The Cutest Tiger Cupcakes (With Tiger Striped Cake Inside)

Tiger cupcakes are the perfect party treat for so many reasons! They fit right into a Wild One birthday party, a Two Wild party, a Young Wild and Three party… And of course they work with any animal themed baby shower or birthday. 

These tiger themed cupcakes are adorable on the outside and black and orange on the inside too. They’re sure to impress your party guests and leave them roaring for more! You might want to also take a look at these zebra themed cupcakes.

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tiger cupcake with orange and black stripes

How to make tiger cupcakes

Bake the tiger cupcakes

To bake tiger striped cupcakes you’ll need two types of cake batter. You can use your favorite chocolate and vanilla cake recipes, or you can use box cake mixes like I did. I used Duncan Hines dark chocolate fudge and Duncan Hines classic white. One box of cake mix can make 12-24 cupcakes, so this is fair warning that you’re going to get a lot of cupcakes from this method.

Mix together 3 eggs, ½ a cup of oil and one cup of water with one box of cake mix in a bowl. In a separate bowl do the same with your second box of cake mix. 

In your bowl of chocolate cake mix, add black food coloring to make it nice and dark. This will help your tiger stripes look black instead of brown once the cake is baked. 

In your bowl of vanilla cake mix, add orange food coloring to make it a bright orange color. I used this brand of food coloring for both white and orange. Using the right brand of food coloring helps ensure the flavor doesn’t change and the colors are vibrant. 

tiger cake batter

Alternating orange and black tiger striped cupcakes

Now that both cake batter mixes are prepped, spoon the batter into two separate ziploc bags, one bag of black and one bag of orange. Try to squeeze all the air out of your plastic bag before sealing it shut. Cut the tip of the bag off so you can control how much comes out into your cupcake liner. 

cake batter in ziplocs

Alternate a small squeeze of black cake and next a small squeeze of orange cake in each cupcake liner until your cupcake liners are all about ¾ full of cake batter and then bake them for 16-20 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit depending on your cake mix instructions and oven.

cupcake tins

Smaller amounts of batter will give you more, smaller stripes. If you pour a large amount in at a time you’ll only end up with one or two stripes. 

Make the frosting

Make your vanilla buttercream frosting with 1 cup of butter and about 4 cups of icing sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla and 2 tsp of cream or milk. Blend it with a hand mixer or stand mixer for two minutes or until it’s fully blended and no sugar crystals remain. 

Add orange food coloring to your vanilla icing. I used this same brand of food coloring for my icing as I did with my cake batter. 

orange tiger frosting

Decorating tiger cupcakes

Tiger smiles & ears

Once your cupcakes are fully cooled, it’s time to decorate their cute little tiger faces. If you’re still waiting for your cakes to cool, start prepping the chocolate candy melts. I used orange candy melts for the tiger ears. They look a little dull and dusty in the package so you can rub a tiny bit of vegetable oil on your fingers and shine them up before placing them on your cupcakes. Instead of orange candy melts, you can use any other orange candy or orange covered chocolates you’d like. For instance, orange M&M’s work fine, but they’ll be a little smaller than the candy melts you see here. 

orange candy melts

Next, take your white candy melts and use a food safe black pen to draw the tiger smiles on. You can also use a toothpick and royal icing. I did both so you can see the darker black smiles are royal icing and the lighter ones are edible ink. The edible ink is much cleaner and easier to work with, but less dark.

Instead of white candy melts, you can also use mini Nilla Wafers with a black royal icing mouth. 

tiger faces

Orange icing and sanding sugar

Put orange icing on top of your tiger striped cupcakes and then dip them lightly onto a plate of orange sanding sugar. The sanding sugar helps give the cupcake a more refined and special look. 

orange sanding sugar

Assemble the tiger cupcakes

Place the orange candy melts for tiger ears and use a few drops of orange icing on the back of the white candy melts to secure the mouth to the top of the cupcake. 

orange tiger faces

Do a test run on a paper towel to see if your black royal icing is ready to use and make sure you’re happy with the consistency. If the royal icing is too hot it will drip all over the place. If it’s too cold it will be hard to work with.

