Sprinkles-Inspired Chocolate-Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes.


Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am cupcake-obsessed.

Last month, I posted on my blog 8 Cookbooks that I was wanting.   Here’s a link to that post: 8 Cookbooks I’m Craving!

Well, my dear husband did take the hint (whoop!).   For Christmas I was gifted 4 of the 8 Cookbooks from that list, including The Sprinkles Baking Book by Candace Nelson.


One of my favorite cupcake bakeries is Sprinkles.   I have frequented Sprinkles while visiting Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando and Georgetown/D.C..   I always get the same exact two kinds (when available) – a milk chocolate cupcake with milk chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles, along with a vanilla cupcake with milk chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles.   Sometimes, I also get a doggie cupcake (a pup cake) for my fur baby.  He absolutely loves them!

I no longer live near any cupcake shop whatsoever, let alone a Sprinkles.   It is all the more reason for me to be able to make a delicious cupcake at home.  These cupcakes are now the closest I have ever come to achieving that goal.  That is exciting!

For the cupcakes, I closely followed the recipe for vanilla cupcakes in The Sprinkles Baking Book.   It created a delightful, somewhat dense, cupcake with great flavor that was actually very similar to what you would get at a Sprinkles.

Mmmmm…. Happiness.


Ingredients For 12 Vanilla Cupcakes:


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup whole milk

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter slightly softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg (best if room-temp)

2 large egg whites (best if room-temp)


I was happy to of had this Costco purchase sitting in my kitchen cabinet.   It was exactly what I needed for making both the cupcakes and the frosting.

Directions For Vanilla Cupcakes:

1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.   Line a 12-cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together using a whisk.   Set aside.

3. In a measuring cup, measure the milk and add the vanilla.  Stir.   Set aside.

4. Using a KitchenAid/stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.   Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until creamy.   Slowly add half of the flour mixture, then all of the milk mixture, followed by the rest of the flour mixture.   Beat in mixer until blended.

5. Pour batter into cupcake cups.   I used a large cookie scoop to efficiently get the batter into the cupcake cups.  However you do it, just divide the batter evenly among the 12 cupcake cups.

6. Bake 18-20 minutes.

7. Remove from oven, and let them cool completely before applying frosting.

8. Apply Frosting.  (Instructions Below)



For the frosting, I very loosely followed the Sprinkle’s book recipe for milk chocolate cream cheese frosting.   The Cream Cheese Milk Chocolate Frosting was the only milk chocolate icing recipe anywhere in the book .   I’m not necessarily a cream cheese fan, so I decided to omit it altogether.   I figured if I loosely followed the book’s chocolate frosting recipe, altering it with using what I had on hand, and what I have already learned about making icing, that it just might turn into something good.   It did.   Even my daughter, who dislikes sugar icing, totally approved.

Ingredients For Chocolate Frosting:  

***********************************************(Here is what I actually used, based loosely on the Sprinkles book frosting recipe.)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened.  I actually used salted butter as an experiment and it was good.

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar

Approximately 3 teaspoons Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder.

Approximately 1 tablespoon half-and-half

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Note:   The Sprinkles recipe incorporates cream cheese into the frosting, which I omitted entirely.  It called for melted bittersweet chocolate, which I substituted with using Hershey’s cocoa powder (because I couldn’t find my baking chocolate bar that I just know I had bought!).   Haha, oh well, no biggie.  The cocoa powder I had on hand worked well.   The book’s recipe called for whole milk, but I had on hand only 1 percent milk and some half-and-half, so I went with using the half-and-half (which worked out perfectly fine).

Directions For Chocolate Frosting:

1. Using my KitchenAid with the paddle attachment, I first mixed the butter and salt.

2. Next, I added the confectioners (powdered) sugar, and mixed.  Then, I added some of the cocoa powder.

3. I then added the vanilla and some half-and-half, watching for it to achieve a creamy consistency, and adjusting ingredients accordingly.

As it was mixing, I noticed it needed more cocoa powder and more half-and-half. I added more of each in very small increments.   These two ingredients can be added in an amount to your own liking, depending on your desired chocolate richness and how creamy you want the texture to be, respectively.

After the cupcakes had cooled, I slathered the frosting onto each cupcake using an offset metal spatula that resembles a small butter knife.   I’m not sure of its actual name, so here is a photo:

This worked perfectly for icing my cupcakes by hand.

Then, the family taste-testing commenced. And… The cupcakes were a big hit!  My first made-from-scratch cupcake worth bragging about.   Well, I won’t brag, but I will post!

Some Insight From The Book:

One of the things in the Sprinkles book that inspired me was the author’s take on frosting cupcakes.   Her motto is that hand-frosting cupcakes is best.  She shuns using a pastry bag.   That works fine for me, because I can’t pipe frosting all that well.   Not well at all!   She states that hand frosting preserves the frosting’s rich and creamy texture.   Works for me!

One of her tips is not to work the frosting too much.   Basically, spread it from the center and then swirl it around the circumstance a few times.  Good advice – and I took it.   I certainly did not achieve a signature Sprinkles look with my cupcake frosting, but I was still very happy indeed.



Want some more tried&true, delicious recipes for sweet treats?  Just click on the link below to see my recipe blog-post for:

Black & White Chocolate Cookies

Sweet & Sour Apple Pie

The Chocoholic Cookie

A farm wife’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe

Blueberry Cream Muffin Recipe

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