Dino is ready to Party!

Hello!  Today I wanted to share with you how to make a cupcake-cake!  There are lots of things to love about cupcake-cakes…but my favorite is that you get the look of a carved cake without the stress of, well…carving!  Step away from that serrated knife–cupcakes and icing are all that you need…

First, pick your design.  Today felt like a Stegasaurus kind of day–so that’s what I’m doing.  Use a dot of frosting on the bottom of each cupcake (or at least the ones along the outer edge) so that Dino won’t run away!  The smaller the space between your cupcakes, the better.

Next, frost over your cupcake creation with medium consistency icing (if your icing is very soft, it will sink down in between your cupcakes) — I find it easier to pipe on my frosting for a cleaner look– I’m using a tip 21.

Then, I like to smooth over everything with a spatula.

I want my Dino to have silky smooth skin  :0)  -so, I’m smoothing him over with a Viva paper towel.   Remember, this trick only works with a crusting buttercream. 

Next, we work on the spikes!  There are many possible variations–including fruit roll up cut-outs or fondant–but I’m going with melted white chocolate bark (or candy melts).  I tinted mine red with coloring powder–but you can also use candy coloring.  You can also buy pre-colored candy melts.

Now, smooth it onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper.  Use a fork or cake comb to create ridges.

Use a knife to form your spikes–this will make it easier for you to break them apart nice and clean.  Pop into the freezer for five minutes, or until chocolate has hardened.

Now we’re getting somewhere!  This is the fun part.  Apply a little frosting to the back of your spikes, then onto the dinosaur.

Mini chocolate chip eye, and friendly face applied with a toothpick.

Add a few buttercream dots and accents…

A few sprinkles….a chocolate party hat (leftover from our chocolate spikes)–a birthday message–and we’re done!


Thanks for joining me–come back soon to see what’s new!

Category: Blog Tutorials, Carved/3D, Cupcake, Cake Pop, etc. Methods, Miscellaneous Kids Themes, Monsters, Aliens, Dinosaurs, etc., Themes and Occasions


  1. Erica B. says: #1

    What a fun idea!!! Is it really messy when its broken apart?

  2. Melissa Diamond says: #2

    Hi Erica–No, I should add a picture of the dinosaur once he has been taken apart. Some of the cupcakes will have a little more icing than others, but pulling away the cupcakes isn’t messy.

  3. Tara says: #3

    I have loved this technique, but I can’t talk any of my clients in to doing it! They’re all stuck on these darn towers! Oh well! Crazy cute though!!! Thanks!

  4. Dana Fredericks says: #4


    I love your cakes … my favorites are the stack of book cakes & the monster cupcakes. They are both adorable & I also really want to try to make cake pops.

  5. katherine says: #5

    Very cute! Thanks for sharing how to do this.

  6. Devon H. says: #6

    Are those regular sized, and then mini sized cupcakes used in the design? Love this! Can’t wait to try this out. :)

  7. Melissa Diamond says: #7

    Hi Devon–yes! I used a combination of mini cupcakes and regular sized ones. You should try it. :0)

  8. Maria Lozano says: #8

    Thank you very much for sharing step by step!!!

  9. kendria says: #9

    I love this! What a great idea and thank you for the steps. I will attempt this cake for my nephew’s 4th birthday

  10. Tanya says: #10

    I did a trial run of this last night… what is ‘crusting buttercream’ and did you need to wet the paper towel to run it over the top. For my first attempt I was very pleased. Thanks for the great instructions :)

  11. Zainab Patel says: #11

    Hi Melissa
    I have just discovered your fabulous site here and I can’t wait to start using some of the ideas you have so kindly shared! My sons 5th birthday is coming up and I want to try this dino cupcake cake. Can you please share your buttercream frosting recipe? So that I get the consistency right. Thanks

  12. Kathy says: #12

    I just made this for a baby shower!! Thanks !!

  13. Robin says: #13

    Just used your creation for my 3 yr old daughter’s birthday. The pics help out so much, thank u! I used a brighter green with pink spikes and orange dots. It turned out well. Thanks again!

