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Mortarboard Cupcakes

I made these cute cupcakes when my children graduated from high school. They are so easy and can be made with your school colors.—Margaret Hooper, Winchester, New Hampshire
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    1-1/2 dozen


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring
  • 9 whole graham crackers, halved
  • 18 milk chocolate M&M's
  • Black shoestring licorice, cut into 36 pieces (3 inches each)


  • In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until combined.
  • Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Add food coloring if desired.
  • Level off the top of cupcakes; frost sides and bottom. Place upside down on a serving platter or covered board. Frost graham crackers; place one on each cupcake. Place an M&M's candy in the center of each cracker with two licorice pieces for a tassel.

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