If you and your family are Disney fans you simply must make these Jungle Cruise Cupcakes! Inspired by the classic Disney attraction and the upcoming movie, chocolate cupcakes are topped with a peanut butter frosting and toasted coconut, and finished off with fondant Mickey Ears and a Minnie Bow! Perfect for movie nights and parties!
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Jungle Cruise 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 ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required and understand the steps and timings involved.
You know we LOVE Disney at The Purple Pumpkin Blog, and we’ve got another batch of awesome Mickey “Ears” cupcakes for you to make at home!
These cupcakes are inspired by the classic Disney Jungle Cruise attraction and the upcoming movie of the same name, starring Dwayne Johnson as Skipper Frank Wolff, and Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton.
Having ridden the Jungle Cruise at Walt Disney World, I have to tell you that it’s tons of fun and filled with a LOT of corny jokes that you cannot help but laugh at. The Skipper of your cruise along the major rivers in Asia, Africa, and South America, sure does take you on a comical journey!
I can’t wait for the release of Disney’s Jungle Cruise movie, opening on July 30th across theatres and on Disney+ (with Premier Access). A batch of these cupcakes would go down a real treat!
The chocolate cupcakes are made using a box of cake mix – I love shortcuts like this, as it means you can concentrate on the fondant decorations! There are two types of frosting on top of the cakes – vanilla, and peanut butter, and there is a generous sprinkling of toasted coconut instead of sprinkles.
If you’re a beginner, you might panic at the thought of using fondant, but it’s not as difficult as you might think. Make sure you read through the post as I’ve got plenty of tips and suggestions along the way!
If you’re an experienced cake maker you can probably jump straight to the recipe at the end of this post and get baking!
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.
- Powdered Sugar – also known as Icing Sugar and Confectioner’s Sugar.
- Pure Vanilla Extract – always buy good vanilla as it really does make a flavor difference.
- Smooth/Creamy Peanut Butter – for the peanut butter frosting.
- Toasted Coconut – for decorating the cupcake. If you can’t source it ready toasted, you can toast shredded coconut in a frying pan with a little butter, until toasted all over.
- Wilton Fondant – these come in 4.4oz packages and just the right size for these cupcakes, but you can use any brand you like.
- White Fondant – for Mickey’s Ears & Minnie’s Bow.
- Black and Brown Edible Markers
- Brown or Gold Edible Cake Spray – may be trickier to source, to spray the cheetah pattern on Mickey’s Ears. You can also draw the pattern with edible marker.
- Red Edible Cake Spray – to spray the stripes on Minnie’s Bow. You could also draw them on with a red edible marker.
- Silver/Pearl Edible Cake Spray – to add a sparkly sheen to the decorations, optional.
Cupcake Decorating Equipment
- Round Cookie Cutter – to cut out Minnie’s Ears you will need a 2″/5cm cutter.
- Fondant Rolling Pin – these have a smooth surface and won’t leave a texture on your fondant when rolling out.
- Wilton Fondant Bow Mold – this one from Wilton is the one used to make the bow you see in the photos in this post. However, for some reason, it’s not available on Amazon, which is super annoying as I use Amazon for everything! Ultimately, use whichever bow mold you can to make a 2″/5cm bow.
- Large Piping Bag – you can use disposable or reuseable, your choice.
- Large Star Tip – for example, Wilton 1M
- Cheetah Pattern Stencil – if you are using a pen to decorate the ears instead of spray, you can freehand the pattern if you are confident to do so.
- Stripes Stencil – if you are using a pen to decorate the bows instead of spray, you can freehand the pattern if you are confident to do so.
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.,).
Jungle Cruise Cupcakes Recipe Tips
The Mickey’s ears and Minnie’s bow decorations for these cupcakes are made with fondant (also known as sugarpaste).
Fondant needs time to dry before using as cake decorations, so allow up to 24 hours to get the pieces made before making and decorating your cupcakes.
If you have never worked with fondant before, don’t panic – it is really easy to use, follow my tips and you’ll be just fine!
- Line a cookie sheet(s) or tray(s)with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat to place the fondant pieces on to dry.
