These easy dinosaur cupcakes are perfect for a kids birthday party! Top each moist vanilla cupcake with a swirl of colorful frosting and dino spikes for an adorable sweet treat.

Dinosaur cupcakes topped with almond bark spikes

While some trends and characters come and go, kids have been loving dinosaurs for decades, which means parents are always looking for fun dinosaur birthday ideas. You can go to the bakery and pay a pretty penny for custom-made cupcakes, or you can make these cute dinosaur cupcakes at home. 

If you’re not confident in your cake decorating skills, don’t worry—this is an easy recipe that even beginning bakers can handle. The spikes are made by piping simple triangles of melted almond bark, and you don’t have to draw faces, pipe on scales, or anything elaborate like that!

Dinosaur cupcakes on rustic log cake stand

What You’ll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Cupcakes:

  • Unsalted butter – Let this come to room temperature so it’s easy to cream with the sugar.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg whites
  • Sour cream – Use full-fat sour cream for a moist, tender crumb.
  • Milk – You can use skim, 1% or 2% for this recipe.
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt

Vanilla Frosting:

  • Unsalted butter – This butter also needs to be softened.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk or heavy cream – You only need this if the frosting is too thick to pipe.
  • Teal and green gel food coloring

Dinosaur Spikes:

  • Vanilla almond bark
  • Teal, green and orange gel food coloring
  • Sprinkles – These are optional.

What Is Almond Bark?

While the name “almond bark” might make you think we’re talking about something similar to chocolate bark, it’s actually a confectionary coating. It’s made with sugar, vegetable oils, and flavoring like vanilla or almond extract. It’s commonly used to coat things like pretzels and Oreos. 

You can find it in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, near the chocolate chips and bars of baking chocolate. If you have trouble finding it, you could also use candy melts, which are similar.

How to Make Dinosaur Cupcakes

You can easily split this process into two days. Make the cupcakes and the spikes the first day, then make the frosting and assemble the dinosaur cupcakes on the second day.

Make the Cupcakes:

Prepare. Preheat your oven to 350º F and line a muffin pan with muffin liners.

Mix the wet ingredients. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg whites, sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. 

Mix the dry ingredients. In a second mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Finish the batter. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a few spoonfuls at a time. Mix just until incorporated, then divide the batter into the muffin liners, filling them no more than halfway.

Bake. Place the muffin pan in the oven and bake for 17 to 19 minutes at 350º F, or until only a few moist crumbs remain on a toothpick when inserted into the center. Let the cupcakes cool completely before you frost them.

Piping colored almond bark into the shape of dinosaur spikes

Make the Dinosaur Spikes:

Melt the almond bark. While the cupcakes are cooling, roughly chop the almond bark into smaller pieces. Place it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50% power until melted, stirring occasionally.

Color the almond bark. Divide the melted almond bark into 3 bowls; color each with gel food coloring. Transfer each color into a squeeze bottle, then pipe small triangles onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Add sprinkles if you’re using them and allow the almond bark to set completely.

Make the Vanilla Frosting:

Cream the butter. Beat the butter and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer for a minute or two, until it’s fluffy. 

Finish the frosting. Slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing on low until combined. Add a splash of milk or cream if the frosting seems too thick. Whip for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add color. To color the frosting 2 different colors, divide the frosting into 2 bowls, add the food coloring, and beat until each color is combined. 

Transfer to a piping bag. Scoop each frosting into a separate piping bag fitted with a piping tip; I used a Wilton 1M. 

3 photos showing process of decorating dinosaur cupcakes

Assemble:

Frost and finish. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes, then top each with 5 spikes. 

Tips for Success

Here are some simple tips for perfect dinosaur cupcakes.

  • Getting the right taste and texture for the frosting. After adding the first 2 cups of powdered sugar, taste the frosting to determine if you want more. If it ends up too stiff after adding more sugar, you can add the milk or cream.
  • Making fluffier frosting. If you want an extra fluffy frosting, add in 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream when adding the last portion of powdered sugar
  • Adding the spikes. I thought it looked best when I alternated the spikes, so one in front, one behind, one in front, one behind, etc., vs. arranging them in a straight line across the cupcake.
Dinosaur cupcakes arranged on rustic log cake stand

How to Store

Dinosaur cupcakes are best the day they’re decorated, but they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Variations

You can make dinosaur cupcakes out of any flavor of cupcake, so if vanilla isn’t your little one’s first choice, feel free to use another flavor. Here are some ideas:

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

If you want to get a head start on this recipe, you can make the vanilla cupcakes and freeze those in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature, then frost and decorate them.

If you have leftover cupcakes that you want to freeze, set them on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer until the frosting is solid. Then, transfer them to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Dinosaur cupcakes with colored frosting and spikes
Closeup of homemade dinosaur cupcakes

Dinosaur Cupcakes

5 from 2 ratings
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 19 mins
Cooling Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 2 hrs 19 mins
Yield: 12 servings
These colorful dinosaur cupcakes are perfect for a kids birthday party! They look like they came from a bakery, but they're easy to make at home.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (1/2 cup)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup milk, skim, 1% or 2%
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt

Vanilla Frosting

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1 & 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • Dash milk or heavy cream if frosting becomes too thick
  • Teal and green gel food coloring

Dinosaur Spikes

  • 8 oz vanilla almond bark, 4 squares
  • Teal, green and orange gel food coloring
  • Sprinkles, optional

Instructions
 

Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer, 1-2 minutes until fluffy. Add in the egg whites, sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Beat lightly with the electric mixer. In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift the dry ingredients together, this will help produce extra fluffy cupcakes. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients a few spoonfuls at a time. Mix until just incorporated. Fill the muffin liners 1/2 full. 

Bake for 17-19 minutes at 350º F or until a few moist crumbs remain on a toothpick when inserted into the center. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before adding the frosting. Meanwhile, make the dinosaur spikes.

Dinosaur Spikes

  • Rough chop the vanilla almond bark into smaller pieces. Place it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on 50% power until melted. Occasionally stir and continue microwaving.
  • Divide the almond bark into 3 bowls and color each with gel food coloring. Transfer each color into a squeeze bottle (https://amzn.to/3Gh8Ens). On a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper, make small triangles. Repeat with each color. Add sprinkles if desired. Allow the almond bark to set completely before removing the spikes.

Vanilla Frosting

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and vanilla extract, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing on low until combined. Taste as needed to determine if you want more powdered sugar. If the frosting becomes too thick, add a dash of milk or heavy cream. If you want an extra fluffy frosting, add in 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream when adding the last bit of powdered sugar. Whip for 3-4 minutes.
  • If you want to color the frosting 2 separate colors, divide the frosting, add in the food coloring and beat until each color is combined. Transfer each frosting to a piping bag fit with a piping tip. I used a Wilton 1M.

Assemble

  • Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. Top each cupcake with 5 spikes. I thought it looked best when I alternated the spikes, so one in front, one behind, one in front, one behind, etc.

Notes

Dinosaur cupcakes are best the day they’re decorated, but they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
I recommend AmeriColor gel food coloring and squeeze bottles
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Beth
Calories: 310kcal, Carbohydrates: 57g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Sodium: 103mg, Potassium: 43mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 46g, Vitamin A: 76IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1mg
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