Back to School Lunch Ideas ABC 123 Cupcakes

Need a fun creative treat for school functions or lunch boxes?  Make these dark chocolate cupcakes decorated with school bus yellow frosting, chocolate grams and M & M’s. Piped frosting spells ABC- 123 and other fun school lingo makes these cupcakes just plain fun  to eat.  They are easy to make and your kids will love em.

Back to School Lunch Ideas ABC 123 Cupcakes

How to Make these Back to School Themed Cupcakes

You can make these cupcakes from scratch or use a cake mix, which is the recipe that I have posted for you.  Cake Mixes are exact measurements, fast and easy to put together, however if you want to make the cakes from scratch you can use my Dark Mocha Chocolate Cupcake recipe. 

Before decorating the cupcakes, make sure they are cool to touch.  If you need to replace the cupcake liner, frost the cupcakes first then slip a new cupcake liner under the cakes.  No need to remove the original liner. Cupcake liners come in many fun colors so have some fun showcasing your cupcakes after they are decorated. Bright yellow would be a great color to use instead of the foil ones I used in photo.

Important Cupcake Decor Ingredients

Back to School Cupcake Decor materials


Back to School ABC-123 Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

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Chocolate Cupcakes are frosted with school bus food gel buttercream frosting.  Fudge graham cookies are piped with ABC’s and 1, 2, 3, red M & M as an apple, and Good & Plenty for chalk.  If you don’t want to make the cupcakes purchased will work.

  • Author: Liz Bushong
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 90 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking-Decorating
  • Cuisine: American



115 ounce package dark chocolate fudge cake mix

13 ounce package chocolate instant pudding/pie mix-dry

11/3 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting & Decor:

2 cups canned vanilla frosting

23 drops golden yellow food gel

2 piping bags

2-Decorating tips # 2- small round writing tip

24 fudge covered graham cookies, tested Keebler Delux

24 red M & M’s

24 Good & Plenty candies- separated use white only for chalk

1 cup royal icing, 1/4 cup tinted green for apple stem, 3/4 cup for script

Royal Icing Recipe:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 teaspoons meringue powder

2 teaspoons water

Makes 1 cup royal icing.  May need to double recipe depending on decor.


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cupcake tin with paper liners, lightly spray liners with cooking spray.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed to blend.
  3. Using ice cream scoop, scoop cup cake batter into cake liners 1/2 full.
  4. Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes. Cake is done when cake springs back after touching center.
  5. Let cool, remove from pan. Keep cakes up right side up.

Make Royal icing:  In small bowl, beat together confectioners sugar, meringue powder and water, stir until smooth and pipe-able.  If too thick, add more water a little at a time. Divide frosting into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup. Tint 1/4 cup icing with green food gel, tiny bit at a time, until desired color.  This is for the stems on apple ( red M & M’s).

Decorate:  Place royal icing in disposable piping bag fitted with tip # 2.  Fill remaining bag with tinted green royal icing.

  1. Spread golden yellow frosting over the cupcake tops. Set aside.
  2. With white royal icing, pipe letters, numbers or words on fudge graham cookies, set aside to dry.
  3. Pipe tiny green stem on M & M’s with green royal icing.
  4. Place graham chalk boards on cupcake, apple M & M and royal icing piped piece of chalk.


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