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Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes

Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes – Vanilla cupcakes with a swirl of cinnamon sugar through them! Topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are so delicious!

Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes

These cupcakes were inspired by one of my favorite desserts growing up – boxed cinnamon swirl cake mix. It may sounds silly but it was a dessert that I could make as a kid and it was consistently delicious! For my cupcake version, I made a light and fluffy vanilla cupcake that I swirled with a blend of brown sugar and cinnamon. Once baked and cooled, they are then topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. They taste better than the boxed version and are so good!

Common Questions About Making Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes

What are cinnamon swirl cupcakes?

Cinnamon swirl cupcakes are vanilla cupcakes with a cinnamon sugar swirl through them. Once baked, they are topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

How many servings does this recipe make?

This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

How long do these cupcakes last?

These cupcakes last up to two days when stored in a refrigerated airtight container.

How can I make the perfect cupcakes?

  • Follow the recipe – While I totally understand dietary restrictions, if you plan on making changes to the ingredients, I cannot guarantee the recipe will work.  If you are facing this problem, I will gently suggest that you may want to consider finding a cupcake recipe on a site that specifically develops for the diet you are on such as a keto baking website or vegan baking website.  Too many times have I seen recipes for wrong for people because they started to adjust the recipe too much.
  • Don’t over-mix the cupcakes – If you want to keep cupcakes light and airy, avoiding over-mixing is key.  Mix until just barely combined.
  • Let the cupcakes completely cool before frosting – This is a classic mistake that people constantly make (including me).  Your cupcakes are done baking, you are ready to sit down and eat one so you touch the cupcake and say “this is most definitely cool” even though it’s only been out of the oven for like, 5 minutes.  Wrong.  Your frosting will just slide off the cupcake and it’ll be really sad.  To be safe, I’d say give them 1-2 hours before frosting.
  • Don’t over fill the cupcake liners – If you overfill the cupcake liners, you will definitely have some overflow which isn’t pretty and elegant.  Stick to filling each liner about 3/4 full.
  • Spin the cupcake tin halfway through cooking – An oven’s heat is generally not terribly even so a simple way to make sure all of the cupcakes cook all the way through is to spin the pan about 1/2 way through baking 180 degrees.

Ingredient Notes –

  • Milk keeps the cupcakes moist so they don’t dry out. I’m using whole milk, but use whatever you have on hand.
  • Vegetable oil adds richness to the cupcakes. Any neutral cooking oil will work!
  • Eggs hold the cake batter together so they aren’t too crumbly.
  • Vanilla enhances the sweetness of the sugar and spice of the cinnamon.
  • Granulated sugar sweetens the cupcakes while the brown sugar adds an earthy sweetness in the swirl.
  • Flour gives the cupcakes structure– make sure to spoon and level your measuring cup so you don’t add too much.
  • Baking powder helps the cupcakes rise so they stay light and fluffy.
  • Cinnamon adds a bit of spice and warmth to the cupcakes.
  • Butter gives the frosting structure– with only cream cheese, the frosting would be too soft. It also adds delicious butter flavor.
  • Cream cheese adds tanginess and pairs deliciously with cinnamon.
  • Powdered sugar sweetens the frosting– feel free to add a bit more or a bit less to achieve your desired icing consistency.

Looking for more cupcake recipes? Check these out!

Yield: 12 Cupcakes

Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes

Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes

Cinnamon Swirl Cupcakes - Vanilla cupcakes with a swirl of cinnamon sugar through them! Topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are so delicious!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


For the Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For the Cinnamon Swirl

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


For the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Next, add the sugar and whisk to combine.
  4. Sprinkle over the flour and baking powder and mix just until no large lumps remain - you don't want to overmix.
  5. Fill each cupcake tin with 2 tablespoons of batter. Then, sprinkle over a teaspoon of the cinnamon swirl mixture (below). Top the cinnamon layer with another 2 tablespoons of cake batter. Gently swirl the cinnamon mixture and cake batter together with a toothpick.
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and place them on a wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Cinnamon Swirl

  1. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until they are well combined.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time.
  3. Once all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla and cinnamon.
  4. Turn the mixer to medium high speed and beat the frosting until it becomes light and fluffy - about 45 seconds. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with your choice of tip and pipe the cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle over additional cinnamon-sugar while the frosting is still wet.
  6. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.

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