Bringing all the classic flavors without the time or effort of making real dough, cinnamon roll cupcakes are the perfect rich, decadent addition to any celebration.
Last month I was tasked with making the cake for my grandmother’s- Granny’s- birthday party. When I asked her what she thought she wanted, she said, “Surprise me.” I was excited by the freedom she gave me, but at the same time, having no parameters made choosing flavors difficult.
I was playing around with the idea of churro or snickerdoodle cupcakes when it hit me: I already had the perfect recipe inspiration on the blog. If you’ve not yet had cinnamon roll bars, you must make them soon. They’re thick and chewy and smothered with a generous layer of homemade cream cheese frosting. The recipe manages to bring all the classic drool-worthy cinnamon roll flavors and pack them into a simple-to-make bar.
And they’re the inspiration for this equally delectable cupcake.
Cinnamon roll cupcakes deliver the warm, comforting flavors of the classic, but without the pain of baking with yeast and rolling out dough. In fact, they start with a boxed cake mix; can you get any easier than that? The thick batter is portioned into cupcake liners, baked and cooled, and topped with a smooth and rich cream cheese frosting.
Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
loosely adapted from cinnamon roll bars with cream cheese frosting
1 box yellow cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury Traditional Yellow)
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. melted butter
1/3 c. milk
2 tbs. cinnamon
1 tbs. vanilla extract
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. butter, room temperature
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar, optional (for garnish)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Mix well, until there are no lumps in the batter. Batter will be thick. Spoon it into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners. Fill each liner about three quarters full.
Bake for 18-22 minutes. Allow cupcakes to cool for five minutes, remove them from the pan to a wire rack, and let them continue cooling. In the meantime, make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, allowing it to fully incorporate before adding the next. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
Frost completely cooled cupcakes.
Recipe makes 18 cupcakes.
More cupcake recipes? Check out strawberry limeade cupcakes or Oreo cupcakes!
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