Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Party Piñata Cupcakes

How to make party piñata cupcakes filled with sprinkles! Easy to make and ready for any celebration. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Party people! Are we ready to bid farewell to 2016?

This year has been a year of ups and downs. Big changes, new house, new puppy, happy celebrations, and emotional losses. Personally, it’s kicked my butt. 2016 has been a blessed and exciting thrill, but I’m ready to welcome a fresh start with 365 days of new experiences. If you’re in the same boat, let’s reinvigorate ourselves, shed any baggage we’ve got lingering on our shoulders, and give a warm welcome to 2017.

And let’s do it with cupcakes that literally burst with confetti.

How to make party piñata cupcakes filled with sprinkles! Easy to make and ready for any celebration. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I’ve gotten a few email requests for a cupcake recipe like this over the past year. Piñata cake in cupcake form. Usually it’s for gender reveal showers and parties– wouldn’t these be so fun for that with pink or blue sprinkles!!!– but, for my blog, I wanted to share a version that could be used for virtually any holiday or event. And I saved the recipe idea to share before New Years Eve because… rainbow sprinkles. ♥ ♥ ♥ 

When you bite into one and discover the surprise sprinkles/candies inside, you can’t help but smile. And while these piñata cupcakes may look tricky and complicated, trust me when I say they don’t require any special talents. If you know how to carve a hole in a cupcake and pour sprinkles inside, you can make party piñata cupcakes.

How to make piñata cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

We’re going to start the recipe with a basic vanilla cupcake. My recent favorite, simply perfect vanilla cupcakes, have secured their spot as my go-to vanilla cupcake. They’re fluffy and soft, sweet and light, moist and buttery all in one. We owe all of this magic to 4 power ingredients:

  • sour cream
  • cake flour
  • creamed butter
  • egg whites

And honestly, every time I make them I can’t get over how fluffy they are. These homemade vanilla cupcakes are as fluffy and moist as box mix cupcakes, but are packed with the freshness and quality of homemade. That’s hard to come by with a from-scratch cupcake.

The only difference today is that I left out the vanilla bean. I ran out! But the extra vanilla flavor wasn’t missed because of all the sweet sprinkles packed inside.

One thing to remember: fill your cupcake liners only 2/3 full. Less is more. 2/3 full isn’t a lot. In fact, you might even question yourself and be tempted to add more. Don’t succumb to the pressure! Don’t overfill those liners! You’ll end up with mushroom looking oddballs, complete with flat tops and crisp edges. Quite the opposite of the soft and fluffy cupcake goal.

How to make party piñata cupcakes filled with sprinkles! Easy to make and ready for any celebration. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Once the vanilla cupcakes are baked and cooled, we’ll carve a hole into the centers, fill with sprinkles, and place the carved section back on top. Some detail:

These cupcakes are about 1.5 inches tall. You’ll want to carve a 1 inch deep section of cupcake out. This can be roughly 1 inch, a little less is perfectly fine. The section of cupcake you remove will be the shape of a cone (see above). I slice off a little of the narrow end of the cone because it won’t fit back on top with all the sprinkles inside. Does this make sense?

How to make piñata cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

When you frost the piñata cupcakes, you won’t be able to tell that there’s anything inside. You can use any frosting– vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, you name it. For these, I used my basic vanilla frosting. If you’re interested, the piping tip I used on the pictured cupcakes is the big Ateco #849 closed star tip. Working with this particular piping tip is very easy. All I do is start in the center of the cupcake, apply pressure to squeeze the frosting out, and slowly lift straight up. No swirling around the cupcake; just start on the center and lift straight up.

When I use the Wilton #12 tip (used and explained here), I do the same thing. Center of cupcake, lift straight up. These are 2 extremely simple piping tips to work with.

How to make party piñata cupcakes filled with sprinkles! Easy to make and ready for any celebration. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

And for the surprise piñata filling?! I used Sweetapolita’s “Luxury Sweet Twinkle Sprinkle Medley” sprinkles. You can use any sprinkles or even fill with a mix of mini M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, other tiny candies, etc. Those larger sprinkles are like Nerd candies and the silver balls are chocolate!!

