Easy Cinnamon Cupcakes (Doctored Cake Mix Recipe)

These easy cinnamon cupcakes are super moist and full of cinnamon flavor, then topped with creamy homemade cinnamon buttercream frosting.

These homemade cupcakes are made with a cake mix, so they’re super easy and simple to make. You really don’t need any special skills or techniques for making them.

Hey there! Before you scroll, there are lots of helpful things in this post…including an FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!

Table of Contents:

Using a cake mix as the base, makes these cupcakes come out super moist and light every time, and adding a homemade buttercream frosting really makes them taste like you made them from scratch.

If you want an even easier frosting recipe, you could always add in a little cinnamon to a can of premade frosting. You don’t have to get all fancy with the buttercream piping either. These cupcakes taste just as good if you just spoon the frosting on them.

Close up of cinnamon cupcake with text overlay pin.

Ingredient Notes:

Now let’s talk about just some of the ingredients in these cupcakes. (The printable list of all ingredients are in the recipe card below.)

Vanilla cake mix: This recipe starts off with a cake mix, which is why it’s so easy. You could probably use any vanilla cake mix, but I normally use Betty Crocker.

Cinnamon: Obviously you’ll need cinnamon for cinnamon cupcakes and you’ll need it for the buttercream as well.

Sour cream: Adding sour cream to cakes really makes them moist. Make sure to check out the FAQ section in this post if you have questions about using it.

Vanilla extract: You’ll be adding even more vanilla flavor to the vanilla cake mix because it really helps give more of a homemade taste to cake mix based desserts.

Unsalted butter: You’ll use this for the buttercream frosting recipe. It’s best to have this at room temperature as well.

(Make sure to check out the FAQ section below in this post for substitution questions.)

Cupcake on a white plate with a bit out.

How to Make these Cupcakes:

Let’s talk about how to make these cinnamon cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream frosting. (The printable instructions are also in the recipe card below.)

Step 1:

Make sure to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and go ahead and add cupcake liners to two, 12-cup cupcake pans and set aside.

Cupcake wrappers added to cupcake pan.

Step 2:

In a large bowl, add all the cupcake ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed for about a minute. Just know that the batter will be thick.

Cinnamon cake batter in a white bowl.

Step 3:

Fill the cupcake liners with the cupcake batter about 1/2 the way up and bake the for approximately 18-25 minutes.

Cupcake batter in cupcake pan.

Step 4:

Once baked, remove the pans from the oven and set them on cooling racks. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.

Baked cinnamon cupcakes in a cupcake pan.

Step 5:

After about 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the pans and set them on cooling racks to cool completely before adding the frosting.

Step 6:

While the cupcakes are cooling, you can make the frosting. To a large bowl, add the butter, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract and mix really well with an electric mixer on medium.

Add three cups of the confectioner’s sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk and mix on low and then on medium until well mixed.

Add the last two cups of confectioner’s sugar plus 1 more tablespoon of milk and mix on low until incorporated, then on medium until well mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.

Check the consistency add more milk or confectioner’s sugar if you need to.

Cinnamon buttercream mixed in white bowl.

Step 9:

Once the desired consistency is reached, mix on medium-high speed for another minute, so that the buttercream will fluff up. Then add the buttercream to the cooled cupcakes.

Decorated cupcakes on a cooling rack.

Oh and if you want to know how to make the buttercream rosettes, you’ll want to check out the tutorial at this link: Better Buttercream Rosettes

Tips & FAQs:

What type of cake mix should I use?

Use a vanilla cake mix that’s about a 15.24 ounce box. I used Betty Crocker cake mix, but other brands like Pillsbury or Duncan Hines would probably work just fine.

Can I use a white cake mix instead?

Yes, that would probably be just fine.

Do I add the ingredients that are listed on the back of the cake mix box?

No, just add the dry cake mix to the bowl, plus the other ingredients on the recipe card below.

Should I add the ingredients and prepare the box of pudding?

