These Fake Cupcakes Are Perfect for April Fools

Trick your friends with these fake cupcakes, just in time for April Fools’ Day.


Each year on the first of April, people from all over the globe drop the serious faces and embrace the chance to partake in a day of utter foolishness. April Fools’ Day—sometimes called All Fools’ Day—is commemorated by playing practical jokes on unknowing victims, then calling out, “April fool!” This tradition has been carried out for centuries, yet its precise origins remain unclear to cultural historians.

Some believe the celebration is connected to the changing of seasons, while others say it derives from the adoption of the Gregorian calendar. Ancient cultures once celebrated the new year on April 1st until Roman Pope Gregory VIII requested a new calendar that marks New Year’s Day on the first of January.

No matter how the fun began, there’s no better way to participate in some light-hearted April Fools’ Day laughter than with a creative culinary prank played on your favorite food lover. Below is a recipe for delicious cupcakes—shepherd’s pie cupcakes, that is.


1 pound ground beef
¼ cup rolled oats
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1½ teaspoons dried basil
1 small yellow onion
⅛ ounce fresh chives, divided
1 egg
10 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter + more for muffin pan
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

You’ll Need

standard muffin pan
medium pot
aluminum foil
baking sheet
potato masher (optional)
pastry bag (optional)

Makes 6 cupcakes

How To

1. Prepare Ingredients: Preheat oven to 375°F. Set aside butter to soften at room temperature until ready to use. Using butter, grease 6 cups in a muffin pan very well. Pat beef dry with paper towel. Rinse chives and thinly slice. Peel onion and cut about ½ into small dice to yield about 2 tablespoons, reserving remainder for use in another recipe as desired.

2. Form Meat Cupcakes: In a large bowl, combine oats, oregano, basil, beef, diced onion, and 1 egg. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper as desired. Using your hands, mix well. Divide mixture evenly and form into 6 balls, about 1½-inches in diameter. Divide balls evenly in prepared muffin pan, gently pressing down.

3. Bake Meat Cupcakes: Place meat cupcakes on a foil-lined baking sheet and transfer to oven and bake until browning on top and cooked through, about 25 minutes, then remove and set aside to cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove from pan.

4. Make Mashed Potato Frosting: While meat cupcakes bake, peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add salt generously, bring to a boil over high heat, and cook until tender when pierced with a knife tip, 10–12 minutes. Drain and return to pot, off heat. Add butter, heavy cream and ½ of chives to pot. Using a fork or potato masher, mash until smooth. Season with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper as desired.


5. Assemble Shepherd’s Pie Cupcakes: Spoon mashed potatoes into a pastry bag and pipe on top of baked meat cupcakes. Alternatively, using a knife or the back of a spoon, spread mashed potatoes for a more rustic look. Sprinkle remaining chives on top. Present cupcakes to a food-loving pal and wait a beat, then yell out gleefully, “April Fool!”


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