Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon and Vanilla Swirled Frosting

Swirled Frosting, Cinnamon, Cupcakes, Snickerdoodle

I love a good snickerdoodle.  Growing up, they were my favorite cookies.  All of that vanilla and cinnamon goodness – it takes me way back to my childhood, like most things sweet and bad for me. For me? Snickerdoodle Cupcakes seem like a good substitute.

Joy of Cooking:claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudel (“snail noodles”), a Palatine variety of schnecken. It is also possible that the name is simply a nonsense word with no particular meaning, originating from a New England tradition of whimsical cookie names. – Wikipedia

This weekends project needed to be a cupcake, though.  I did cookies earlier this week and I don’t want to be redundant.  In keeping with this weeks theme of cinnamon (apparently) – – I did this delicious cinnamon coffee cake yesterday; I decided to go full snickerdoodle, except not with cookies – but with cupcakes.  Surely vanilla and cinnamon would make a good cupcake, right?  Let me answer that for you:  YES.

This recipe is about as simple as it comes, as far as cupcakes go.  You have your batter and your frosting – – there’s no filling in this one, it doesn’t need it.  Seriously, it’s sweet enough as it is – – you’re going to need coffee or milk or something else to compliment it.  HINT: if the frosting is too sweet, add a little salt to it (this is true for almost all types of frostings).

I use muffin cups – makes cupcakes easier to transport (from the kitchen to the couch, naturally).  I don’t like to bake cupcakes in a bare tin – having the cups in place seems to make for a more uniform color… because when you’re devouring sweet cupcakes, color matters!

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Paper cup liners

Let’s get to the recipe! (Skip directly to the printable recipe below.) The batter first.  I’ll usually make the frosting while things are baking.

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl: Flour, Baking Soda, and Salt.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl

In a large bowl, you start with the butter.  Melt it in the microwave, which is such a departure from most things that I bake when I generally use all things at room temperature.  But – this time, melt it in the micro.  It’s 1 cup of butter, which typically takes about 20 seconds.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Melt butter in the microwave.

Use a whisk to mix in 1 cup of the sugar (reserve the rest for cinnamon sugar, later).  Once fully mixed, let it rest a bit so that it cools down – the last thing you want to do is add eggs to a warm mixture and end up with scrambled eggs in your cupcakes (or maybe you do?  Up to you, friend).

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Mix butter and sugar together.

The butter and sugar mixture will be gritty in texture.  Once it’s cooled, add in the egg, yogurt (or sour cream), milk and vanilla and give it a good mix with an electric hand mixer, or a whisk.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Sour Cream, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Egg and Milk
Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Mix together until smooth.

Slowly mix in the flour mixture by adding it a little at a time and mixing it together between adds.  This will make sure you don’t end up with lumpy batter.  The batter will be pretty thick, and should be smooth.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Beat together until creamy.

When it’s all mixed up and done, you’re ready to begin filling the cupcake cups.  Start by filling them only about a quarter full.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Fill cups 1/4 full.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar.  Then sprinkle the top of the batter in the cups with 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon/sugar mixture – – this is going to create a layer of cinnamon goodness inside your cupcake.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
1 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar will create a yummy layer.

Then spoon more batter on top of the cinnamon sugar until the cups are about 3/4 full.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Fill with remaining batter until each cup is 3/4 full.

Sprinkle the tops of the cups with the remaining cinnamon sugar.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Sprinkle top with 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar.

Now they are ready for the oven!  Bake them at 350 degrees for about 18-22 minutes.  When close to done, test them by poking a clean, dry toothpick in the center – then pull it out.  If the toothpick comes out clean – you have a finished cupcake!  Take them out to cool.  I usually remove them from the muffin pan right away and put them on a wire rack to cool – this is another advantage of using the muffin cups, they hold the warm cupcakes together when you remove them from the pan.  I use a spoon to lift them out so I don’t A.) squish them and B.) burn my fingers (both have been known to happen in my kitchen more often than I’m willing to admit to!)

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Remove from tin.
Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe
Cool on wire rack until fully cool.

Cinnamon / Vanilla Frosting

This is the fun part!  The frosting on my cupcakes are two-toned .. light and dark, that is: cinnamon and vanilla.  To make the frosting, you should cream the butter first.  Start with room temperature butter so that its nice and soft and cream it by using an electric hand mixer with a paddle attachment and whip it until it’s smooth and creamy.  Then you can add the powered sugar, cream and vanilla and mix it all together.

Sometimes, though – the chef forgets her steps and adds the powered sugar to the butter before whipping the butter.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe - Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting
Mix butter and powdered sugar.

Whoops. :/   No harm, though – it will still whip up decently .. it just takes a little more time and is messier than it needed to be if you had only remembered to follow my damned directions. (Yes, I’m talking to myself.)

