Cupcake Mixology

Cupcake mixologyI thought it would be fun to show you how I get the most mileage out of my favorite cupcake recipes. It's easy to customize a basic recipe that you trust and love with a few simply add-ins, creating more treats with less work. This is a great tip for anyone looking to impress guests at their next party or for a bake sale. I'm going to show you how I used 2 basic cupcake recipes (vanilla and chocolate) and 1 frosting recipe to create six different flavor combinations!

Cupcakes made: 
1. PB & J cupcakes
2. Homemade Hostess cupcakes
3. Marmalade Dream cupcakes
4. Peanut Butter Monster cupcakes
5. Classic Party cupcakes 
6. Cinnamon Sugar cupcakes
Cupcake mixology 2Simple Vanilla Cupcakes makes 1 dozen 
Needed: 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups water, 2/3 cup oil, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons vinegar. (Note: this cupcake recipe is vegan friendly!)
In a bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients. Combine these and stir just until no lumps are left. Pour the batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes. 
Simple Chocolate Cupcakes makes 1 dozen
Needed: 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, 2 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 cups water, 2/3 cup oil, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons vinegar. (Note: this cupcake recipe is vegan friendly!)

In a bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl mix together the wet ingredients. Combine these and stir just until no lumps are left. Pour the batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes.

Simple Butter Cream Frosting makes about 2 1/2 cups

Needed: 4 sticks of softened butter (2 cups), 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (the clear kind is better for frostings) and 2-3 cups powdered sugar.

In a bowl cream together the butter and vanilla extract. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mixing in between until you have the perfect frosting consistency.

Cupcake mixology 3Now that you have the basic recipes we can mix them up to make all our flavor combinations!

1. PB & J cupcakes- vanilla cupcake base. Use a sharp knife to carve a small (inverted) pyramid out of the center, fill with jam or jelly (I used Blue Chair Damson Jam). Now take 1 cup of your butter cream frosting and stir in 1/3 cup peanut butter. Pipe the peanut butter frosting over the top.
2. Homemade Hostess cupcakes- chocolate cupcake base. Use a sharp knife to carve a small (inverted) pyramid out of the center, fill with marshmallow cream. Pipe marshmallow cream over the top.
3. Marmalade Dream cupcakes- vanilla cupcake base. Use a sharp knife to carve a small (inverted) pyramid out of the center, fill with marmalade (I used Blue Chair Orange-Kumquat Marmalade). Top with marshmallow cream, toast in the broiler for a few seconds if you like.
4. Peanut Butter Monster cupcakes- chocolate cupcake base. Pipe on peanut butter frosting (see flavor #1) and top with chopped peanut butter cups!
5. Classic Party cupcakes- chocolate cupcake base. Top with classic butter cream and sprinkle on some pretty sprinkles. 
6. Cinnamon Sugar cupcakes- vanilla cupcake base. Top with classic butter cream and sprinkle on a little cinnamon and sanding sugar.
*special thanks to Blue Chair Fruit Company for the jam and marlamade used for these cupcakes. Yum! 
Xo. Didier and Helen 
*Note: In the cupcake recipe I usually use vegetable oil or canola oil, but you can use any oil. I would not use a oil that has a heavy flavor, like olive oil.
  • This is a great post for people who want to get more involved in creative baking!

    I was a custom cake decorator for several years before I relocated with my fiance and I miss it with a fiery passion! Luckily his birthday is coming up so I can go ALL OUT πŸ™‚

    Great post as always πŸ™‚

    a cup of subtle tea

  • This is so brilliant. I don’t even liking baking but I feel like it right now at 9 in the morning haha

  • These sound delicious! My daughter was just asking, this morning, if I could do something different for her birthday party this year with regards to the cake. Maybe some of these cupcakes are the way to go! Thanks!

