Surprise Inside Safari Cupcakes

I’m obsessed with surprises. There’s nothing like putting a smile on someone’s face because you gave them a surprise that they truly didn’t expect. I also love throwing in that element of surprise when I bake. On the outside, these may seem like ordinary safari cupcakes, but there is an animal print surprise on the inside! These Surprise Inside Safari Cupcakes are guaranteed to be a hit at a kids (or adult!) party! If you love safari animals, check out my Zebra Cake.

Something that really adds a nice touch to these cupcakes are these cupcake wrapper templates. You can print those out here. I’d print them on card stock and put them on at end after the cupcakes are baked.


  1. Preheat a moderate oven (175°C/350°F)
  2. Make your vanilla cake mix per the packaging instructions.
  3. Place two spoonfuls of vanilla cake mix into a small bowl, and add 4 spoonfuls of cake mix into another small bowl.
  4. Add cocoa into your bowl with only 2 spoonfuls of cake mix. Mix well.safaricupcakes-brown
  5. Add black food colouring to that vanilla cake mix well.
  6. Place half of your remaining vanilla cake mix to a snap seal bag. Also add your entire brown cake mix into a snap seal bag, and your entire black cake mix into a snap seal bag.
  7. Line your cupcake tray with cupcake liners.
  8. Cut a fine large tip from your snap seal bag with vanilla cake mix. Pipe about ⅓ of your cupcake liners with vanilla cake mix into 6 of your cupcake liners.
  9. Cut a fine tip from your snap seal bag with black candy melts. Pipe a black circle directly over the cupcake batter. Then pipe another dot in the center of your circle. This should look somewhat like a target or bullseye.safaricupcakes-black
  10. With your brown cake batter, pipe the exact same pattern directly over the black cake batter.safaricupcake-leapordpipe
  11. With the black cake mix, pipe another layer directly over the brown cake layer design.
  12. Pipe your vanilla cake mix with a swirl starting in the center and moving outwards.
  13. Repeat the process of creating the bullseye in each of the cupcakes with a black, brown, black bullseye pattern. Then add another vanilla cake layer. Make sure this doesn’t fill over ⅔ of the cake.
  14. Add your remaining brown cake mix and add it into your white cake mix. Add orange food colouring and mix well.
  15. Spoon a layer of orange cake mix to the bottom of the remaining 6 cupcake liners.
  16. Pipe a large circle of black cake mix to the center of the cupcake.safaricupcakes-tiger
  17. Dollop another orange ring of cake mix over the black ring, then another black ring in the orange ring, and so on until it’s about ⅔ full.safaricupcakes-tiger2
  18. Bake in a moderate oven for about 12 minutes.
  19. Use a pastry brush to paint orange spots on an unmelted white candy melt. Draw a black ring around the orange. Draw black tiger stripes on unmelted orange candy melts.
  20. Wrap your printed animal print card cupcake wrappers, and wrap them around the bottom of the base of your cupcake. Tape where the 2 edges meet.
  21. Place your buttercream frosting into a piping bag with an open piping tip, and pipe a high swirl onto your cupcakes. Place your toppers on top of your frosting.safaricupcakes-final

These cupcakes are wild! 🐅 🐆

For the printable recipe click here:

What You’ll Need:

  • Vanilla cake mix (box cake) & ingredients to make the cake mix
  • Buttercream frosting
  • Unmelted white and orange candy melts (or you can use little fondant circle disks)
  • Black food colour paste or gel
  • Orange food colour paste or gel
  • Unsweetened cocoa (or brown food colouring)

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