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A photo of a chocolate cupcake with a buttercream turkey on top

Turkey Cupcakes

These festive turkey cupcakes will charm your guests at first sight but the best part is they're moist, rich and delicious chocolate cake on the inside. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 18
Calories 180kcal


For the Cupcakes:

  • ¼ cup sour cream 57g, room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk 118mL, room temperature
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ¼ cup hot coffee 60mL
  • cup veggie oil 79mL
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 10mL
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 180g
  • 1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar 265g
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder 20g, nice
  • 1 tsp baking soda 6g
  • ½ tsp kosher salt 2.5g

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1 2/3 lbs confectioners sugar 700g 900g
  • 1 lb butter 450g, unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 5mL
  • 1 tbsp whole milk 15mL
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt 2g
  • food coloring


For the cupcakes:

  • Preheat to 350F. Add papers to a cupcake tin.
  • Sift the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  • Add the wet ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  • Whisk until smooth and combined.
  • Distribute batter evenly into the cupcake papers and bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow time to cool.

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
  • Sift the confectioners' sugar into the creamed butter.
  • Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and milk a tablespoon at a time until the desired smooth consistency is reached.
  • Separate into buttercream into multiple bowls. A very small batch for the white and a larger batch for the red and chocolate.
  • Add food coloring to create yellow, orange and red the turkey colors. Use cocoa to get the brown base color.
  • Transfer each color to piping bags fitted with wilton 103 piping tips. Transfer the brown to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.

For the Assembly:

  • Start with a red ruffle around the perimeter of the cupcake. Leave a gap open for the body. Just move your hand back and forth to make the ruffle.
  • Pipe an orange ruffle, then a yellow ruffle making sure to leave a void in the middle where the body and head will go.
  • Pipe one continuous body and head. Make sure to use more pressure for the body so it's fatter than the neck/head
  • Add a a dot of white buttercream for the eye and press an upside-down mini chocolate chip into the center
  • Pipe a beak on the side of the turkey head with the yellow buttercream then add the waddle with a bit of red buttercream.



  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don't have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
  • You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
  • If you prefer your frosting to be less sweet then try whipping up a batch of Swiss or Italian buttercream. Silky smooth and delicious!
  • If you don't have a round tip just snip the end off a piping bag and it will work pretty well.
  • Try some crazy colors for the feathers. You don't have to stick with the traditional fall palate.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 250mg | Sugar: 30g