor is enriched by using butter, milk, and eggs, instead of the usual oil, water, and eggs.
- Rum is also added – but it can be omitted if serving cupcakes to children or non-drinkers.
- You can use Mardi Gras-themed cupcake liners to bake your cupcakes in if you like or stick to a complementary color.
- Use an ice cream scoop to equally divide the cupcake mixture between the cupcake liners. Fill them about three-quarters full.
- The cupcakes should be ready in about 20 minutes – test their doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cakes. It should come out clean when the cupcakes are cooked through. Bake for an extra 2 minutes and check again.
- Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Cupcake Frosting Tips
- Use a piping bag fitted with a large star tip or a large round tip to pipe swirls on top of your cupcakes.
- If you feel like you are going to be making a lot of cakes and cupcakes in your future, I think it is worth investing in a set of piping tips so that you know you always have the right ones on hand for a recipe.
- Do not overfill the piping bag with frosting, and make sure you squeeze the frosting down the bag to expel any air bubbles.
- If you are not confident with your piping skills you can practice on some parchment paper first and scoop the frosting back into the bag to use on the cupcakes.
More Mardi Gras Recipes
Looking for more Mardi Gras recipes to make? Check these out next:
- Mardi Gras King Cake
- Mardi Gras Monkey Bread Recipe – A King Cake Twist!
- Gorgeous Mardi Gras Layer Cake
How Do I Make Mardi Gras Cupcakes?
Just check out the recipe card below with full ingredients, and instructions. You can print the card out too (don’t worry, the pics don’t print to save your ink!).
- 1 box of chocolate cake mix*
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup dark rum, optional - see notes**
- 1 can purple frosting
- 1 can yellow frosting
- 1 can green frosting
- Plastic King Baby, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 degrees and line a cupcake pan with 24 liners.
- Using an electric stand or handheld mixer, place the cake mix, butter, eggs, milk, and rum (if using) into a large bowl and mix until combined and smooth.
- Use an ice cream scoop to divide the cupcake batter between the liners - about three-quarters full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Choose a cake to be the King Baby cake (if using) and use a teaspoon to remove a small amount of cake from the center. Place the plastic baby inside and add the cake back on top. Frost as below.
- If you have three piping bags and large star or round piping tips, fill 3 bags with frosting - one of each color.
- Pipe swirls of frosting of your chosen colors on top of each cooled cupcake. You can pipe a few of each color using the star tip; you could mix the round tip frosting and the star tip frosting to get a fun frosting look; you could even just spread frosting on top with a spoon or knife if you are not confident with your piping skills!
- Insert cupcake toppers - either the free printables included in the blog post, ones you've made yourself, or ones you've purchased.
- Enjoy and Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!
*These cupcakes can be made using vanilla cake mix and white rum instead of the chocolate cake mix and dark rum.
**If not using rum, replace the quarter-cup of rum with whole milk for a total of 1¼ cup of milk.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Betty Crocker Super Moist Cake Mix Milk Chocolate (Pack of 2)
- Pillsbury Funfetti Happy Birthday! Vibrant Green Vanilla Frosting 15.6 oz
- Pillsbury Funfetti, Neon Yellow Vanilla Frosting
- Pillsbury Funfetti Bold Purple Vanilla Frosting
- Mardi Gras Cupcake Liners and Toppers - Green, Gold, and Purple
- Mini Plastic Babies
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 68Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 28mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Meal!
You’ve made the dessert, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Appetizer: Cornflake + Coconut Shrimp
- Soup: Cuban Black Bean Soup
- Main Dish: Jambalaya
- Side Dish: Cayenne Buttered Corn on the Cob
- Beverage: Mardi Gras Rum Punch
- Another Dessert: Bananas Foster
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too!