Once it’s mixed together and smooth and creamy – separate it by putting half of it in a small bowl, then add 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon to the remaining frosting.  You should end up with two bowls of frosting, one light, one dark.

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe - Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting
1/2 Vanilla, 1/2 Cinnamon-Vanilla frosting

This is the messy part.  You need to fill a piping back with each frosting so that the vanilla frosting is on one side of the bag, and the cinnamon frosting is on the other.  This will create the two-toned icing once you pipe it onto the cupcake.

Cinnamon Frosting
Cinnamon frosting on the other side
Vanilla Frosting
Vanilla frosting on one side.


Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe - Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting

I use a star tip for piping, but you can really use any tip you want to use. Experimenting with frosting tips is great fun – I picked up this 59pc frosting tip pack and have had fun experimenting with the different shapes and effects that you get.  I really like the look of this two-toned frosting a lot.  I’m trying to get to a point where I don’t make an absolute mess with frosting piping.  I watch baking shows and they always make it look so easy and neat and clean.  Maybe it’s just me – – maybe I’m just messy?

Quick story – a few weeks ago when I made a chocolate hazelnut cake, I made hazelnut buttercream frosting.  My husband loved the cake, but wondered why there was hazelnut buttercream on the refrigerator door, cupboard door and on the picture frame of a picture handing above the kitchen sink.   … “I am dying to hear the story behind this”, he said.

See, I was watching a baking show one day and the guy who was doing the frosting piping filled his pastry bag with frosting, twisted the top shut and then swung the back around in circles like he was swinging a lasso around.  That forced all of the air out of his pastry bag – – but HE didn’t get frosting all over the kitchen.  HOW?  My husband thinks he had some kind of tip on the end of his frosting bag that prevented the frosting from coming out – – but I think that would also prevent the air from being expelled.  I’m convinced that he has perfect timing and swung that frosting bag around just long enough and ended the swing at the perfect moment before the frosting came out.

I’ll never do that again.  I think I’m still finding hazelnut buttercream frosting on things to this day.

I digress.  I think I made the frosting for these a little too thin because the frosting didn’t entirely hold its shape after being on the cupcakes for a about 5 or 10 minutes.  Either that, or I didn’t allow the cupcakes to fully cool and there’s still some heat in there that slightly melted the frosting down – but I still think they are beautiful with the two-toned frosting, and trust me when I say that they are amazingly good!

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe - Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting
Finished product!

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Recipe - Cinnamon Vanilla Frosting


Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Vanilla and Cinnamon Swirled Frosting

A cupcake take on the standard snickerdoodle cookie.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 minutes
  • Total Time: 21 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x



  • 1 2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar (Divided)
  • 1 large Egg (Room Temperature)
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream (Room Temperature)
  • 3/4 cup Milk (Room Temperature)
  • 1 TBS Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Two-Toned Frosting

  • 1 cup Unsalted butter (Room Temperature)
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Salt (To Taste)
  • 1 TBS Ground Cinnamon



  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cups.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl: Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt.
  3. In a large bowl, melt butter in the microwave then whisk in 1 cup of the sugar.  Let cool.
  4. Stir in Egg, Sour Cream, Milk and Vanilla extract.
  5. Mix in flour mixture (from step 2), slowly.  Batter will be thick and smooth (no lumps!)
  6. Mix together remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  7. Fill each cup 1/4 full with batter.
  8. Sprinkle each cup with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar.
  9. Fill remaining cup with batter until the cup is 3/4 full.
  10. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cinnamon on the top of each cup.
  11. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.


  1. Beat 1 cup of butter with an electric mixer until fluffy and smooth.
  2. Add 3 cups of powered sugar and beat until smooth.
  3. Beat in cream and vanilla and then beat for 3 minutes to create a smooth, but somewhat stiff texture.
  4. Add more powered sugar if it’s too thin, or more cream if it’s too thick.
  5. Adding salt to the frosting mixture will reduce some of the sweetness, if desired.  1/4 teaspoon at a time – taste between each addition to be sure you don’t end up with salty frosting.
  6. Remove half the frosting and put into a separate bowl.
  7. Add cinnamon to the remaining frosting and mix well.
  8. Spoon vanilla frosting into one side of the pastry bag and then the cinnamon frosting into the other side (see above for photos).  Pipe onto the tops of the cupcakes, once they are cool.
  9. You can garnish the tops of the cupcakes with an additional sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, or mini white chocolate chips, or just plain ground cinnamon – the cupcakes + frosting are sweet enough to handle a small dusting of bitter ground cinnamon.
  10. Keeps for up to 4 days if stored in an airtight container – – 6 days if refrigerated.

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