How to make faux cupcakes that look pastry shop pretty year round-perfect for food photography or display!


I confess to having a sweet tooth.  I love cupcakes and confections-especially anything with dark chocolate!  I also love collecting glass cupcake holders, antique cake plates and glass cloches, but they don’t have the same charm empty as when filled with beautiful cupcakes.  So I decided to try to figure out how to make faux cupcakes that would have the pastry shop look every day, and not just on special occasions!

And the faux cupcakes serve another purpose-they are great as stand ins when I need cupcakes for photography and don’t have time to bake or make a trip to the bakery!

Here’s the DIY recipe for how to make them-and the best part is they’re inexpensive, long lasting and won’t ruin anyone’s diet!Faux-Cupcakes-DIY


While your frosting is drying, prepare the faux cupcakes.  Cut the 3″ styrofoam ball in half and soften and round the cut edge to look like a cupcake.  It’s easier to trim the edges a little with an Exacto knife first, being very careful as you do so.

Then use a coarse sandpaper to finish smoothing the edges until it fits into your paper cupcake holder and looks like the shape below.  The weight of the frosting will hold the cake down in the cup a bit.

Select a chocolate brown acrylic and paint the styrofoam.  If your faux frosting is dry, paint it with acrylic paints of your choice and sprinkle with glitter while the paint is wet. The fun part is embellishing the faux cupcakes as you would the real thing!


I painted and glittered a wood bead to make a faux sugared cherry and added a pretty silver paper liner.


A chocolate kiss works great for a garnish inside a ring of faux frosting.  Perfect for food photography when chocolate is called for!


An alternative to the vanilla swirl would be to paint it light brown to look like milk chocolate frosting!


The finished cupcakes are ready for photo shoots and for display in my cupcake holders, and unlike my real cupcakes they look good enough to eat, so keep them out of reach of children!


They’ll stay pastry shop pretty year round, and the paper cups and embellishments can be changed for different seasons and holidays!  Enjoy!  


6 responses to “How to make Faux Cupcakes

  1. Those are some of the most beautiful faux cupcakes I have ever seen. I’ve never seen anyone do the icing separate. Can you tell me what kind of foam balls do you use? Are they the smooth ones are the other ones?
    Thank you

    1. Thanks so much! I used the smooth styrofoam balls for the cupcake and cut them in half. The smooth foam versions are also sold in some craft stores already halved to make it easier!

      1. What if I wanted to stick a decoration in the top of the frosting? Should I just immediately frost the top of the cupcake and insert the decoration? I only ask, bc I see you let your frosting dry by itself. I am curious how it will work. I’ve only used light weight spackle for mine. I notice most people do. What do you see as the biggest difference?
        Thanks 🙂

      2. I think it would be fine to insert the decorations into the frosting before it hardens. I like to change the cupcake decorations seasonally so wanted to keep them plain. And I’ve never used light weight spackle but if it doesn’t crack over time I think it would be fine to use!

    1. I would try to mix yellow with a little white to get the shade of yellow cake you like. You could also add a touch of Naples yellow deep if you have acrylics on hand. Adding a tiny amount of a gold or brown shade and blending it on the edges of the cupcake would make it look as if it had naturally browned as it baked.

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