Even with an easy, one-bowl cupcake and the best whipped cream-cheese frosting, these little beauties will be upstaged by the secret hidden treasure trove of candy in the center. Even if you want to make cheater cupcakes and just use a box mix and premade frosting, you will still get oooohs and aaaahs when your guests discover their little secret.

Piñata cupcakes

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Cupcakes (Makes 12):

Things You’ll Need

  • 1/2 cup softened butter

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2/3 cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Things You’ll Need

  • 1 cup sprinkles or small candy (I used mini M&Ms and star sprinkles)

  • 8 ounces cream cheese

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Ingredients for piñata cupcakes


Make it easy! You can use a box cake mix and premade frosting to make this project super simple.

Step 1: Beat the Butter and Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add the softened butter to a mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until well combined.

Beating the butter and sugar

Step 2: Add the Wet Ingredients

Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Then, add the milk and white vinegar.

Adding wet ingredients

Step 3: Add the Dry Ingredients

Sprinkle with the flour, baking soda and salt and stir until just combined.

Adding dry ingredients

Step 4: Scoop

Scoop the mixture into cupcake papers until 2/3 full (an ice cream scoop works well).

Scooping mixture into cupcake papers

Step 5: Bake

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

Baked cupcakes in colorful paper

Step 6: Cut

Using a paring knife, cut a circle out of the center of each cupcake, making sure that the walls and bottom of the cupcake are still intact.

Cutting circles in the cupcakes

Step 7: Slice

Slice the bottom off the cake plug, keeping the top portion.

Slicing the cake plug in half

Step 8: Fill

Fill the hole with candy and/or sprinkles.

Cupcakes with candy in center hole

Step 9: Cover

Place the top of the cake plug back on the top of the hole.

Placing cake plug top over candy

Step 10: Beat the Cream Cheese

Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy. This may take several minutes.

Beating cream cheese

Step 11: Add the Cream

While the mixer is running on high, slowly add the cream a few tablespoons at a time until incorporated before adding more. Then, add the vanilla extract.

Adding the cream

Step 12: Add the Powdered Sugar

Add the powdered sugar and beat until well combined.

Adding powdered sugar

Step 13: Add the Frosting to a Piping Bag

Fill a piping bag with the frosting. This works best if you put the piping bag in a large mug.

Piping bag in mug

Step 14: Frost and Sprinkle

Frost the cupcakes and add sprinkles if desired.

Cupcake with frosting and sprinkles

Step 15: Serve

Serve the piñata cupcakes and watch smiles appear when their secret is discovered!

Completed piñata cupcakes


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