How to make party piñata cupcakes filled with sprinkles! Easy to make and ready for any celebration. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Party on. 🙂

Party Piñata Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour1 (measured correctly)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream at room temperature2
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk at room temperature2
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles, for filling3

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 - 5 cups (480-600g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream or whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Line a second pan with 2 liners - this recipe makes about 14 cupcakes. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed together. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg whites and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Do not overmix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
  4. Pour/spoon the batter into the liners - fill only 2/3 full to avoid spilling over the sides. Bake for 19-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely.
  5. Fill the cupcakes: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle/hole into the center of the cupcake to create a little pocket about 1 inch deep. This piece you removed will be the shape of a cone. Set it aside. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of sprinkles inside the cupcake. Slice off the pointy end of the "cone" piece of cupcake you removed so that it can fit on top of the sprinkle filling. See photos above for visual. Repeat with all cupcakes.
  6. Make the frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add 4 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, the heavy cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  7. Frost cooled cupcakes. I used the Ateco #849 closed star tip.

Make ahead tip: Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly in the refrigerator for 3 days. Cupcakes, without filling, can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then continue with step 5.

Recipe Notes:

  1. If you cannot get your hands on cake flour, you can make a DIY version from all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 Tablespoons. Mix in 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch. This equals 1 cup of cake flour. I suggest doing this twice, mixing it all up in 1 bowl then removing 1/4 cup since you need 1 and 3/4 cups of cake flour in this recipe.
  2. Whole milk and full fat sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cupcakes may not be as light. Same goes with a lower fat milk.
  3. Instead of sprinkles inside, try mini M&Ms, crushed nuts, mini chocolate chips, and/or other small candies.

Did you make a recipe?

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

SHOP THE RECIPE


Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Kitchenaid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Rainbow WhisksKitchenaid Hand Mixer | Cupcake Pan | Cupcake LinersPink Polka Dot KnifeIcing BagIcing Tip | Colorful Mini Bowls

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

How to make party piñata cupcakes filled with sprinkles! Easy to make and ready for any celebration. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

76 comments

  1. Omg, Sally! These are the bomb dot com!

  2. OBSESSED with those sprinkles! Do you think these could be made as mini cupcakes, or would it be too hard to put the sprinkles inside? Trying to make them for a big group of people, but don’t have enough time to make multiple batches!

  3. I love these cupcakes! They are perfect for any celebration.

  4. Wow, these are such a fun idea! These would be perfect for kids birthday parties!

  5. These are so adorable! The absolute perfect party cupcake 🙂

  6. I made these cupcakes with my daughters for our NYE party. They were so much fun to make. We added sprinkles to the batter and filled the baked cupcakes with mini m&m’s. I didn’t have any cake flour on hand so I swapped out a couple tablespoons of all purpose flour for cornstarch – sifted it together and wha-la!, I saved myself a trip to the store. I followed your recipe almost exactly, however, I added 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract to the batter and buttercream frosting because the combination of vanilla and almond is divine – well, my daughters and I think so! Thanks for sharing! I enjoy reading about your baking process and many of your recipe’s are the ‘go to’ in our house! Happy New Year!

  7. My daughter’s birthday is coming up, and I think she would be thrilled with these! I think I will surprise her! What a fun treat!

  8. I made these cupcakes and it turned out awsome. My family was so suprised when the sprinkles poured out. Thank you for your amazing recipes.

  9. P.S. I am a big fan of all your cupcakes.

  10. I want to make these for my daughter’s birthday party so I need more than one batch. Is it better to double the recipe or make twice?

    • I would make 2 batches. It’s easier to work with less batter at 1 time. I find that when I work with too much batter, I tend to overmix.

  11. THEY’RE SO PRETTY AND FUN AND HAPPY!!

  12. I made these on a trial run and they were easy, fun and DELICIOUS! My husband said it was better than some fancy bakeries! (I’m typically not a baker, so this is a great comment!)

    One question…in your make ahead tips I see I can make the cupcakes a day early and the frosting too. Will it be okay to add refrigerated icing to a room temperature cupcake the morning of? I guess I mean will it stick to the cake and also pipe out well after being refrigerated? OR would it be better for me to ice the cupcakes when both are room temperature and then put all the iced cupcakes in the refrigerator?

    • Hey Angela! That’s a great question. You can add cold refrigerated frosting on room temp cupcakes. That’s not a problem at all. If you aren’t piping the frosting, however, it might be difficult to spread with a knife if it’s very cold.