  • looks soooo pretty and yummy =)
    canΒ΄t decide if i want to eat them or decorate with them πŸ˜€

    my new blog

  • Awesome. I did the cupcakes for a baby shower once — 4 dozen, 1 each of 4 different types. This would have saved me so much time and energy!

  • this post made my mouth water! now i’m craving cupcakes for breakfast! *drool* i cannot wait to try out some of these, and hopefully mess up a few so i can’t give them away and get to keep them all to myself πŸ˜€

  • Dying over these! How do you find the time between being a new puppy Mommy and shop owner to bake a million cupcakes?! I am impressed. I want a cinnamon sugar cupcake right now πŸ™‚

  • yummy…i want all of these…to go…please!!!;D
    thanks for sharing!!! they look so yummy!!!
    if i lived near to your store…i daily would stop in…just to eat some of emmaΒ΄s cupcakes…

    have a great great day…you two amazing woman!

    liebgruss from germany

  • These look amazing! I love the idea of “dressing” up a cupcake. Especially when you have an awesome base recipe that’s tried and true. Thanks for sharing a great idea!

  • I never seem to get cupcakes right – somehow they never turn out moist and springy but I endeavor to check this out.

  • ooh, they all looks SO yummy! the peanut butter monster cupcake seriously makes me drool!

  • They look so yummy, you’re so bad! I’m trying not to eat too much candy these days…


  • Hee, this was so the wrong thing for me to read right now. I am starving!

  • I love seeing how others come up with ideas! They look so yummy πŸ™‚

    xoxo Angie

  • The cupcakes are all so tempting! I think that the marmalade cupcakes are my favourite! My oh my! Looking at these are making me crave for cupcakes! I think I need to bake a batch this weekend. πŸ™‚


  • Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing! I will never need another yummy cupcake recipe again!

  • I haven’t tried making cupcakes before but these recipes seem so doable I might give them a try. Thank you so much for sharing! Great food styling as always! πŸ™‚

  • Thank you SO much for the frosting recipe! I definitely need to buy some clear vanilla:)

    Stephanie May*

  • That looks amazingly sweet and scrumptious!
    I’m drooling just looking at the photos!
    Major Cupcake craving at the moment!!!


  • This is an awesome idea. I love having so many options off of the same ingredients. Thanks!

  • I’m personally not a cake/cupcake lover, but I do LOVE to bake them for everyone else and I’m definitely going to have to give some of these a go for the next family/friends gathering! They look so fancy and fun!!


  • I love adding things to cake mixes!! Try baking a mini chocolate bar in the middle of a cupcake sometime. Absolutely wonderful!!

    I’m excited to try the Hostess cupcake version here. I know at least 3 people in my house who will happily eat them! πŸ™‚

  • These look delish! When out of eggs I use a recipe that substitutes a table spoon of vinegar. Its very good and you cant taste the vinegar in a chocolate reciepe at all.

  • Yum! Thanks for the vegan cake recipes. They’re the best! You could make the Hostess ones vegan with “ricemellow creme” – I haven’t tried it, but now I might πŸ™‚

  • I love the cupcake inspiration! And I really love the vegan cupcake recipes. Any chance you have vegan topping recipes/suggestions?

  • OMGOODNESS! They all look amazing! I will have to try this. Right now my friend and I are baking 12 pies this year one for every month. I love baking πŸ™‚

  • I love Blue Chair!! My guy got me Rachel’s book last year for Christmas and its my bible… our pantry is full to bursting with jam now. They’re going to be our wedding favors :] Never thought to put them in cupcakes! You guys are genius.

  • I cannot for the life of me bake a cupcake. I’ve tried……many times… never works. I always stir to much or to less or something because I change my ways every time but the result is always the same…….not edible.

  • How FUN! I love your ideas. I use a very similar chocolate recipe and I sometimes substitute cold coffee/espresso for the water for something a little different!

