Animal Crossing | New Horizons Birthday Cupcakes

New Horizons Birthday Cupcakes inspired by Animal Crossing. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

Greetings, fellow Tom Nook debtors! Today, we’re taking a break from the world being on fire to look at brighter horizons. Animal Crossing: New Horizons that is! 

This wholesome, not-so-deserted island simulator gives us an escape into a place where money grows on trees, and whale sharks fit in your pockets. In Animal Crossing, everyone can be a new friend through a friendly chat and a fruit basket. Speaking of fruit, though, today’s recipe for birthday cupcakes certainly uses a bushel of them!

Click here to skip to the recipe for New Horizons Birthday Cupcakes!

Tropic Cottagecore Living

Animal Crossing has it all for the exhausted adult, right? Build the island of your dreams using materials in your front yard while accruing interest-free debt. Make a mint selling weeds and garden pests. Dress like a four-year-old while silently screaming into the void that is 2020. Say hello to friends who are always happy to see you.

I’ve wanted to make a New Horizons-based dish for a while, but I was stuck. While oranges, coconuts, apples, and too many cherries grow all over my island, I could not cook them. Ratatouille simmers perpetually on my stovetop without burning. But I can never eat it. But then one day, I logged in, then this happened:

My favorite villagers threw me a birthday party! I have barely seen my friends since March. Birthdays without hugs are like an island day without the music of K.K. Slider. And here were Sheldon, Pashmina, and Bertha spoiling me to a cake, words of kindness, and a pinata.

That’s right, a pinata. Not just any pinata, though. This paper mache parcel is chock-full of cupcakes.

New Horizons in Baking

Since your character doesn’t need to eat, Nook’s Cranny is more likely to stock wallpaper than ingredients. I also thought it gauche presenting chicken and cow villagers a cake made with eggs or dairy. So with that, I realized the vegan was the way to go with these cupcakes.

New Horizons Birthday Cupcakes. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

No worries, though. Like with many New Horizons recipes, you can find most things you need on the island. First, hit up the beach for some coconuts and use the oil and milk in place of dairy. Just keep in mind that coconut oil does have a lower melting point than butter, so have patience and stay close to the fridge while decorating.

Next, you hit the orchard for some apples, oranges, and cherries. Applesauce makes a healthier alternative to eggs. Not to mention it allows you to avoid an awkward conversation with Becky or Plucky. 

Orange zest and maraschino cherry syrup flavor our cakes and coconut frosting. (Or if you have stonefruit allergies — I see you, J — try using strawberry jam or syrup instead.) Make sure to opt for organic maraschino cherries if you’re like me and can’t stand the chemical aftertaste of other brands. It might cost a few more bells, but the results will undoubtedly make it ring.

Sing for your Supper!

If you plan to cook the recipe off the site, keep scrolling. However, while access to recipes on the blog will always be free, I now have printable PDF recipe cards and thematic cook-along Spotify playlists as rewards for those who choose to support the blog.

The printable recipe cards and playlist for New Horizons Birthday Cupcakes will be available as a $2 donor reward on my Ko-Fi page until the next post goes up.


You can instead join my Patreon community at the “Sing for your Supper” level ($1/month) for access to the playlists or the “It’s All in the Cards” level ($5/month) or higher for access to ALL of my blog recipe cards and playlists. Patrons of all reward tiers will even receive a welcome gift of my Lord of the Rings recipe cards and playlists from January 2019 to get you started.

Definitely not Stale Cupcakes

New Horizons Birthday Cupcakes inspired by Animal Crossing. Recipe by The Gluttonous Geek.

New Horizons Birthday Cupcakes

Makes a dozen.

Equipment: Oven, 12-cup standard muffin tin, cupcake liners, mixer, two mixing bowls, and a piping bag with a large round tip.


  • 1 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3/8 cup maraschino cherry syrup
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 and 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 12 maraschino cherriesrainbow sprinkles


Make the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and fill the muffin tin with cupcake wrappers.
  2. Cream the coconut oil and sugar in a bowl using the mixer until fluffy. Then blend in the apple sauce, vanilla extract, and orange zest.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl with a fork. Then alternate adding the flour mix and the coconut milk to the bowl of wet ingredients. Make sure to use the mixer to blend in between until all comes together as a smooth batter.
  4. Fill each cup on the muffin tin 3/4 of the way up with batter. Then bake in the oven 20-22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely before decorating.
Make the frosting and decorate:
  1. Blend the coconut oil, cherry syrup, orange zest, and vanilla using the mixer in a clean mixing bowl.Adding the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, whip the frosting until light and fluffy.
  2. Add icing to the piping bag and refrigerate for five minutes. Pipe a ball of frosting onto the center of the cake. Then pipe outward in a starburst pattern from and returning to the center with each pass. Refrigerate the bag again if the icing becomes melty. Repeat with the remaining cakes.
  3. Top each cake with a cherry and sprinkles before serving.

The Gluttonous Geek