Easy Grinch cupcakes made with a vanilla cupcake base (coloured green, of course) and topped with a simple buttercream frosting face. Perfect for kids! The great thing about Grinch cupcakes is that they don't need to be perfect! The drawings are so silly, and he makes such different faces, that it makes absolute sense for it to be a bit off-kilter.
If you love the Grinch too, try these cupcakes! They're just right to make for a movie night with any version of the movie. We've provided two decorating options, one that uses more buttercream, and one less, so you can decide how sweet you'd like them.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Sugar: pictured is golden cane sugar, but white sugar will make for more evenly coloured cupcakes. You can use either.
- Frosting: if you prefer a less-sweet option, use cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream.
- Vanilla: pictured is a vanilla pod but extract works just as well!
- Make it dairy-free: use a good vegan butter and non-dairy milk for both the cupcakes and the frosting.
- Make it vegan: to make vegan Grinch cupcakes, use our vegan vanilla cake as a base and top with vegan buttercream.
Step 1: cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs.
Step 2: add the food colouring and mix to combine.
Step 3: in another bowl, mix the dry ingredients.
Step 4: mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk, and alternate until the batter is mixed.
Step 5: spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups.
Step 6: bake until lightly golden and cool before decorating.
- Omit the green: the food colouring in the cupcakes is optional, but it adds a bit more Grinchiness. You can, of course, use any cupcake base that you like - our confetti cupcakes are also nice here, especially with green sprinkles.
- Add some yellow: if using green food colouring, you might want to mix with a touch of yellow to get a better Grinch colour.
- Don't over-mix: this is why the food colouring is added to the butter mixture, so that it's already incorporated and you don't need to beat the batter too long. If cupcake batter is over-mixed, it results in tough cake.
You'll need three piping tips to get the flat face pictured in the second option, pictured below. A petal tip for the eyes, a very small round tip for the black details, and any kind of swirl tip for the hair at the top.
If you don't have any specific tips, don't worry! Simply do round eyes and cut a very small hole in a piping bag (or zip-top) for the black elements. The base green icing is spread on with an offset spatula or butter knife.
Use any kind of candy hearts you can find, or leave them out altogether. You could also pipe little hearts if preferred.
How do you make Grinch green icing?
In the animated version, the Grinch is quite yellow-green, so you'll have to add some yellow if you're using green food colouring. If you're making green from yellow and blue, make sure to add quite a bit more yellow to balance it out (about 6 parts yellow to 1 part blue).
When do I add food colouring to frosting?
Mix the frosting as usual, then beat in the food colouring when it's done or very nearly done. Mix until the colour is just combined and don't over-whip.
If you make this Grinch Cupcake recipe or any other cupcake recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
- Muffin tin
- muffin cups
- Mixing bowl
- Electric mixer
- Wire rack
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- offset spatula or butter knife
- Piping bags
- Swirl icing tip
- Petal icing tip
- Small round icing tip
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose (white) flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Several drops green food colouring
- ½ cup milk
- 1 batch Easy Vanilla Frosting divided
- Green food colouring
- Black food colouring
- Yellow food colouring
- 12 candy hearts optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Place the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mix on high speed with an electric mixer for about three minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, until very smooth and light in texture.
- Add the vanilla and green food colouring and mix to incorporate.
- Add half of the milk and mix on low speed until combined. Add half the flour mixture and mix. Repeat, being careful not to over-mix.
- Scoop the batter out into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly golden in colour and the cupcakes pass a toothpick test.
- Cool the muffins for about 10 minutes in the tin before removing to cool fully on a rack.
- The cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days, and freeze well. After frosting, it’s best to refrigerate (take them out half an hour before serving to soften the icing).
- Make the buttercream, then divide into three parts to add food colouring. You need about ¼ cup each of yellow and black, and the remaining should be coloured green.
- Add the food colouring until the icing reaches the desired shade, then scoop into piping bags.
- For the green top, use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread an even layer of icing, creating a flat top.
- Use a swirl piping tip to pipe a swirl of green 'hair' at the top of the cupcake.
- Pipe the yellow eyes with a small petal tip, the larger part closer to the middle and moving outward to create a teardrop shape.
- Use a very small round tip for the black icing. Pipe two small dabs on the yellow eyes, followed by eyebrows, a half circle for the nose, and the smile.
- Optionally add a candy heart, and serve.