  • Suchhh a great idea! Thanks for sharing! There’s an amazing cupcakery down the street that I love, but this gives me hope that I can perhaps make some that rival theirs ; )


  • They look fantastic. I’ve just discovered your blog from here in NZ. I like it. I love your name too. My 2 year old daughter has Helen as her middle name, but I love it so much, I often call her Helen. Cx

  • oh great now i want go make cupcakes. not so good for my new years resolution. These look amazing!

  • So cute! I’ll definitely be trying at least a couple of these!

  • Thanks for the delicious ideas! I like the “vegan friendly” note too πŸ™‚

  • Ah delicious! I pretty much love anything with peanut butter and chocolate, so I’m definitely going to add some crushed peanut butter cups.

    Hooked On Floral

  • Cupcakes make me feel so special and excited, almost like a child! At the bottom of the post I’m linking to are some pictures of my dark chocolate pomegranate studded cupcakes (the picture is rather dark and low quality, but you can get the idea). I loved these cupcakes. I made the frosting very dark chocolate bar and lots of butter, and the pomengranate seeds added a tartness and crunch. Jewel-like treats!

  • oh man, these all sound insanely delicious– especially the homemade Hostess cupcake!

  • ohhh I have never tried to make my own frosting, these look so very tasty!

  • Oh my word, I want to eat all of those, but no…I’m on a diet..or lifestyle change =]

  • Well this is my favourite post so far ! These cupcakes just stole my heart!!! Definately going to try them and modify them! ;))

    (Pls check my new blog guys: )

  • Oh yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum, don’t think these are fitting in with Weight Watchers, but someday I will scoff a load of these quite happily πŸ˜‰

  • Very cute:) I think ill try it!


  • Yum! Michaels has some REALLY cute cupcake liners for only $1.50!!!!! All different patterns

  • Nooooooooo! Cupcakes in January noooooo! I’m struggling to keep on dieting hahaha

  • These look absolutely delicious. I read only half of your post before these wound up on my Pinterest.

  • Every time I watch Cupcake Wars I hope to see you two sharing your treats!

    Thanks for the yumminess πŸ™‚


  • Awesome looking cupcakes mmm. Seems very easy.
    I always read your blog posts! Don’t always comment, but thought I would start! πŸ™‚

  • You ladies get me EVERY time with your cupcake recipes! Before I even finished reading, I was mixing up a batch…I have to say, they are still in the oven, but the batter is ah-mazing! Can’t wait to taste the finished product. Thank you!

  • This is brilliant. I loved when you did this with oatmeal too. And the Fashion Mixology was awesome as well. I hope it’s coming back.


  • sweet post! by the way, i featured you in my blogger award today! you can check it out here…

    πŸ™‚ emma

  • Dang girl, this post is awesome. Thanks for the great pictures AND recipes!

  • LOVE this! I’ve never made cupcakes before so I’ll have to try this soon!


  • Did you get this recipe from Vegan Cupcakes take over the world? Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romeo have a whole book full of delicious vegan cupcakes that are delicious and treaty and look very similar to yours!

  • omg, one of my resolutions this year is learn to bake cupcakes, this is wonderful!

  • oh my gosh! I am trying these hopefully before I go back to school next week!

    <3Chelsea Elizabeth

  • Oh Mylanta!! I made the Peanut Butter Monster Frosting today and used them on some chocolate cupcakes I baked earlier this morning… It is to die for!! Just delicious!!

  • Yum!! Awesome ideas πŸ™‚ I’m busy planning cupcake flavours for my cake business I am starting up. First one was a cream donut cupcake!! I’m doing a similar thing with changing up my basic recipes and adding different flavours/ingredients πŸ™‚ love seeing Didier’s baking on here! πŸ™‚


  • Oh man, do I ever want one of those cupcakes with sprinkles! It’s a weakness.


  • these cupcakes look just sooo good!! love your presentation too!!
    xo, kristina

  • oh my gosh, these all look and sound amazing! I need to find a reason to Abbas cupcakes real soon.

  • i love baking and been done combi cupcakes too…. i love this post…. of course your blog!

