Party Piñata Cupcakes

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

Party people! Are we ready to say hello to a new year? 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

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

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:

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

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

When you frost the piñata cupcakes, you won’t be able to tell that there’s anything inside. You can use any frosting– vanilla frosting, chocolate frosting, strawberry frosting, 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

And for the surprise piñata filling?! I used Sweetapolita “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

More Cupcake Recipes


Party Piñata Cupcakes

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 14 cupcakes
  • Category: Cupcakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Party piñata cupcakes filled with sprinkles are easy to make and ready for any celebration!


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (200g) cake flour* (spoon & leveled)
  • 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 temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk at room temperature*
  • 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles, for filling*

Vanilla Frosting

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


  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.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: 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.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Rainbow WhiskKitchenAid Hand Mixer | Cupcake Pan | Cupcake LinersPink Polka Dot KnifeIcing BagIcing Tip | Colorful Mini Bowls
  3. Cake Flour: If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, make this homemade cake flour substitute. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Instead of sprinkles inside, try mini M&Ms, crushed nuts, mini chocolate chips, and/or other small candies.

Keywords: piñata cupcakes, sprinkle cupcakes

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


  1. Hi Sally, One of my favorite quote is “When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry show that you have a thousand reasons to SMILE!” I wish you a very happy 2017!

  2. These are so beautiful! Definitely trying them 🙂 This year has been rough for me in many ways so I know what you’re talking about and I hope 2017 comes with only happy news! Have a great year 🙂

  3. I love these! So many options for so many occasions! And New Year’s Eve is the perfect first shot at it 🙂 I’m ready for 2017, most definitely…this has been a rough year for so many people, I think! I’m thankful there are simple pleasures like baking and sprinkles 🙂

  4. I just happened to read the party pinata cake recipe yesterday and thought “It would be really cool if Sally did this cupcake style” and then this morning, ta da…party pinata cupcakes 🙂 My niece and I are going to have fun making these.
    Happy 2017 Sally!!!

  5. Oh I love these for new years or birthday celebrations!  About overfilling, I always seem to do this with a couple cupcakes, have you ever used one of those batter dispensers?  I’m thinking of investing one…..

    1. I haven’t, actually. I simply just pour from the mixing bowl and stop about halfway (a few extra drips brings it to about 2/3 full).

  6. These are super cute and I already know I adore this cupcake recipe! No NYE party, but I’m sure I’ll find an excuse to do this at some point. =D

  7. The most festive cupcakes I’ve ever seen!! LOVE these for New Year’s Eve or even a birthday party! Well done Sally! 🙂

  8. These are so adorable! These will be perfect for welcoming in the NEW YEAR! I also love following your blog! Visit my blog at! 

  9. These cupcakes are perfect for NYE parties! I always have a hard time justifying making a full cake unless it’s for someone’s birthday – but I have no problem making cupcakes any old time 🙂 I can’t wait to try these little beauties! Here’s to a great 2017!!

  10. Sally! Happy holidays! Thank you so much for being so nice to my boyfriend Jason and making both of our holidays extra special. Your generosity to your fans/fellow bakers is so appreciated! Have a great NYE, these cupcakes are adorable!

  11. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing this and your technique for frosting. I am ready for something different from the old swirls!

  12. I am going to make these for NYE! I made your Great Pumpkin Pie for T-Giving and for Christmas and it was the best! There was not a bite left!

  13. My cousin’s birthday is tomorrow, so maybe I’ll make these for them! They look amazing! I’ll even use the rainbow whisk I got for Christmas (my mom must’ve taken the hint when I showed her one of your pictures with your rainbow whisk). Happy New Year! *pops party popper*

  14. AH Sally, I love all your kitchen supplies as usual (that polka dot knife and rainbow whisks!). I think I might try these or the confetti cake for my birthday next month (is that weird? To dream about your birthday cake?) – I’m especially interested in making cupcakes because I FINALLY got the hang of piping out frosting (and once you get the hang of it, it really is easier than icing with a knife). I LOVE LOVE this cute idea of surprise cupcakes – it might even work with mini m&ms or mini peanut butter cups (in that case, you could probably only fit about 3 in the whole!) I agree – 2016 has been quite the year filled with a lot of good, and bad, change. Here’s hoping 2017 is better. When life gives you lemons, make lemon cake. 😉

  15. Sally,
    I think this is one of the recipes you were talking about. These will be great for the 20+ young people ( I cannot call them kids anymore!!) who will be at my house on Saturday! 

  16. These cupcakes are so adorable!  Yes, I agree that 2016 has kicked our collective butts — and I’d like to wave adios with a cupcake in one hand and a solid drink in the other!

  17. Awesome post!  Perfectly said :).  We are saying good bye to what has been an a$$-kicking year in sometimes the best and worst ways.   We are celebrating the new year with this recipe and different favorites with our fave people.    Thank you for all of your posts.  My daughter and I really enjoy them!

  18. Awesome post and agree completely with saying goodbye to 2016, letting it go and greeting 2017 with fun, fetti and adventure!  We are celebrating with this recipe.

  19. So I have to admit, I’m one of those that succumb to the pressure of filling the liners more than 2/3 full! Ugh! Why do I allow myself to do this? And the description you gave of what they look like when you do? Spot on! So one of my baking resolutions for 2017 will be “step away from the liners after they are 2/3 full!”. These cupcakes look GRAND! And what a great way to bring in 2017 with Confetti that pops in your mouth! This reminds me of that gum……oh what was it called….the “squirt gum”….Freshen Up Gum! That’s it…”The gum that goes squirt!”….That’s what these cupcakes remind me of….a squirt of goodness popping in your mouth! I have to try! Sally, Happy New Year to you, Kevin, Jude & Franklin….have fun and be safe!

  20. The cutest cupcakes ever!!
     Sally, your blog has totally renewed my interest in baking, I swear !  I made three of your wonderful cookie recipes for Christmas and got rave reviews. I don’t take full credit. I mention you too !! LOL
    Though I  lo ing these little beau ties, I’m still in cookie mode right now.  Or pie…yum. 
    No matter what is next, Happy 2017 to u and everyone who reads this blog. 
    Bake on good people !!

  21. How fun are these?! As a sprinkle lover myself, these are a must-have for every birthday from here on out. So darn cute and so darn delicious!

  22. OMG Sally! I will totally make these for New Year’s Eve, but I’m already making your red velvet yule log but instead of cream cheese frosting I will cover and fill it with chocolate ganache, then I am also making your slice and bake cookies which are already in the freezer, so I just have to thaw them a little, slice and bake them! I also wanted to make the mini cinnamon roll cookies that you posted but I guess I will not have enough time. Im thinking bout breakfast, I might do your cinnamon rolls or any healthy pancake recipe on your blog. Happy 2017! Regards from Venezuela!
    BTW I recently made your easy glaze to decorate some cookies, and let me tell you it is amazing! loved it.. tomorrow I will be decorating some more cookies and it is also delish!

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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally