Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes made with a simple cake mix take your favorite childhood cookie to a whole new level. Topped with creamy cinnamon cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are the ultimate treat.

Plate holding a snickerdoodle cupcake with cinnamon frosting.

The holiday season is in full swing and that means I’m making lots of festive treats. It’s one of my favorite things to do during Christmastime.

Speaking of treats, did you happen to see the eggnog latte cupcakes from a few weeks ago? They are so good and so easy to make. 

After we shared that recipe, I realized that I’ve never shared our snickerdoodle cupcakes recipe. These cupcakes are perfect for the holidays and are basically snickerdoodle cookies in cupcake form. 

They’re soft, moist, and layered with sweet cinnamon and sugar in every bite. For the finishing touch they’re topped with a silky cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Cake Mix: Use vanilla or white cake mix if yellow cake mix isn’t available.
  • Oil: If you aren’t a fan of vegetable oil, try another neutral tasting cooking oil. Oils with heavy flavors will affect the flavor of the cupcakes, so try to steer clear of those.
  • Vanilla Extract: Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the cake batter for more flavor.
  • Vanilla Pudding: Mix a small box of instant vanilla pudding into the cake batter to make the cupcakes super soft!
  • Brown Sugar: Use brown sugar in place of the granulated sugar in the cinnamon sugar swirl for a richer flavor.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting: If you prefer buttercream frosting, make your favorite buttercream and use it instead of cream cheese frosting.
  • Cinnamon: Adjust the amount of ground cinnamon in the cream cheese frosting to suit your tastes.

Equipment

You’ll need a few pieces of common kitchen equipment to make our snickerdoodle cupcakes. Here’s the list of items I use (Amazon affiliate links included):

  • Mixing Bowl and Electric Mixer: You’ll need a large bowl and an electric mixer to make the cake batter and the frosting. Feel free to use the same bowl and wash it in between uses. A stand mixer with a paddle attachment works great, too!
  • Muffin Pans: I used 2 separate standard-sized muffin pans to make the cupcakes. You can use 1 muffin tin and take turns making separate batches if needed.
  • Cupcake Liners: Cute holiday cupcake liners are some of my favorites, but many of them can have an off putting smell. If I’m making these cupcakes just for us, I’ll use a plain liner without the fancy designs.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: You’ll need cups for dry measure and cups for wet measure plus some measuring spoons.
  • Cookie Scoop: I use the Pampered Chef small-sized cookie scoop to add the batter the cupcake liners. That size scoop is 1 tablespoon, so it’s the perfect size for each layer of cupcake batter. You can use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon if you don’t have a cookie scoop.
  • Sifter: Having a way to sift the powdered sugar is a must if you want a perfectly smooth frosting. I used my grandmother’s sifter, but a mesh strainer works well, too!
  • Frosting Application: There’s nothing wrong with using a butter knife or spatula to apply the frosting to cupcakes. If you want something that gives you swirling frosting, you’ll need a frosting bag with tips.
Bite taken out of a cupcake.

Storage

Refrigerator: Store leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Tips

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure your eggs, butter, and cream cheese are at room temperature before you start. This helps them mix better for smoother batter and frosting.
  • Mix, But Don’t Overmix: When you’re mixing your cake batter, just mix according to instructions on the box of cake mix, usually 2 minutes at medium speed. Overmixing can make the cupcakes tough.
  • Fill Cupcake Liners Evenly: Use a 1 tablespoon scoop or spoon to fill your cupcake liners until they’re about two-thirds full. This helps them bake evenly and rise perfectly.
  • Don’t Overbake: Keep an eye on the cupcakes while they’re in the oven. When they’re done, they should be light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  • Cool Completely: Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them. This keeps the frosting from melting.
  • Frosting Tips: When making the cream cheese cinnamon frosting, make sure the cream cheese and butter are softened to room temperature. 
  • Get Creative: Have fun with decorating! Use a piping bag to make your cupcakes look fancy, or just spread the frosting on with a knife.
  • Add Cinnamon Sugar: Sprinkle a cinnamon-sugar mixture over the cream cheese frosting for a sweet garnish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can bake the cupcakes a day before. Just make sure to store them in an airtight container and frost them on the day you’re going to serve them.

You can freeze the cupcakes without frosting. Wrap them well and they can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw them and add frosting when you’re ready to serve.

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Close up view of a cupcake on a plate.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

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Author: Kimberly
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cool Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 20 Servings

Ingredients

For the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the Cupcake Batter

  • 13.25 ounce box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water, (*See note.)
  • cup vegetable oil, (*See note.)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature (*See note.)

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces block-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Line 2 muffin tins with 20 cupcake liners, and preheat the oven to 350℉.

To Make the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl

  • In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

To Make the Cupcake Batter

  • Using a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, water, oil, and eggs according to the instructions on the box of cake mix. (Usually it indicates to mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, but this may differ by brand.)
    13.25 ounce box yellow cake mix
    1 cup water
    ⅓ cup vegetable oil
    3 large eggs
  • Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop or a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon and measure out a tablespoon of batter into each of the prepared cupcake liners. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon sugar mixture over the batter.
  • Add another 1 tablespoon of cupcake batter on top of the cinnamon sugar mixture followed by another ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Finally top that off with another 1 tablespoon of batter. The layers should look like this: batter, cinnamon sugar, batter, cinnamon sugar, batter. The cupcake liners should be about ⅔ full when you're finished layering.
  • Bake for 19-22 minutes or as indicated on the box of cake mix. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

To Make the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Using a large bowl and electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Sift the powdered sugar and cinnamon into the cream cheese mixture to remove any lumps.
    8 ounces block-style cream cheese
    ½ cup unsalted butter
    4 cups powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Continue to mix on low speed until well combined. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Decorate the cupcakes and enjoy!
    ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Scroll up and see the post for tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and storage information.

Suggested Equipment

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cupcake each. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
*Prepare the cake mix as directed on the back of the box. Our’s used the amount of water, oil and eggs listed above. Your’s may be different, so adjust the ingredients accordingly.
*This recipe makes 20 cupcakes. The frosting is plenty if you’re using a knife or spatula to apply it. However, if you want tall swirls and are using a piping bag, consider making 1.5 or 2 times the amount of frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcakeCalories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 8gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 408mgPotassium: 127mgFiber: 1gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 204IUVitamin C: 0.03mgCalcium: 183mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition Disclaimer

Kim and John Vargo of More Than Meat and Potatoes and its affiliates are not dieticians or nutritionists. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If preferred, use your favorite online nutrition calculator to double check the amounts. Calories and other nutritional values can vary based on brand and serving size.

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