  14. Amanda Brown says: #14

    Can you please tell me the type of icing you used? I definitely HAVE to make this for my daughter’s 4th birthday next month and I want to practice the icing before her big day! Thank you for the pictures it helps so much!!

  15. Jill Durham says: #15

    Used your example of cupcake line up to get started. Finished product turned out super neat! I used fondant for the spikes and party hat. Very pleased. Thanks for the guide. It was a GIANT help!

  16. Amaris says: #16

    Did this and I am happy to say that it turned out great and was a hit! The directions were easy to follow. Thanks!

  17. Jennifer says: #17

    Thank you for the pics and detailed instructions. I’m excited to try this for my son’s 3rd bday in less than 2 weeks. I’m a little nervous cause I’m not much of a baker but I’m going to give it a try. If you have a chance, I too would love the recipe for the frosting. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  18. rachel says: #18

    Super Cute!!!! My son is obsessed with dinosaurs so im making this tonight for his birthday party.

  19. Stephanie says: #19

    Hello! I didn’t see a response to a few previous questions and I was just wondering the same things :) Is the recipe for the buttercream you used listed on the site? Also, should I wet the paper towel a little bit before smoothing the icing? THANK YOU!!

  20. BeBe says: #20

    Hi Karen, you can extend each row of the body with your regular size cupcakes
    making it as large as looks reasonable, because finding a cake base large enough to accommodate all 24 it would be difficult. The tray we have ours on is 12 x 20. I think I would make the cupcake dino to fit a base you have, but have extra decorated cupcakes to reach the 24 total you need.

    Here is a link to a good basic crusting buttercream frosting that will work well with this. link to recipelink.com

  21. Sara says: #21

    Hi!! My son loves dinosaurs! I really want attempt this. Before I do, what is crusting buttercream?

  22. BeBe says: #22

    Hi Sara, a crusting buttercream is the basic American buttercream made with butter (or vegetable shortening), powdered sugar and milk. After you have spread the buttercream onto the cake, just wait a few minutes ( the time will vary depending on your humidity). It is ready for the paper towel when you touch the buttercream with you finger and no buttercream is on your finger. Viva paper towels are best because they have no texture that will make impressions on the buttercream.

  23. Julie says: #23

    I’m so excited to try this for my sons third birthday! Question…how do you cover the cake so it stays good if you make it the night before ? I’m afraid leaving it out without being covered will make them stale and hard.

  24. Julie says: #24

    Also do you need to wet the paper towel before spreading ? And how did you get the cupcakes so close together?

  25. Melissa Diamond says: #25

    Hi Julie–Thanks, I’m glad that you are making this! I usually just keep my frosted cake or cupcakes closed up in a bakery box. You can keep it in a cool room, or refrigerate. If you refrigerate, you’ll just want to make sure that you bring it back out several hours before party time so that the butter in the frosting will have a chance to soften back up again. —

    No, you don’t need to wet the paper towel before spreading. As for placement, you can see in the first picture how I’ve staggered the cupcakes. Place one row, and then the following row beneath will be nestled in the spaces between. For any cupcakes on the outer edge of the design, you can put a small dot of buttercream on the bottom of the cupcake liner to help hold it in place. Good luck!

  26. Sara says: #26

    Can I get viva paper towels at any store? And how long to I cook the mini cupcakes for?

  27. Melissa Diamond says: #27

    Hi Sara–If you are in the US, most grocery stores carry this brand (at least, they do in my local stores.) — If you cannot find Viva brand towels, look for napkins that have no impressions. — As for the baking times on the minis, I would just check them at around the 10 minute mark or even a minute or two sooner, just to be safe. When they spring back when touched in the center, they are ready.

  28. Peggy says: #28

    Thank you for sharing this cupcake idea. I did it for my son’s fourth birthday. I used wafers for the spikes, and buttercream icing. I just used a spatula to level the frosting.

  29. Virgen M Aponte says: #29

    Muchas gracias muy bueno gracias por compartir

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