Virginia Feature: Trompe L’oeil- Sushi Cupcakes

Imagine walking into a dinner party, and seeing spicy tuna rolls and chopsticks on the dessert tray.   Then, imagine biting into the sushi rolls and tasting sweet vanilla cake topped with coconut butter cream.   Sushi cupcakes are unexpected treats that add an artsy and playful flare to your dessert.   It’s a “trompe l’oeil,” or deception of the eye, which adds an element of mischief to the menu.

Years ago, my sister served Sushi Cupcakes at a party. They created quite a stir, as people gathered ‘round, equally puzzled, delighted, and curious, to try a bite. So, I was really excited to recreate these exotic treats with our girls.

With a handful of kid friendly ingredients like candy jellies to give the illusion of raw fish, and dark red fruit roll-ups to mimic seaweed, these mini cupcakes are as fun to decorate as they are to eat. Sushi cupcakes are a perfect party treat. Hope you enjoy!

Inspired by Clare Crespo’s Cookbook: The Secret Life of Food


Sushi Cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Yields: 30


  • 1 Cup - All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon - Baking Powder
  • 1/8 Teaspoon - Salt
  • 3/4 Cup - Unsalted Butter (6 Tablespoons) (Grass-fed)
  • 3/4 Cup - Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg (free range organic)
  • 1 Teaspoon - Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup - Milk (grass-fed)
  • 1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon - Sour Cream (all natural)
  • 2 Cups - 10-X pure cane powdered sugar
  • 1 Pinch - Salt
  • 1 Stick (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons) - Unsalted Butter (at room temperature and grass-fed)
  • 1 Teaspoon - Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 Tablespoons - Milk (grass-fed)
  • 2 Cups - Sweetened Shredded Coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In one bowl whisk flour, baking powder, and salt
  3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together with a hand mixer. Add in egg, vanilla, milk, and sour cream. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute
  4. Combine flour mixture with wet ingredients, then stir until incorporated
  5. Line miniature muffin tin with mini paper liners, then fill each cup about ¾ full
  6. Bake for 12-13 minutes, rotating tins half way through to make sure they bake evenly. Once a toothpick comes out clean, they are done
  7. Remove from oven, place on wire rack, and allow to cool completely before decorating
  9. Spoon “Sushi rice” Butter cream on top of cupcakes
  10. Trim the fruit rollups to the height of the cupcakes. Wrap one fruit roll-up around the side of each cupcake and secure with a toothpick
  11. Arrange the chopped fruit jellies and candies on the tops
  12. Roll a ball of frosting into a rectangular shape. Place a candy fish on top and then wrap with a thinly sliced fruit roll up

Additional Info

Sushi Cupcake decorations 1. Dark cherry fruit roll ups or fruit leather: seaweed. 2. Gummy fish 3. Chopped assorted fruit jellies: sushi (orange and red jellies make a great spicy tuna roll) 4. Candied green straws or green gummy worms cut into skinny strips 5. Toothpicks to hold the seaweed in place 6. Chopped dried mango: ginger 7. Chop sticks for extra garnish

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