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Mardi Gras King Cake Cupcakes

Mardi Gras King Cake Cupcakes

Prep Time 45 minutes (including frosting and decorating) Cook Time 20 minutes

Put a fun and festive spin on the traditional Mardi Gras King Cake with these cinnamon swirl cupcakes topped with mile-high buttercream. They're the perfect party food for kids and adults alike!

by Kristan Roland

What you'll need


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 sticks salted butter, slightly softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk


  • 3 sticks salted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • yellow, purple and green sanding sugar and/or candies

Helpful Tip:

Use a large open star piping tip to achieve the pictured look. Alternately, you can frost generously with a spatula.

How to make it

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line 24 muffin tins with liners and set aside.  In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside. 
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla.  With the mixer on medium low, add flour and milk alternately, starting and ending with flour mixture and scraping the bowl as needed.  Fill each muffin tin about 1/3 full with batter.  Sprinkle a spoonful of cinnamon/brown sugar mixture over the top, then top with more batter until tins are 2/3 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched in the center.  Let cool completely on wire racks.
  3. Prepare frosting:  In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, vanilla and heavy cream on medium speed until smooth and combined.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar, continuing to mix on low until just mixed.  Increse speed to high and beat for about a minute and a half, until light and fluffy.  Generously frost cupcakes and sprinkle with yellow, green and purple sprinkles and top with candy, if desired.