  13. I made these today for my sister’s birthday celebration. We had a Fiesta theme so the piñata cupcakes were perfect! I made these exactly by the recipe and was so happy with the way they turned out. My
    9 year old daughter loved filling them. We chose mini m&ms, mini bunch a crunch and star sprinkles. Everyone enjoyed them! 

  14. These would be so fun for a baby gender reveal party! Thanks for the cute recipe 🙂

  15. Oh man, please help!!!!! I love making cupcakes but am having trouble with my cream cheese frosting.

    I checked your recipe above and cannot for the life of me understand how anyone can eat buttercream with 5 cups of sugar (sorry I know we all have different taste buds but I find 3/4 cup still overly sweet, which brings me to my next question.

    Have you ever experimented with anything other than confectioners sugar / icing sugar (UK) to give the buttercream its ‘hold up’ consistency?

    My normal go to recipe is 8oz butter (stick) and 8oz cream cheese but the recipe asks for a cup or two of sugar and I only like to put 1/2 cup in at most (and still find this too sweet) The recipe also wants to add cream but I exclude this as struggle with the stiffness, as it is, because of the missing sugar.

    Someone out there, MUST, have the same dilemma! I bought meringue powder but haven’t dared try it yet as remember it being quite bitter and my Mum in the UK said a friend of hers uses very finely ground almonds but I cook for kids at school sometimes so nuts are out.

    Many might say its my tastebuds but I do remember even the ones I have made, (with limited sugar) that so many kids in my daughters class ate the cake and left more buttercream saying they aren’t into sweet icing.

    My husband always harps on about nothing bunt cakes icing, if you have ever tried it.

    Hopefully you can help, I asked on cake central but a reply of “well, you can use your recipe for between cake frosting and then use an extra sweet one for piping” and “I have made hundreds of cakes, for sale, that I would have eaten and didn’t like” didn’t help me in the least!!!!!

  16. I have made these several times, they are a staple for special occasions! Question though…sometimes I make them and they remind me of cornbread…I figure it must be something I’m doing in the process. Can you help me determine what might be causing a cornbready flavor (when there is no cornmeal in the recipe? Overmixing? Undermixing? Temperature? I have followed your recipe to a T but perhaps I’m missing something.

    • Overmeasuring the flour perhaps? How about spooning and leveling, if you haven’t already. Or weighing the flour to make sure you don’t have too much. Did you make any slight changes to the recipe, preparation, or ingredients?

      • Thank you for your response! I follow it to a T for sure, I did not make any changes. I usually measure my flour by spooning it in and leveling it off, but I will try weighing it next time and see if that makes a difference!

  17. Hello Sally! These look absolutely lovely and I plan on making them for my husbands 30th birthday! I noticed you mentioned the only thing different in this recipe is the left out vanilla bean. If I added that half of vanilla bean seeds will these cupcakes be overly sweet?? 

    Either way can’t wait to make them!! 

  18. What a truly FUN recipe! Love it!

  19. I am pressed for time, but I would love to make these for my daughter’s bday party. Can I use a box cake mix and get a similar result? Possibly an angel food cake?

  20. My daughter made pinata cupcakes (at my suggestion) for my grandsons kindergarten class. She brought 3 kinds of sprinkles and did a good mix up of colors for the center. However the tiny round sprinkles absorbed moisture from the cake and melted causing the sprinkles to all stick together so no pinata effect. Any idea as to what ingredient in those particular sprinkles would cause this?

  21. Yes

    • it’s the small shape and the food coloring on them, usually. I don’t recommend them for inside of cupcakes or even in cupcake/cake batter or cookie dough. They always bleed!

  22. Hello,
    I’m just wondering how long the sprinkles stay nicely in the cupcakes? I want to make these cupcakes the day before my Bridal Shower but don’t want the sprinkles to get soft.
    Thank you!

  23. As you’ve already addressed this I am probably being rather redundant …  I’m concerned about the sprinkles bleeding.  I wonder if there are different kinds of sprinkles?  Perhaps I should do a test run.  The party isn’t until the end of August anyway.

    • Using regular rainbow jimmies (the longer strands) typically will not bleed. I would avoid nonpareils. Enjoy!

  24. Sally, this is a stupid basic question, but what size is the scoop you use to scoop the cupcake batter into the liners? That’s a great way to get the same amount of batter into each liner.

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