These easy Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting are fluffy cinnamon cupcakes made with butter, whipped egg whites, and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. This snickerdoodle cupcake recipe is topped with cinnamon buttercream frosting that’s fluffy and creamy.
Snickerdoodle Cupcakes Recipe
Snickerdoodle cookies are, hands down, my absolute favorite cookies (this is my mom’s snickerdoodle recipe and it is the best cookie I’ve ever had!). They’re rich and buttery–much like a sugar cookie–and slightly chewy in the centers. The smell of cinnamon baking in the oven is nearly the best thing about the Christmas season (although, I eat this classic cookie all.year.long.).
This ultra fluffy cinnamon sugar Snickerdoodle Cupcakes recipe has all of the flavors of a traditional snickerdoodle cookies, but in a fluffy cake form. It has a brown sugar buttercream frosting that is very similar to the frosting on these Pumpkin Butter Cinnamon Rolls, and the creamy cinnamon frosting is sprinkled with extra cinnamon sugar.
Basically, these cupcakes are a cinnamon lovers dream. They’re fall-ish (but totally good all year long too) but different than the traditional pumpkin and apple recipes (which I do love, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a bit, you know??). These are made entirely from scratch (no cinnamon cupcakes with cake mix here!) and the taste is 100% worth it. While there are a few steps to making this recipe, this is one of the best Snickerdoodle Cupcake recipes I’ve ever had.
Tender cinnamon cake topped with brown sugar frosting is the fall dessert of all of our dreams, and is my current dessert obsession this time of the year. 😉
Four Reasons I LOVE This Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe:
- Fluffy: Part of the reason these cupcakes are soooo soft and fluffy is the egg whites in the batter. Egg whites are whipped into stiff peaks and then folded into the cinnamon cupcake batter to make them extra light and airy. The key ingredients to a fluffy cupcake? Eggs and egg whites.
- Flavorful: Apart from the rich cinnamon flavor, the butter and sour cream give these cupcake’s the best texture.
- Moist: Let’s be honest, there’s nothing worse than a dry bite of cake, right? Nothing like digging into a dessert and then choking out a request for water. The sour cream, among other ingredients, keep these cupcakes moist and transform the cake’s texture! Every single bite is heavenly.
- Brown Sugar Frosting: It’s almost like a caramel buttercream frosting, but a little richer and deeper in flavor. It’s very sweet, but it’s perfectly fluffy, soft, and rich. With the additional cinnamon sugar on top, it’s like a caramel cinnamon frosting recipe.
- Egg Whites: Egg whites are key to adding volume to these cupcakes, and it keeps them very soft and airy.
- Cake Flour: Cake flour keeps these snickerdoodle cupcakes light and tender in texture.
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Ground Cinnamon
- Unsalted Butter: I prefer unsalted butter in all of my baking recipes, because I can control the salt in the recipe.
- Granulated Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Whole Milk: Whole milk adds a richness to these cupcakes that is unbeatable!
- Sour Cream: Full fat sour cream makes the best cupcakes by adding a richness to the overall cake’s texture, but you can substitute with plain greek yogurt.
Brown Sugar Frosting
- Unsalted Butter
- Brown Sugar
- Heavy Cream
- Powdered Sugar: Icing sugar and confectioners’ sugar is the same thing as powdered sugar.
How To Make Snickerdoodle Cupcakes From Scratch:
These cinnamon cupcakes with brown sugar frosting are very simple to make. There are a few steps you need to follow, but the overall recipe for snickerdoodle cupcakes is easy.
Egg Whites: First things first, whip the egg whites into stiff peaks. Set aside.
Butter and Sugar: Using a mixer (stand mixer or handheld electric mixer), cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy on medium-high speed.
Wet Ingredients: Whisk milk and vanilla together.
Dry Ingredients: Sift the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl. Sifting the ingredients, while an extra step, is key to keeping these cupcakes light and airy!
Alternate: Add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with dry and wet ingredients. I start with the dry ingredients (the flour mixture), adding 1/3 of the mix to the butter. Then mix. Then I add 1/2 of the wet ingredients. Mix. Repeat. (Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl.)
Sour Cream: Next, add in the sour cream and mix on low speed until just combined.
Egg Whites: Lastly, fold in the egg whites (gently).
Bake: Divide batter in the cupcake tin (same as a muffin tin), filling each cupcake 2/3 of the way full with batter. Bake the cinnamon spice cupcakes, and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Brown Sugar Buttercream: Melt butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream together. Allow the melted butter mixture to cool. Using a standing mixer with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), whisk on a medium speed until fluffy. Then add in powdered sugar and whisk until well combined. If the frosting is too thick, add in more cream until it reaches a creamy frosting consistency. Add a pinch of salt (a pinch is a little bit) to cut through the sweetness.