  • ohh wow these all sound amazing! i want to try this right now, what a great post! yumyumyummmmm πŸ™‚

  • I was so excited to get to this post! I cannot wait to try some of these out! They look super cute and super delish!

  • This whole post makes me a) happy b) fluffy inside and c) want to bake cupcakes with Max from 2 broke Girls

  • Filling is a little surprise on a cupcake. I was thinking of guava jam as filling, I think it would be best on red velvet as well.

  • have you seen butterfly cup cakes – childhood fav … also did you know you can put the jam in the uncooked mix – half fill the cupcake with batter, spoon in a small teaspoon of jam, top with remaining batter. It cooks with the batter and ozzes when you bite thru – sometimes it can pop out the side a bit but then this kind of crystallises and is total yum – best le xox

  • This is quite possibly the best post I’ve seen all week.

    Maria xx

  • I *never* make cupcakes, mainly because I can’t figure out how you’re supposed to eat them. (Am I the only person who always gets frosting on their face while eating a cupcake? Not very ladylike.) But when you say p.b. you have my attention. These do look fabulous. πŸ™‚

  • Oh my. I’m drooling, wishing I had those cupcakes in front of me right now! πŸ™‚ Hello adorable, tasty little diet killers! Come to Mama.

  • yum yum yum!! i might have to try the pb & j cupcakes – i’m intrigued ^^

  • I TRULY MISS cupcakes! Here in Italy we don’t have them as u do there…idk if u understand what I mean =) great recipes I’ll try make some of them πŸ˜€

  • Beautiful post. I swapped out a cup of water for a cup of coconut milk and added lime zest/juice in the vanilla recipe. Rave reviews.

  • I never even knew about the jam-in-the-middle idea for cupcakes. How could I have missed it?! Cupcake decorating is on my ‘to do’ list for 2012 (I am also embarrassingly ‘to do’ list obsessed). I will be referring to your post when I get the piping bag out!

  • First, looking at these cupcakes is making hungry. I keep saying I want to make cupcakes, can you believe I only done it once in my life! Thinking I should take the plunge.

  • I know what i’m having for dinner tonight πŸ™‚

  • I love the top feature photo! It would looks super cute framed as well! I wish I had your baking skills but for now I’ll just look at your cute cupcakes πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Also, I found this out on a cake box ages ago and see it every so often.. Instead of Oil- you can substitute apple sauce. Yes apple sauce! Any flavor works-( I usually had cinnamon applesauce on hand, once I only had a blueberry apple sauce- worked great in chocolate cake mix) use a half cup of apple sauce in place of 1/4 cup oil. It is healthier, but you would never know it. The cake/ cupcakes, come out fluffy and so moist!!! Amazing. NINfem

  • Lovely post – like the idea of some jammy goodness in the middle! Have linked to this from my blog post today πŸ™‚ Hx

  • Hei there,

    Could you please tell me what kind of oil you use for these? Also, what kind of vinegar?
    Are the spoons supposed to be heaped full?


  • This looks so good! I’m not so good with baking, though! Must persevere with it so I can bake these! x

  • Oh my word. Those look amazing. Especially the ones with peanut butter frosting. Yum! I may go have to make me some of these…Like right now. πŸ™‚



    PLEASE CHECK OUT MY FIRST BLOG: http://oneloveonedna.blogspot….

  • Hei again,

    I’d really like to do these, but could somebody please tell me what kind of cocoa is used here?
    Unsweetened – alkalized or natural?

    I’m from Germany and it’s quite complicated to get similar ingredients, so any help on “oil” / “vinegar” / “cocoa” is greatly appreciated!

    I’ve resolved to try this tomorrow with sunflower oil, but I suppose the chocolate ones will have to wait.

    I’ve never even seen Marshmallow Cream in my life…

  • I love that this is vegan friendly! I just made the plain vanilla cupcakes to take to a cake-decorating class, and they’re fantastic!

  • I’ve been looking for a good cupcake recipe…that’s not out of a box. These are delicious!

