These cinnamon cupcakes are made from scratch and topped with cinnamon buttercream frosting. They’re the perfect treat for the holidays or any other time you want a yummy cinnamon treat.
The cupcakes are fluffy and moist with just the right amount of cinnamon and the buttercream adds the perfect finishing touch.
These cupcakes really are a family favorite and it’s so hard to eat just one!
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
Now let’s go through just a few of the important ingredients in these cupcakes and the buttercream.
Unsalted butter: Unsalted is best to use for the cake and the buttercream as using salted butter could unintentionally add in too much salt. Make sure your butter is room temp, but don’t microwave it.
You can check out my post on the differences between unsalted and salted butter here: Unsalted butter vs salted butter (link that will take you to a post about butter in cake recipes)
Buttermilk: Real buttermilk is best in this recipe, but if you can’t get access to it, you can use a substitute. (Make sure to check out the FAQ and tips section below for that.)
Cinnamon: Obviously you’ll need cinnamon for these cupcakes and for the buttercream. There really is no other substitute. I especially like Saigon cinnamon.
Vanilla extract or paste/emulsion: I prefer to use vanilla paste or emulsion instead of using extracts, but either can be used for this recipe. Paste or emulsions just have a better taste and don’t bake out as much. You can find my favorite vanilla paste/emulsion here: Vanilla Bean Paste (Affiliate link to vanilla bean paste)
Mixing Method Notes:
For the cupcakes, you’ll use the regular creaming method which just means you’ll whip up the sugar and butter nice and fluffy, then you’ll alternately add in the dry and liquid ingredients being careful not to overmix the batter.
Tips & FAQs:
It’s really best to use unsalted butter in the cake and the buttercream so you can be specific with the amount of salt you add. If you don’t have access to unsalted butter, just use salted and omit any salt called for in the recipe.
Don’t microwave it though, just set it out to slowly come to room temperature. Microwaving it heats in unevenly and you’ll get hotspots.
It’s really best if you use real buttermilk in this recipe. It will not make the cupcakes taste like buttermilk…it just adds a lot of moisture and amps up the flavor. If you really can’t get it though, you can use the substitution below:
Add one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a measuring cup, then add milk until it measures 1 cup. Stir well and let it sit for about five minutes before using.
You want to spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off otherwise scooping the measuring cup into the flour will essentially add too much flour.
You can spray them if you want. I’ve tried it both ways, spraying and not spraying, and the cupcakes didn’t stick either time for me.
No, you didn’t do anything wrong. These cupcakes will puff up and then flatten out a bit on the top as they bake. That’s okay and it does not affect the taste, texture or moistness.
If you really want a dome on the top of your cupcakes and don’t want them flat, you can cover and chill the cupcake batter for about 20 minutes before adding to the cupcake tins and that helps.
You didn’t do anything wrong. This cupcake recipe will make a few extra cupcakes, just cover and chill the remaining batter until you free up a cupcake pan.
I have not tested this recipe out as a layer cake, but it should work just fine. Add the batter to two, 8 inch round cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F. The cake layers will take a little longer to bake than cupcakes, so start checking for doneness at around 25 minutes or so. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out with a few moist crumbs or clean.
Even if the cupcakes are just slightly warm, the buttercream will slide off the top of the cupcake.
Make sure to store cupcakes in a well-sealed container so they don’t dry out. You don’t have to refrigerate these cupcakes unless you use a perishable frosting. If you do store these in the fridge, make sure they are tightly covered as they will dry out faster in the fridge.
Yes, but they must be wrapped very well. See my post on how to freeze cupcakes and cakes here: How to freeze cupcakes and cakes post. I find it’s best to use frozen cupcakes within a month.
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Ok, let’s get to the recipe!
Note About How I Write Recipes: I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are more familiar with and I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated when baking. For metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card below. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s just a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using volume measurements, I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Cinnamon Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting
For the cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
- 1 ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cup buttermilk (see substitution in the notes)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Fill cupcake tins with cupcake liners. This recipe will make about 28 cupcakes.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the liquid ingredients (buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract and vegetable oil). Whisk well and set aside.
- In another bowl, add the dry ingredients, except for the sugar (all-purpose flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda). Whisk well and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add in the other ingredients alternately to the butter and sugar mixture. Start and end with the dry ingredients (⅓ of the dry mixture, ½ the liquid mixture, ⅓ of the dry mixture, last ½ of the liquid mixture, then the last ⅓ of the dry mixture). Make sure to mix on medium between each addition, but only until just combined.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on medium just until well combined. Be sure not to mix too long, or the cupcakes will turn out dense. Stop mixing once the ingredients are well combined.
- Note before baking: These cupcakes will puff up and then flatten out a bit on the top as they bake. That’s okay and it does not affect the taste, texture or moistness. If you really want a dome on the top of your cupcakes and don't want them flat, you can cover and chill the cupcake batter for about 20 minutes before adding to the cupcake tins and that helps.
- Add the batter to cupcake liners about ⅔ full. Bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.
- Once baked, cool on a wire rack.
For the buttercream
- Cream the butter very well with an electric mixer on medium to medium/high speed.
- Add in 3 cups confectioners sugar. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until well incorporated.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk, plus the last 3 cups of confectioners sugar and salt. Beat on low until combined, then on medium until well incorporated.
- Add vanilla extract and cinnamon. If the buttercream is very thick, mix in another tablespoon of milk.
- Check the consistency. If it's still too thick, add milk (only one tablespoon at a time) and mix after each addition until you reach the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, add in a half cup of confectioners sugar and mix well.
- Pipe or spoon buttercream onto completely cooled cupcakes.
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