Vanilla Bourbon Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I know this is a last minute entry but I made these holiday inspired cupcakes last week and haven’t had a chance to post them on the blog yet. To be honest, these cupcakes can be enjoyed all year round because I have to say, THEY ARE SCRUMPTIOUS.

One of my favourite shortcuts for a cake recipe is to use BOXED cake mix. I know this admission of “back door baked wizardry” is quite horrifying to some of you, but I’m going with the premise of this being a “taste like scratch” kinda recipe. I’ve also been using this method for years and subbing in different flavours of cake mix and pudding.

Oh, and my late mother-in-law was a fabulous cook and used to make all her cakes this way. Guess what? No one EVER complained.

I was inspired to make these cupcakes because I had leftover gingerbread snowflake cookies (see previous post). They were so adorable, I had to find a reason to use them as a decoration. Perfect, right?

I also found the most amazing cupcake liners and they have been sitting in my cupboard for months, so I had another excuse to bake.

I’ve received so many questions about what I do with the baked goods I make. If I’m not heading into the office, there’s always the neighbours who are MORE than willing to take things off my hands (and my hips…..because if the sweets are in my house….I’m eating them).

Two of my favourite guys who live down the street noticed that I was baking because I posted the step by step on my insta story. Their message to me included heart eyed emojis when they saw these cupcakes. I quickly responded with “I have a ton, you want some”?. No sooner than I could pack them, he showed up at my door with his own cupcake carrier to haul away the goods.

These are the perks of living on the same street as Simply Beautiful Eating. You always have to be prepared.

For those of you who are celebrating Christmas with family over the next couple of days, there’s still time to make these to bring to a gathering. They are quick, super moist, totally delish and a real cupcake of a sweet treat.


Serves: 24

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 box vanilla pudding
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1 PC Black Label vanilla bourbon bean, scrape out the inside of pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1⅓ cups milk, I used unsweetened coconut
  • ⅓ cup oil
  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Mix all ingredients for 3 minutes in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Prepare muffin tins with cupcake liners. Scoop out batter evenly into cupcake liners - you are going to have 24 in total. I use an ice cream scoop to do this. Batter will be about ⅔ full. Tap each tin on the counter to condense mixture.
  3. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 12 oz . cream cheese , softened (I used 1½ packages)
  • ¾ cup butter , softened (it’s really yummy to use ½ salted and ½ unsalted)
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon extract
  • 4½ - 5 cups powdered sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Add cinnamon, both extracts and powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined, then increase to medium and whip until pale and fluffy. I like a stiffer frosting so I keep adding powdered sugar until I’m happy with the consistency. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon if desired.


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