Use the royal icing to create the tigers’ black eyes. You could also use brown M&M’s for the eyes although I wouldn’t personally use candy eyes for this recipe. I use candy eyes at Halloween because they look quite eerie but I would not use them for something cute like this.

Then add stripes to the top of the tiger’s forehead and sides of the tiger’s face using black royal icing. I used this type of black royal icing instead of making it myself and set it in a bowl of hot water to warm up so it would be the right consistency to use. 

finished tiger cupcakes

As another option, you could use some cute little party hat toothpicks to make the tiger cupcakes look like they’re real party animals. 

tiger cupcakes with party hats

Voila! Enjoy your finished tiger-themed cupcakes!

Ingredients for tiger cupcakes

Tiger striped cup cake options

  • One box of chocolate cake mix 
  • One box of white cake mix
  • Or use your favorite recipe of each cake
  • 1 cup Oil
  • 6 Eggs
  • 2 cups Water

Tiger themed cupcake frosting options

Tiger cupcake sprinkles and decorations

  • Black royal icing
    • You could also dye a small portion of your regular icing black and put it in a piping bag with a very small hole cut in the tip to draw the black icing lines.
  • Orange candy melts
    • You could use orange candy or coated chocolate like M&M’s instead for a smaller Tiger ear.
  • White candy melts
    • You can use mini Nilla Wafers instead of white candy melts for a similar shape and look.
  • Orange sanding sugar
    • Look for a really nice fine texture.
  • Black food safe pen
    • You can skip this ingredient if you prefer to use black royal icing for your tiger mouth instead of drawing it on.
  • Party hat toothpicks
    • These are optional but they make your tiger themed cupcakes look like real party-animals!

Tiger Cupcake tools 

  • Circular piping tip
  • Cupcake liners
  • Piping bag
  • Toothpicks
  • Cupcake pans
  • Bowls
  • Electric mixer
  • Scissors
  • Medium – large plastic ziploc bags

How to store tiger cupcakes

You can store your cute tiger cupcakes in an air tight container for about 12 hours at room temperature. I don’t recommend decorating them too far in advance. The black royal icing will sometimes start to bleed into the orange frosting and it won’t look nice anymore. 

If you need to make your cupcakes in advance of an event, leave them out on the counter to breathe, don’t trap them in with moisture. Letting them set out and dry completely will help the black royal icing stay in place.

Can you freeze tiger cupcakes?

I don’t recommend freezing the cupcakes once they’ve been decorated. You can freeze the tiger striped cake part of the recipe before you add any icing. Then thaw them out when you are ready to decorate them. If you decorate the entire tiger cupcake and then freeze it, when it thaws the black icing will probably bleed into the surrounding orange icing and it will look messy.

tiger themed cupcakes

Tiger Cupcakes (With Tiger Striped Cake Inside)

These tiger themed cupcakes are adorable on the outside and black and orange on the inside too. They’re sure to impress your party guests and leave them roaring for more!
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 18 hrs
Total Time 1 hr 48 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24
Calories 140 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Circular piping tip
  • 24 cupcake liners
  • 1 Piping bag
  • Toothpicks
  • 2 Cupcake pans
  • bowls
  • Electric mixer
  • Scissors
  • 2 Medium – large plastic ziploc bags

Ingredients
  

Tiger Cake

  • One box of chocolate cake mix
  • One box of white cake mix
  • 1 cup Oil
  • 6 Eggs
  • 2 cups Water

Frosting & Decorating

  • 1 cup Butter
  • 4 cups Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 tsp Cream or milk
  • Orange food coloring
  • Orange sanding sugar
  • Black royal icing You could also dye a small portion of your regular icing black and put it in a piping bag with a very small hole cut in the tip to draw the black icing lines.
  • Orange candy melts You could use orange candy or coated chocolate like M&M’s instead for a smaller Tiger ear.
  • White candy melts You can use mini Nilla Wafers instead of white candy melts for a similar shape and look.
  • Black food safe pen You can skip this ingredient if you prefer to use black royal icing for your tiger mouth instead of drawing it on.

