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Polar Bear Cupcakes

Polar Bear Cupcakes are a fun and adorable way to add holiday cheer to any event. Incredibly delicious, combining soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes with creamy frosting and white candy melts. The white sanding sugar on top gives them a fuzzy winter feel that’s perfect for the season.

Two polar bear cupcakes on a wood background with Christmas decorations in the background.

Polar Bear Cupcakes

 

Polar Bear Cupcakes are so cute! The sweet (literally!) face on top of each cupcake is made from frosting, white candy melts and sanding sugar. The eyes and nose are made with black sugar pearl sprinkles. These look so winter-y and are a fun recipe to make.

They make great treats for Christmas celebrations, winter birthdays and even baby showers. Everyone loves polar bears!

These adorable polar bear cupcakes really are a fun way to bring cheer to your holiday parties. Serve these along with a few Christmas themed cupcakes for a colorful display of sweet treats. Add these Santa Cupcakes and these Grinch Cupcakes for a variety of delicious desserts.

Why You’ll Love these Polar Bear Cupcakes

  • These are the cutest cupcakes ever!
  • You can make it a really easy dessert by using box cake mix and a tub of buttercream frosting.
  • You can go all out and make them extra delicious by making them from scratch.
  • Decorating them is very easy.
  • Kids and grown ups love them!

 

More Holiday Recipes

Christmas Marshmallow Pops

Cutest Grinch Oreo Balls

Santa Cupcakes

Christmas Charcuterie Board

 

Kitchen Equipment

Your kitchen tools will vary depending on if you’re making homemade cupcakes and buttercream or if you’re using a cake mix and pre-made icing.

  • Stand Mixer with a paddle attachment and large bowl (or a hand mixer if needed)
  • Paper cupcake liners
  • Medium bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Muffin pan
  • Piping bag or ziploc bag
  • Large round piping tip
  • Cookie Scoop
  • Angled spatula

Ingredients

Your ingredients will vary depending on if your making polar bear cupcakes from scratch or from store-bought mixes.

VANILLA CUPCAKES: Use my homemade vanilla cupcake recipe or your favorite box mix. For homemade cupcakes, you’ll need flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, whole milk, pure vanilla extract, unsalted sweet cream butter, sugar, 3 eggs (1 egg and 2 egg whites).

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING: Vanilla frosting to cover the cupcakes and candy melts. Again, you can use our recipe for this delicious buttercream or your favorite store bought white frosting. For homemade frosting you’ll need powdered sugar, unsalted sweet cream butter, pure vanilla extract and heavy cream.

WHITE CHOCOLATE MELTING WAFERS: You’ll use these for decorating. They make the cute round polar bears ears and nose. I use the Ghirardelli chocolate wafers or Wilton candy melts.

BLACK PEARL SPRINKLES: For the cute face. A bottle of editable black pearl sprinkles will have various sizes, you’ll need two of the larger pearls for the candy eyes and a smaller pearl for the polar bear nose. You can find these at your local grocery store or if you have a Michael’s near by, they carry a good variety.

WHITE SANDING SUGAR: This is what gives these cupcakes the cute and fuzzy look, plus it tastes yummy!

Basic Polar Bear Cupcake Ingredients displayed on wood background. Bowl of white chocolate wafers, sanding sugar, black pearl sprinkles, a vanilla cupcake and one fully decorated polar bear cupcake.                                                         

 

How to Make Polar Bear Cupcakes

Here are the main steps in making this tasty polar bear cupcake recipe:

Mix the vanilla cupcake batter. See the recipe card below for detailed instructions on how to make homemade vanilla cupcakes. If using a box mix to make super easy polar bear cupcakes, follow the package instructions on the box to mix and bake.

Mix up the buttercream frosting and add a small portion of the frosting into your piping bag with a large open tip.

Tip: Let the cupcakes completely cool before decorating.

Make an assembly line to create each polar bear cupcake. Start by using the cookie scoop and scoop a mound of frosting on top of the cupcake. Use the cake spatula to smooth into a thick mound of frosting. A thin layer of buttercream won’t cut it here. You need a thick layer to hold the wafer polar bear ears.