- Dust your work surface with powdered sugar (icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar) or cornstarch (cornflour) so that the fondant doesn’t stick. Think of it like the way you use flour when rolling dough.
- Rub a little powdered sugar/cornstarch into your hands and knead a handful of the fondant to make it more pliable before rolling, rather than using straight from the package.
- Dust your rolling pin too, and roll fondant to about ¼” thick. Some fondant rolling pins have guides you can use. You don’t want it too thick as it will take ages to dry, and you don’t want it too thin as it will become more tricky to work with.
- Cutting the Ears: Pour a little pile of powdered sugar onto your surface and dip the cookie cutter into it before cutting the ears – again, this is to prevent sticking.
- Using a Silicone Mold: Dust with powdered sugar before pressing some fondant into the cavity and leveling off, before gently popping out and leaving to dry.
- If there is excess powdered sugar on the pieces, you can gently brush away with a pastry brush, or an unused, clean paintbrush.
- Alternatively, you can use a vodka spray. Pour some vodka into a mini spray bottle and gently mist the fondant wings. Vodka dries quicker than water which is why it is usually used when handling fondant.
- Always make extra pieces – that way if some break or you have another mishap, you have got backups that you can use.
- Leave the cut fondant pieces to harden in a cool, dry place – do not place in the fridge.
- The fondant pieces should be solid enough to handle and insert into the cupcakes after 3 – 6 hours. I personally like to leave fondant pieces to dry for around 24 hours. How long this takes, however, is based on the size and thickness of the fondant, and how humid your house is, so you will need to judge if they will hold up as they need to in the cupcakes.
- If you need to paint or draw onto fondant, make sure the pieces have had time to dry first so that the edible ink or paint doesn’t bleed. Unless that is the look you are going for or the recipe says otherwise.
- When making cakes or cupcakes that use fondant decorations I like to make them a few days ahead of time which allows for drying without stress. Fondant that isn’t dry enough can mean disappointing end results.
- After using fondant the surface will be super sticky (it always is in my experience!) so you will probably have to wipe away the sugar first, then give it a soapy hot wash over, and then another clean over! You can always buy a fondant rolling mat for easier cleanup.
- Always keep fondant covered when making decorations to prevent it from drying out. And when you’ve finished, wrap up any remaining fondant very well – I double wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. This keeps it fresh and you are able to use it for future cake making.
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.
- Use your choice of cupcake liners – themed to the cupcakes, plain white or black, or a complimentary 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 all the way 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
- When making the frosting you want the end result to be creamy, smooth, and to hold a stiff peak. You may have to adjust the amount of powdered sugar and cream slightly to achieve the consistency you need.
- These cupcakes are double-frosting, the first layer is flattened and rounded off a bit to create the base for the toasted coconut, and then there is a swirl of peanut butter frosting on top of that. Put an ice cream scoop to good use again for the first frosting layer and use a knife or angled spatula to level it off.
- Use a piping bag fitted with a large star tip to pipe the swirl on top of the first layer.
- 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 Disney Cupcake Recipes
Looking for more Disney-themed cupcakes to make? Check these recipes out next:
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort-inspired Tropical Minnie Ears Cupcakes
- How To Make Disney’s Stitch Cupcakes!
- Gingerbread Mickey Minnie Cupcakes
How Do I Make Jungle Cruise 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!).
For the Fondant Ears & Bow
- Cornstarch (cornflour), for dusting
- 1 (4.4oz) package of White Fondant
- Brown Edible Marker Pen
- Black Edible Marker Pen
- 1 can Brown or Gold Wilton Color Mist/Edible Cake Spray
- 1 can Red Wilton Color Mist/Edible Cake Spray
- 1 can Silver or Pearl Wilton Color Mist/Edible Cake Spray, optional
For the Cupcakes
- 1 box of chocolate cake mix
- ½ cup of softened unsalted butter
- 1¼ cup whole milk
- 3 large eggs
For the Vanilla, and Peanut Butter Frostings
- 1½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4½ cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
- 5-7 Tbsp heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups toasted shredded coconut
- ¼ cups smooth/creamy peanut butter
- Use cornstarch as you would flour when making dough. Dust your work surface, hands, rolling pin, and cutters. Line a cookie sheet or tray with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. TIP! Always make extra fondant decorations as backup!