No, just add the dry pudding mix to the mixing bowl.

Can I substitute the sour cream?

Sour cream is best in this recipe as it helps make a very moist cake and helps this cake taste more like it’s made from scratch.
If you don’t have access to it, you can use plain yogurt, but use the full-fat yogurt instead of the low-fat or fat-free type.

Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter for the buttercream frosting?

Yes, you can, but make sure to omit any other salt that the recipe calls for.

The cake batter is really thick. Should I add more liquid?

No, don’t add any more liquid. The cake batter will be a little thick and that’s okay.

How can I tell when these cupcakes are done baking?

These cupcakes are done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter.

Can these cupcakes be frozen?

These cupcakes can be made ahead of time and frozen if desired. Let the baked cupcakes cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a freezer zip bag for up to a month.
You can let them thaw either in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Please not that keeping cupcakes in the fridge for long periods of time or uncovered, will cause them to dry out quickly.

How do I store these cupcakes and how long do they last?

These cupcakes can be stored, covered at room temperature for about 3 days, then they can be stored, and covered in the refrigerator for another 2-3 days to prolong freshness.

Can these cupcakes be made into a layer cake?

I have not tested this recipe out as a layer cake, but it should work just fine. Pour the batter into two, 8-inch round cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F and start checking for doneness at about 25 minutes although you may need to bake a bit longer.

What’s the best way to serve/eat these cupcakes?

These cupcakes are best served at room temperature. If the cupcakes are cold, set them out to come closer to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.

Close up of cinnamon cupcake with wrapper undone.

Supplies used for this recipe:

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Video:

https://youtu.be/Gy_bK2PQVrE
Cinnamon cupcakes on a cooling rack.

Easy Cinnamon Cupcakes (Doctored Cake Mix Recipe)

These easy cinnamon cupcakes are super moist and full of cinnamon flavor, then topped with creamy homemade cinnamon buttercream frosting.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cinnamon cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Kara @ Quick and Easy Baking

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 (15.24 ounce) box vanilla cake mix, dry (I used Betty Crocker's vanilla cake mix)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix, dry
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the buttercream:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (4 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk (may add another if needed)

Instructions

For the cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Add cupcake liners to two, 12-cup cupcake pans and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix all the cupcake ingredients with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed for about a minute or so. The batter will be thick.
  • Fill the cupcake liners with batter about 1/2 the way up.
  • Bake for approximately 18-25 minutes.
    Cupcakes are finished baking when a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cupcakes comes out with a few moist crumbs on it or clean, but no raw batter. The tops of the cupcakes will also bounce back when touched lightly.
  • Remove the pans from the oven and set on a cooking rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans and set on cooling racks to cool completely before adding the frosting.

For the buttercream:

  • Mix the butter, cinnamon, salt and vanilla extract well with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high until very smooth.
  • Add three cups of the confectioner’s sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk and mix on low until incorporated, then on medium until well mixed.
  • Add the last two cups of confectioner’s sugar plus 1 tablespoon of milk and mix on low until incorporated, then on medium until well mixed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again.
  • Check the consistency. If it’s too thick, add another tablespoon of milk. If it's too thin, add another 1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar and mix well.
  • Once the desired consistency is reached, mix on medium-high speed for about a minute, so that the buttercream becomes fluffy.
  • Add the buttercream to cooled cupcakes, or cake layers.

Notes

Storage: These cupcakes can be stored, covered at room temperature for about 3 days, then they can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for another 2-3 days to prolong freshness.
How to serve: These cupcakes are best served at room temperature. If the cupcakes are cold, set them out to come closer to room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.
Make sure to check out the TIPS & FAQs for this recipe in the blog post, which may answer questions you may have about ingredients, substitutions, mixing method and more.
Nutritional values are an estimate.
*This recipe card may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 18mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.1mg
DislaimersTo see food safety, allergy & nutrition disclaimers, go here: Disclaimers!

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Pinterest collage of cinnamon cupcakes with text.

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