Cinnamon Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

These cinnamon cupcakes are made with my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe and a gorgeous brown sugar cinnamon swirl throughout the cupcake. They’re frosted with a cinnamon brown sugar ermine buttercream and a dusting of cinnamon.

Fall is approaching and nothing screams fall more than cinnamon. I mean I guess pumpkin does but cinnamon enhances all things pumpkin, apple, chai, spice, etc. Cinnamon is the queen of fall. 

Sometimes we let those flavors take over our fall flavor palettes but today, we’re just going to highlight cinnamon with these gorgeous cinnamon swirl cupcakes.

Why you’ll love these cinnamon cupcakes

  1. I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe which is basically a double batch of my vanilla small batch cupcakes (you can use that recipe with this method for a small batch as well).
  2. I used real vanilla beans in the cupcake batter and highlighted the cinnamon with a brown sugar cinnamon swirl throughout. The flavors complement each other so well and it makes the cupcake flavor and texture much more interesting than a plain cinnamon cupcake.
  3. The cupcakes are frosted with ermine buttercream. I like to use ermine buttercream when I want to infuse a flavor into the frosting, such as cinnamon. This makes the flavor more prominent and keeps the buttercream smooth and silky. 

I use this base cupcake recipe in my cookbook, Frosted and in my strawberries and cream cupcakes, vanilla latte cupcakes, birthday cake cupcakes, nutella cupcakes, and funfetti cupcakes

Ingredients & subtitutions:

  • Butter: I like to use salted butter for my cakes and unsalted butter for my buttercreams. 
    • You can also use unsalted butter for the cakes, just add an extra ¼ tsp of salt to every cup of butter used. 
  • Oil: any neutral oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, etc. will work. 
  • Sugar: I use granulated sugar in my cupcakes and I don’t recommend substituting it or reducing the amount. 
    • I use light brown sugar in the swirl portion of the cupcake and in the frosting but dark brown sugar will work fine too.
  • Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste but if you’re in a pinch, you can also use artificial vanilla extract.
  • Eggs: always use large, room temperature eggs. Pop them in hot water for 5-10 minutes if they’re cold.
    • I use one whole egg here but this cupcake recipe also works great with two egg whites if you have some lying around. 
  • Flour: I usually use all-purpose flour for cakes but cupcakes are a different story. I use cake flour for these cupcakes.
    • ​​I also HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as flour is almost always over measured. 
    • If you don’t have cake flour, you can substitute the cake flour for equal parts all-purpose flour – 1 Tbsp and then add 1 Tbsp cornstarch. It’s not a perfect substitute but will get the job done. To learn more about this, check out my ebook about ingredients. Use code BAKER for 60% off. 
  • Baking Powder: can sub for baking ½ tsp baking soda if you don’t have baking powder. 
  • Salt: salt brings out the flavor in all baked goods.
  • Sour Cream: I use sour cream in almost all my cake and cupcake recipes. It brings and holds a lot of moisture into the cake. Plain greek yogurt or unsweetened regular yogurt also works. 
  • Milk: any fat percentage of milk works, even plant based milk works.  
  • Cinnamon: I use ground cinnamon in these cupcakes.

Guided Instructions

STEP 1: Start by making the buttercream so it has time to cool. Cook the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and milk until it’s thickened like custard. Cover it and set it aside to cool.

STEP 2: Make the cupcakes by whisking together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

STEP 3: Beat in the butter and oil first, then add the egg and vanilla and beat until they’re fully incorporated.

STEP 4: Add the sour cream and milk and mix until they’re combined.

STEP 5: Scoop half of the cupcake batter into 14 lined cupcake tins (the 2 extra can wait if you only have one muffin pan). 

STEP 6: Cover the batter with the cinnamon sugar and then fill the cupcake tins with the rest of the batter, filling them only about ¾ full. 

STEP 7: Bake for about 20 minutes, until slightly golden and the center springs back when you press on it.

STEP 8: Finish making the buttercream by whipping the butter until it’s pale and fluffy. Add the cooled custard in 3-4 increments and mix until it’s smooth.

STEP 9: Frost the cooled cupcakes, using a piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip and dust the top with cinnamon .


Can I use a different buttercream?

If you don’t want to make ermine buttercream, I also have my french buttercream recipe and my swiss meringue buttercream recipe as an option. 
You can also use my American buttercream recipe from my vanilla cake and you can find plenty more frosting options in my cookbook, Frosted
Just add 1-2 tsp of cinnamon and vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste at the end. Taste it and see if you want a stronger flavor.

How to get that perfect dome on the cupcake?

My secret to perfect cupcakes is my digital scale! If you overfill or underfill the muffin pans you may get a cupcake with a muffin top or a shriveled sunken cupcake but if you weigh them, you’ll get it right each time. 
Each cupcake tin should hold about 50 grams of batter plus the cinnamon sugar filling. If you don’t have enough for 14 cupcakes, make 13 but DO NOT be tempted to squeeze all the batter in. Just lick the bowl and the spatula and call it a day!

