Bake Gourmet Cupcakes: 6 Recipes from Famous Bakeries

The cupcake bubble has burst according to Slate, and The Wall Street Journal predicts that cupcake bakeries will face economic woes as the trend wanes. Even if the trend doesn’t fizzle out, the bakeries could face troublesome times because it is easy to indulge in a bakery-style cupcakes at home. We’ve found six cupcake recipes straight from the trendy bakers themselves that you need to make at home.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcake and Vanilla Buttercream

Sometimes, basic is best. To ease your way into gourmet cupcakes at home, make Magnolia Bakery’s vanilla cupcakes using the recipe the bakery provided to Epicurious.


  • 1½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 pound)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Directions: First, make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

For the icing, in large bowl, cream butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.


2. PB&J Cupcakes

Crumbs Bake Shop shared the recipe for its PB&J cupcake with Today. The cupcake consists of a peanut butter base, which is filled with jam and topped with a peanut butter-cream cheese frosting.


  • ⅔ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 large eggs

Frosting and topping

  • 54 ounces (3 pounds, 6 ounces) powdered sugar, 10x
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1½ fluid ounces evaporated milk
  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups chopped roasted peanuts
  • 12 ounces strawberry jam (or any of your favorite jam flavors)

Directions: For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare muffin pans by placing cupcake liners in muffin tins. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter until light and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl. Continue mixing for one more minute; set aside.

In separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Set aside. Add flour mixture and egg mixture alternately, in three additions, to butter-sugar, and beat with paddle only until batter is smooth. Do not overmix. With scoop, fill cupcake liners with batter until two-thirds full. Bake on middle rack for 22 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in muffin tin. Then, remove from tin and allow cupcakes to cool completely on wire rack.

To make the frosting, in a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese. With the mixer on low speed, add the evaporated milk until smooth. Next, add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, until smooth and creamy. Fold in the peanut butter and continue to beat on medium-high speed until fully mixed and fluffy.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled and frosting is prepared, the cupcakes can be filled with jam. First, prepare each cupcake by taking the handle of a wooden spoon and gently pushing a hole into the center of each cupcake. Next, pour jam into a pastry piping bag and cut a ½-inch hole in bag tip. Insert tip into cupcake “hole” and squeeze jam into cupcake. Be careful not to overfill, or cupcake will begin to break open. Fill all cupcakes.

Next, frost all cupcakes with peanut butter-cream cheese frosting. Then, roll edges of frosting into bowl of crushed peanuts, and gently tap peanuts into the frosting so peanuts adhere. To finish the cupcake, either swirl strawberry jam into the top of the cupcake with an offset spatula or dollop a circle of jam onto the center of the cupcake top.

Source: Thinkstock

3. Chocolate Cupcakes with Candied Walnut Cream Cheese

On the West Coast, you’ll find Kara’s Cupcakes, which has frequently been listed as one of the best cupcake bakeries in America, as in this U.S. News & World Report list. At an event for CUESA in 2011, owner Kara Lind demonstrated this chocolate cupcake and gave away the recipe so that you can have a bite of her West Coast cupcakes no matter where you live.


  • 8 ounces butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 6 ounces chocolate, melted in a bowl set over a saucepan filled with water on medium-heat

Frosting and walnuts

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line standard muffin tin with paper liners. In a bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one, then beat in the salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in batches, alternating with the buttermilk, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed until everything is completely incorporated. Finally, mix in the chocolate.

Pour batter into the paper-lined muffin tin, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. To make the cream cheese frosting, in a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the candied walnuts, heat the sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2- or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want from this point on. Let the sugar caramelize in the pan until it takes on a deep amber color. Add the walnuts to the sugar, stir to coat, and then pour out into a single layer on a Silpat or parchment paper. Let cool completely, then crush in a food processor. Set aside until ready to use.

To assemble, spread the cream cheese frosting over each cupcake and roll the cupcake tops in the candied walnut mixture to coat.

Source: Thinkstock

4. Sprinkles’ Key Lime Cupcakes

You’ve used a toothpick or skewer to test the doneness of your cupcakes, but with the key lime cupcake recipe Candice Nelson of Sprinkles Bakery gave to ABC, you’ll use the tool to poke tiny holes in the cupcake so more lime flavoring can seep into the baked good before frosting.


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon key lime zest
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm but not cold
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon key lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon milk (only if necessary)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, key lime zest, and 1 tablespoon of lime juice; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke the tops of the cupcakes with holes. Use pastry brush to brush remaining lime juice over the top of the cupcake.

Let cupcakes dry slightly before topping with key lime frosting. To make the frosting, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla, key lime juice and zest; mix until just blended. Do not over-mix, or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream. Frosts over one dozen.



5. Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow

One of Martha Stewart’s favorite cupcake bakeries is located in Seattle: Trophy Cupcakes and Party. The bakery sells this s’more-like confection (complete with toasted marshmallow frosting) and gave the recipe to Stewart, who featured it online.


  • 2¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped


  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.

In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.

Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining ¼ cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.

Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture are golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Use immediately.

Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip. Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to two days.

Chocolate cupcake, ganache

Source: iStock

6. Georgetown Cupcakes’ Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

In our nation’s capital, Georgetown Cupcakes is serving gourmet cupcakes to visitors and residents alike. The bake shop gave The Washington Post the details on how to make its chocolate ganache cupcakes, as well as an important lesson for at-home baking: If you really want to replicate that bake shop taste, you’ll want to use the best ingredients you can get your hands on.


  • 1¼ cups flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda, sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) European-style unsalted butter, such as Plugra brand, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar bourbon
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup Valrhona cocoa powder (or other high-quality cocoa powder), sifted


  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup Callebaut semisweet chocolate chips (or other high-quality semisweet chocolate chips)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 baking cups and a second pan with six baking cups. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stop to add the sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.

Combine the vanilla extract and milk in a large liquid measuring cup. Reduce the speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add one-third of the milk mixture, beating until well incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the milk mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat just until combined. Add the cocoa powder, beating (on low speed) just until incorporated.

Use a standard-size ice cream scoop to fill each cupcake paper with batter so that the wells are two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the ganache frosting, lay a large piece of wax paper on the work surface. Combine the heavy cream and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with an inch or two of water and place over medium-low heat. Place the bowl over the saucepan and let the mixture melt, stirring until it is shiny and smooth. Remove the bowl of chocolate ganache from the saucepan; let it cool slightly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Working with one cupcake at a time, carefully dip each cupcake top in the warm ganache, twisting your wrist as needed to make sure the cupcake top gets completely coated. To prevent drips, quickly turn the cupcake right side up and place on the wax paper. Allow the ganache to set for 5 minutes before serving.

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