  • I can’t choose one, most of the cupcakes are gorgeous and looks so tasty.

  • You must make some monster cupcakes. I just used the vanilla recipe and made 18, I probably had enough batter left for another three or four. In the oven now, though. We’ll see how this goes.

  • I made the Peanut butter monster cupcakes for my boyfriends birthday last night. They came out so amazing! Everyone loved them. We had a ton of leftover frosting though. I will absolutely make these again, but I will probably only use 1/2 on the frosting recipe. Thanks for posting these!

  • Made the chocolate ones for homebrew night. They were a huge hit, and everyone was surprised that they were vegan! (I am skeptical of ‘vegan’ things or ‘gluten-free’ things…next I better try flourless cake to get over myself, haha).
    Surprised at how liquidy the batter was, and that I had to fill them really full (it made two mega cupcakes in addition), but I loved how gooey/moist and wonderful they turned out.
    Used 1/2 the frosting recipe (didn’t have enough butter) but it was a perfect amount for the dozen. I didn’t have marshmellow cream, so I made the classic party ones, the pb monsters, and mixed the rest of the frosting with mashed up oreos to make oreo ones. YUM!

  • I made the classic party cupcakes, and on the first attempt they came out perfectly! They’re very moist and delicious πŸ™‚ don’t be afraid if your batter is very watery! Mine seemed to be like the consistency of hot chocolate and yet they turned out fabulous. Very easy recipe, too.

  • Thanks for the cupcake recipes – they look divine!

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  • I used the above recipes last night for the Hostess Cupcakes. A couple things, first, the simple chocolate cupcake recipe made 18 cupcakes, not just a dozen. Also, it would have been helpful to know how much marshmallow cream to purchase for even just the dozen alone. One can of marshmallow cream only filled and covered 8 cupcakes, I had to improvise last minute for the other 10!

  • I love these variations! Thank you so much πŸ™‚ Now I know exactly what to do to kick my vanilla cupcakes up a notch

  • Hey Didier and Helen! These cupcakes look mouth-wateringly delicious! I tried out your recipe yesterday to bake Jubilee Cupcakes….but alas! They did not turn out quite so fine as yours! You can have a peek here if you wish:

    When you say to use flour, does that mean self-raising flour? I just used normal flour, and they were VERY DENSE and did not rise! (but were still delicious!) Plus my icing skills still need a bit (A LOT!) of work!

    Still, they were delicious!

    Thanks for sharing the recipes. YUM!

    Katie. xxx

  • thanks for the recipe, the cupcakes look amazing! Sadly mine didn’t rise like yours πŸ™

    just wondering did you use plain flour or self raising?


  • Wonderful recipes!
    I’m a vegan and I usually use the same recipe but somtimes with soy-drink .
    Hm! I’ll definitely try a filled cupcake. I’ve always wanted to make some but I never knew how to make them.
    Thanks for this great ideas! πŸ™‚

  • they look soooooo delicious!! I’ll definitely try some of them!!

  • is it self raising or plain flour? They all look amazing by the way.

  • Lovely cupcakes.. I’m just starting out but I just made cupcakes with cherry cola! you guys should check out my blog post on it!:-)

  • Just posted on a modified version of your basic chocolate cupcake recipe that is divine! Thanks for the jumping off point!


  • This cupcakes look great. I think they taste even better. I got my kitchen mixer today. I will never miss trying this cupcakes.

  • I bet that cake was the first thing eaten out of their lunch boxes. Looks delicious and yummy πŸ™‚

  • That’s a lot of butter for the butter cream frosting! But I’m going to give it a try. It combines my two favorite things cupcakes and peanut butter!

  • Just made some of these! They’re in the oven, I’ve got my fingers crossed mine weren’t too runny.. it kind of seemed it! what size cup is meant to be used? πŸ™‚



  • These look amazing!! Thanks for sharing!

    I have a question… what kind of cups do you use??

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