Instructions
 

Bake the tiger cupcakes

  • To bake tiger striped cupcakes you’ll need two types of cake batter. You can use your favorite chocolate and vanilla cake recipes, or you can use box cake mixes like I did. I used Duncan Hines dark chocolate fudge and Duncan Hines classic white. One box of cake mix can make 12-24 cupcakes, so this is fair warning that you’re going to get a lot of cupcakes from this method.
  • Mix together 3 eggs, ½ a cup of oil and one cup of water with one box of cake mix in a bowl. In a separate bowl do the same with your second box of cake mix.
  • In your bowl of chocolate cake mix, add black food coloring to make it nice and dark. This will help your tiger stripes look black instead of brown once the cake is baked.
  • In your bowl of vanilla cake mix, add orange food coloring to make it a bright orange color.

Alternate the black & orange stripes

  • Now that both cake batter mixes are prepped, spoon the batter into two separate ziploc bags, one bag of black and one bag of orange. Try to squeeze all the air out of your plastic bag before sealing it shut. Cut the tip of the bag off so you can control how much comes out into your cupcake liner.
  • Alternate a small squeeze of black cake and next a small squeeze of orange cake in each cupcake liner until your cupcake liners are all about ¾ full of cake batter and then bake them for 16-20 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit depending on your cake mix instructions and oven.
  • Smaller amounts of batter will give you more, smaller stripes. If you pour a large amount in at a time you’ll only end up with one or two stripes.

Make the frosting

  • Make your vanilla buttercream frosting with 1 cup of butter and about 4 cups of icing sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla and 2 tsp of cream or milk. Blend it with a hand mixer or stand mixer for two minutes or until it’s fully blended and no sugar crystals remain.
  • Add orange food coloring to your vanilla icing.

Decorate the cupcakes

  • Once your cupcakes are fully cooled, it’s time to decorate their cute little tiger faces. If you’re still waiting for your cakes to cool, start prepping the chocolate candy melts. I used orange candy melts for the tiger ears. They look a little dull and dusty in the package so you can rub a tiny bit of vegetable oil on your fingers and shine them up before placing them on your cupcakes. Instead of orange candy melts, you can use any other orange candy or orange covered chocolates you’d like. For instance, orange M&M’s work fine, but they’ll be a little smaller than the candy melts you see here.
  • Next, take your white candy melts and use a food safe black pen to draw the tiger smiles on. You can also use a toothpick and black icing. I did both so you can see the darker black smiles are royal icing and the lighter ones are edible ink. The edible ink is much cleaner and easier to work with, but less dark.
  • Instead of white candy melts, you can also use mini Nilla Wafers with a black icing mouth.
  • Put orange icing on top of your tiger striped cupcakes and then dip them lightly onto a plate of orange sanding sugar. The sanding sugar helps give the cupcake a more refined and special look.
  • Place the orange candy melts for tiger ears and use a few drops of orange icing on the back of the white candy melts to secure the mouth to the top of the cupcake.
  • Do a test run on a paper towel to see if your black royal icing is ready to use and make sure you’re happy with the consistency. If the royal icing is too hot it will drip all over the place. If it’s too cold it will be hard to work with. You can also just use regular black icing and a small round piping tip (size 3).
  • Use the royal icing or black frosting to create the tigers’ black eyes. You could also use brown M&M’s for the eyes. I wouldn’t personally use candy eyes for this recipe. I use candy eyes at Halloween because they look quite eerie but I would not use them for something cute like this.
  • Then add stripes to the top of the tiger’s forehead and sides of the tiger’s face using black royal icing or more black frosting.
Keyword cupcakes, Dessert

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