Vanilla cupcake with a thick layer of buttercream frosting on top.

 

Grab two white chocolate melting wafers. Pipe frosting on top of each one.

Next, stick the bottom edge of each wafer into the thick frosting on the top corners of the cupcakes to create the polar bear ears.

Place another melting wafer in the center of the cupcake. Then cover in frosting, making sure to pipe a small swirl on top to give the polar bear a slightly pointy nose.

 

Four photo collage decorating the polar bear cupcakes: top left is added frosting to a chocolate wafer, top right is the wafer pressed partially into the frosted cupcake, bottom left shows both wafers for ears and a wafer without frosting in the middle of the cupcake and bottom right is the added frosting on the wafer for the nose.

 

Hold your cupcake over a bowl and cover it generously with white sanding sugar. The extra sugar will fall into the bowl to keep from making a big mess in the kitchen. Repeat until all your cupcakes are covered.

Add a small black pearl sprinkle on top of the nose. Then add two smaller black pearl sprinkles above to create the candy eyes.

Polar bear cupcake fully decorated.

 

Variations

There are several easy polar bear cupcakes variations you can make. Here are a few ideas you might like:

  • Mix it up and use chocolate cupcakes for your base cupcake.
  • Do you love coconut? You could use shredded coconut instead to get that adorable fuzzy polar bear look. Just sprinkle coconut on the tops of cupcakes before adding the edible black pearl sprinkles.
  • Don’t have black pearl sprinkles? Just use a few dabs of black buttercream for the eyes and nose. Simply add black food coloring to a small amount of frosting to change the icing color. Then use ziploc bag with a tiny corner snipped off to pipe the decoration.

How to Store

Store these tasty treats in an airtight container at room temperature. These will keep for 3-4 days if sealed well in the container.

 

Polar Bear Cupcakes are a fun treat the whole family will love! Plus, they look amazing on any dessert table and are sure to bring lots of smiles and joy to all who indulge in them.

Yield: 16

Polar Bear Cupcakes

Two polar bear cupcakes on a wood background with Christmas decorations in the background.

Polar Bear Cupcakes are a fun and adorable way to add holiday cheer to any event. Incredibly delicious, combining soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes with creamy frosting and white candy melts. The white sanding sugar on top gives them a fuzzy winter feel that's perfect for the season.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1⁄2 cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2/3 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1⁄2 cup Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 4 1⁄2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 cup Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream

Instructions

Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vanilla.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the egg and egg whites one at a time, and beat 1 to 2 minutes until creamy.
  7. Slowly add half the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, then the remaining flour mixture, beating until just blended after each addition.
  8. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners and bake 18-20 minutes until the tops are just dry to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Buttercream Frosting

  1. Using a standing mixer with a paddle beater, beat butter and vanilla until fully combined.
  2. Mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar on low speed until combined. Note: the frosting will look bumpy.
  3. Add in the remaining powdered sugar and slowly increase speed to medium speed.
  4. Pour in the heavy cream and continue to beat the mixture until fully combined and smooth.

Decorating

  1. Scoop a mound of frosting on top each cupcake and use the cake spatula to smooth into a thick topping.
  2. Scoop some frosting into the piping bag.
  3. Take a white melting wafer and pipe a dollop of frosting on top of it.
  4. Place the frosting wafer into a top corner of the frosting mound to create the ear of the bear. Repeat for the second polar bear ear.
  5. Place a wafer in the center of the cupcake to create the nose and pipe frosting on top of it.
  6. Hold the cupcake over a bowl and coat with white sanding sugar, letting the extra fall into the bowl for less clean up later.
  7. Add two large size black pearl sprinkles for the eyes and place them above the nose. Gently press them down into the frosting
  8. Add a slightly smaller black pearl sprinkle for the nose.

Notes

See recipe post for variation ideas.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 224mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 0gSugar: 44gProtein: 3g

Nutritional values are estimates and not exact.

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