Can I make these cupcake dairy free?

You can use dairy free butter, dairy free milk/cream to make cinnamon cupcakes. 

Can I make these cupcakes gluten-free?

I have not tested my cupcake recipes but all my cake recipes work well with a 1:1 gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour. 

Can I add cinnamon to the cupcake batter?

You definitely can add extra cinnamon to the cupcake batter. I would do about 1 tsp, maybe 2 if you want a stronger flavor. 

How do I know when cupcakes are done baking?

The cupcakes are done baking when they no longer look wet. The edges may not brown depending on the oven so make sure to test it by gently pressing on the tallest area of the cupcake and if it springs back, it’s done. If it feels wet and stays pressed in, give it another 1-2 minutes before testing again.

How to serve and store cinnamon cupcake

Serve the cupcakes fresh or leave them at a cool room temperature for 1-2 days. 

To refrigerate, make sure to cover the cupcakes with a cake dome or store them in an airtight container for up to a week.

To freeze it, place them in an airtight container and then place the container in an airtight bag. Thaw at room temperature before serving.  

If you make these cinnamon cupcakes, make sure to tag me @baranbakery on instagram so I can share them with everyone! 

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

Yield: 14 cupcakes

Cinnamon Cupcakes Recipe

cinnamon cupcakes

These cinnamon cupcakes are made with my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe and a gorgeous brown sugar cinnamon swirl throughout the cupcake. They’re frosted with a cinnamon brown sugar ermine buttercream and a dusting of cinnamon.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes


Cinnamon Buttercream

  • 3/4 cup (150g) light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (6oz) milk
  • 1 1/4 cup (283g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • dusting of cinnamon

Cinnamon Swirl

  • 1/4 cup (50g) light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cup (172g) cake flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) canola oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup (113g) sour cream
  • 1/3 cup (78mL) whole milk, room temperature


Cinnamon Buttercream

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Whisk until they're well distributed.
  2. While whisking, slowly pour in the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth. 
  3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously (but not too aggressively) for 3-5 minutes.
  4. When the mixture thickens and begins to hold streaks, whisk quicker for about another 30-60 seconds. It should be thick like custard.
  5. Pour the mixture into a heat safe container, cover it and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Cinnamon Swirl

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/177C convection (325F/163C conventional) and line 14 muffin tins with cupcake liners (preferably a light colored pan).*
  2. In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. Add the oil and butter to the dry ingredients and use an electric mixer to beat them together until they're combined.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until they're fully combined.
  5. Then add the sour cream and milk, mixing just until the batter is smooth. 
  6. Fill each cupcake liner about 1/3 full of batter (about 30g each), spread 1-2 tsp of cinnamon sugar filling on top and then top with the other half of the batter, filling the muffin tins up to about 3/4 full (another 20g of batter on top).
  7. Use a knife to make a gently swirl throughout the cupcakes and bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes. They should no longer look wet and when you press on the center of the cupcake it should spring back.
  8. Remove them from the oven and let them cool in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack.

Finish Buttercream

  1. Once the custard portion for the buttercream has cooled completely, place the butter into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.**
  2. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, to beat the butter at full speed for 5 minutes. Make sure to scrape the edge of the bowl every so often.
  3. When the butter is pale and fluffy, add the cooled custard in 3-4 increments, with the mixture running at medium-high speed.
  4. Add the vanilla and mix until it's fully combined and smooth.
  5. To remove any excess air for smooth piping, you can switch to a paddle attachment and mix on low speed for a few minutes *optional.


  1. Use a piping bag fit with a large round piping tip to frost the cupcakes.
  2. Use a small sieve to dust with cinnamon.
  3. Serve fresh or just slightly chilled.


*I normally get 13 cupcakes with a little batter left (about half a cupcakes worth) from my vanilla cupcake recipe, however since we're filling part of the cupcakes with the brown sugar filling, I was able to squeeze out 14 cupcakes.

If you do only 13 cupcakes you should have a 2 tablespoons or so left of batter, don't be tempted to use the whole batter. If you add slightly more batter to the cupcakes they can sink, shrivel up or have muffin tops.

If you only have one cupcake pan, the batter is fine to wait at room temperature while the first set bakes.

**if your room temperature is warm, place the custard and the butter for the buttercream in the fridge for 10-20 minutes before finishing the buttercream.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 384Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 117mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information may not be fully accurate.

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  1. Hi! These Look delicious!! But I’m confused by your recipe. Is the Cinnamon Buttercream part supposed to be apart of the cake batter or for the icing ?

    • Hi Suzanne, cinnamon buttercream is the icing. I start the custard portion for the buttercream before making the cupcakes and then after the cupcakes have cooled, beat the custard with the butter to finish the buttercream and frost the cupcakes.

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