- Knead the white fondant in your hands to make it soft and pliable and roll to ¼"/0.5cm thick.
- Using a 2"/5cm round cookie cutter, cut out 48 white circles for Mickey's ears.
- Place the white circles onto the prepared cookie sheet. Leave to dry overnight or for 24 hours if possible.
- To make the bows, use a silicone bow mold and dust the mold with cornstarch each time you make a fondant bow. The bows should be about 2"/5cm wide.
- Pinch off a small piece of white fondant and press into the silicon bow mold cavity. Carefully remove from mold and set on the cookie sheet to dry overnight or for 24 hours if possible. Repeat to make 24 bows total.
- When the fondant ears have dried, use a cheetah/leopard pattern stencil and a brown edible marker to trace the pattern onto the ears, then use a brown cake spray to fill in completely. Alternatively, you could color in the pattern, and holding the stencil in place, spray some gold cake spray to add some shimmer. Leave to dry, then draw around the outside of each pattern with a black edible marker.
- When the fondant bows are dry, place a stripe stencil on top of each one and spray with red cake mist. Alternatively, you can draw on stripes with a red edible marker pen. Leave to dry.
- You can spray the ears and bows with silver or pearl cake mist to add a shimmer to them if you wish.
- To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners and set aside.
- Using an electric handheld or stand mixer, place the cake mix, butter, milk, and eggs 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.
- To make the vanilla frosting, use an electric stand or handheld mixer and add the butter, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla to the bowl.
- Beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth and stiff peaks form.
- Use a medium ice cream scoop to place a scoop of frosting on top of each cooled cupcake and use an angled spatula or knife to smooth and flatten slightly. Do not use all of the frosting!
- Pour the toasted coconut into a shallow dish and roll the frosted cupcake into the toasted coconut
- To make the peanut butter frosting, add the peanut butter to the remaining frosting and beat together well until combined. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with an open star tip. Pipe swirls of peanut butter frosting on top of the coconut layer.
- Place a striped fondant bow in the center of the frosting.
- Then place a fondant ear behind the bow on either side.
- Enjoy and Happy Jungle Cruising!
Special Equipment Needed:
- Wilton Fondant Bow Mold
- Fondant Rolling Pin
- 1 (2"/5cm) Round Fondant/Cookie Cutter
- 1 Cheetah/Leopard Pattern Stencil
- 1 Stripe Stencil
- Large Piping Bag
- 1 Open Star (#1M) Piping Tip
- 1 Medium Ice Cream Scoop
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Baker’s Sweetened Angel Flake Coconut (7 oz Bag)
- Gourmet Toasted Unsweetened Coconut
- Edible Markers for Cookies and Fondant
- Wilton Gold Color Mist
- Wilton Red Color Mist
- Cheetah / Leopard Pattern
- Stripes Stencil
- Black Cupcake Liners
- Wilton Metallic, 1.5 oz, Silver Color Mist
- Wilton 402-2110 1M Open Star Piping Tip
- Disposable Piping Bags -100 Pack
- Wilton White Vanilla Decorator Preferred Fondant 4.4 oz
- Round Cutter Set, 12 Graduated Circle Cookie & Pastry Cutters,
- Fondant Bow Silicone Mold
- Wilton® Fondant and Gum Paste Mold, Bows & Buttons
- Fondant Rolling Pin
Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 434Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 98mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 31gProtein: 3g
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 for a dinner party or special occasion:
- Appetizer: This Mango Shrimp Cups Appetizer is Perfect for Parties!
- Soup: Cuban Black Bean Soup
- Salad: Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Basil, Kalamata Olives, and Feta
- Main Dish: Grilled Greek Chicken Skewers
- Side Dish: Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Dressing & Pomegranate
- Beverage: Fruity Island Escape – A Totally Tropical Rum Cocktail to Make for Summer!
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too!