Assembly: Using a piping bag and tip, pipe the frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes. After the frosting has been piped on top of the cupcakes, sprinkle with extra cinnamon sugar and top with a cinnamon stick.
How do I store these cupcakes?
- You can store them at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days. (I personally think room temperature makes the best snickerdoodle cupcakes, as they remain very moist and fluffy at room temperature.)
- Or, you can store them in the fridge. If you store them in the fridge, allow them to reach room temperature before eating (or put them in the microwave for a few seconds). The cold temperature can make cake and cupcakes taste very dry and crumbly. Letting them reach room temperature will make them taste moist and fluffy.
- You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes, but I personally don’t think they taste as good.
Other frosting recipes:
Not into the brown sugar frosting? You can definitely substitute!
Try these cinnamon recipes next:
- Cinnamon Roll Blondies
- Cinnamon Roll Cake
- Maple Snickerdoodles (If you love snickerdoodle recipes, this maple twist on my favorite childhood cookie is going to be a real crowd pleaser!)
Let’s Talk Tips for Frosting for Snickerdoodle Cupcakes:
I am not a cupcake decorating expert, and honestly, I’m not the biggest frosting person in the world. Piped on frosting, while very pretty, can be a little time consuming and intimidating, and also, a lot of frosting (if you’re like me and prefer more cake to frosting).
I love the look of a cupcake frosted with just a knife or the back of a spoon. It looks homey and handmade and perfect. Plus, I’m a perfectionist and if my piping swirls aren’t perfect, I struuuuggle.
So, if you’re not into piping the cupcakes, just use a butter knife or the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to spread the frosting on top.
If you are into piping cupcakes (or attempting it), here are a few tips:
- Extra Frosting: I always seem to run out of frosting when I pipe a thick swirl on top of cupcakes so I do suggest making a little more. If you have leftovers, there’s always something you can spread a little extra frosting on top of. (Biscuits, Scones, Muffins, Coffee…the possibilities are endless!)
- Piping Bags: I know you can use a ziplock bag for cupcake decorating, but I find them to explode a lot more than a piping bag. You can even buy re-usable ones you can wash in the dishwasher!
- Big Piping Tips: For thick frosting swirls, you are going to need a big tip. I really like the Wilton 6B size and shape (it’s what I used for these cupcakes).
Quick and Easy Cupcake Baking Tips
- Over Bake: If you want the perfect snickerdoodle cupcake, Do Not Over Bake. This might seem like an obvious statement, but over baking cake and cupcakes, even for a minute, can lead them to be dry and crumbly. Keep an eye on them!
- Don’t Over Fill: Similarly to over baking, don’t over fill each cupcake cup with batter. If you fill with too much batter, the bottoms of the cupcakes will over cook while you’re waiting for the centers to be done.
- Decorate: If you don’t have piping bags and tips, just use a knife or a spoon to frost them. They’ll be gorgeous no matter what!
- Cinnamon Sticks/Ground Cinnamon: Use cinnamon sticks to add extra pizzazz! Or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon sugar top is not entirely necessary, but it adds extra sweetness and a little sparkle. Plus, it’ll totally let people know they’re snickerdoodle cupcakes!
My current obsession.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 3/4 cup cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream + 2 Tbsp, divided
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- Cinnamon Sugar
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with liners. Set aside.
- With a hand mixer or standing mixer, whisk egg whites until they reach stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
- Whisk whole milk and vanilla extract together. Set aside.
- With a hand mixer or standing mixer, cream the unsalted butter until it is light and fluffy. Add in granulated sugar, and cream the mixture until light and fluffy.
- Alternately, add the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. (I add in 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix until combined. Then add in 1/2 of the wet ingredients, mix until just combined. Then 1/3 dry, etc.)
- Add in the sour cream, mixing until just combined.
- Finally, gently fold in the egg whites until combined.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake tins, filling about 2/3 of the way full (this batter makes about 16-18 cupcakes). Tap the cupcake pans on the counter a couple of times (this helps release any trapped air).
- Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Allow to cool before frosting.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar, and 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking continually. Once boiling, remove from heat and allow to cool (I like to cool in the freezer for about 20 minutes).
- Once cool, pour the mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer and whisk for about 1 minute.
- Next, add in powdered sugar, beginning with 2 1/2 cups. Whisk until well combined.
- If the frosting feels too thin, add in the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar. If it feels too thick, add in 1-2 Tbsp of heavy whipping cream.
- Add in a pinch of salt, and whisk together.
- Spoon frosting into a piping bag, and pipe on top of each cupcake. (Or spread frosting with a knife.)
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and top with a cinnamon stick, if desired.
Here are some other cupcakes to try:
Funfetti Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
The brown sugar frosting is to die for!