Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes with Buttery Frosting

All photos below (except the cupcake photos) are from my awesome wedding photographer, Kim J. Martin Photography.

Guys, today is a special day. Today marks the anniversary of the birth of one of my oldest and bestest friends, Annie:

Annie is one of those fun people that’s like a big kid at heart. She is full of joy and passion, especially for her favorite things (to name a few: Christmas, sports, unicorns, pandas, and her Pillow Pet). If you’re trying to picture her, this charming creature is her self-proclaimed spirit animal. In other words, she is adorable and a ton of fun to be around.

This shot of us right after I put on my wedding dress is quintessential Annie:

So. Excited.

Can’t you see why I love her? Besides being so fun and joyous, she is hands down one of the most thoughtful people I know. She is exceptionally good at snail mail, and I’m not just talking about sending birthday and Christmas cards. She definitely sends cards for each holiday, but also for every little special occasion, even ones you wouldn’t think of, like one a month before our wedding and one to welcome us home from our honeymoon. Who does that?! I swear she must have some super secret calendar chock full of each important date and event in her friends’ lives. She definitely knows how to make the people in her life feel special and loved.

I’ve been lucky enough to know Annie since 8th grade, when we bonded in science class. We’ve been friends for over 15 years, spent countless hours talking on the phone, texting, and chatting online on AIM and G-chat. Although we’ve had our bumps in the road, as teenage girls do over boys, we’ve reconnected and stayed together for a reason. So when I got engaged, I knew I’d ask her to be my maid of honor. What I didn’t expect was her to offer to not only stand by me but to offer to officiate the ceremony.

I’m so glad we took her up on her generous offer! She created a personal, meaningful ceremony for us, all about our relationship’s foundation in friendship. We really couldn’t have asked for a better wedding ceremony and it made it so extra-special to have her be the one to make us husband and wife. Needless to say, I am so thankful to have Annie in my life! She is such an incredible friend and person.

And even though I’d rather share photos of us taken by a professional photographer in full hair and makeup, I had to dig up at least 1 random old photo. Here we are when we traveled to Seattle together many years ago. We ran across a convenience store with smaller-than-normal versions of snack foods, which of course meant we had to take a selfie with some. Duh.

Anyway, I couldn’t be there with Annie on her birthday, so I wanted to make sure she got something special in the mail. I found an awesome talking unicorn card and perused her Pinterest boards for inspiration on something to make her. While cookies are easier to ship, I wanted to make something more fun, so I used my method of shipping cupcakes by slicing cupcakes and layering them in Mason jars with frosting. She had several cinnamon roll recipes pinned so this is what happened:

Cinnamon filling swirled into cupcake batter and poof! Cinnamon roll cupcakes. Buttery frosting tops these off perfectly.

To get them ready for their journey, I sliced each one in half, and then layered them with frosting in a Mason jar, topping it all off with a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Get more info on how to ship cupcakes here.

Happy birthday, Reverend Annie! Wishing you a year full of happiness and love!

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Yield: 16 cupcakes


  • Cupcake Batter
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cinnamon Filling
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Buttery Vanilla Frosting
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare cupcake batter: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a cupcake tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together for around 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, stirring until combined after each.
  3. In a small bowl, combine milk and vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  5. Add 1/3 of milk mixture to butter mixture, stir until combined, then add 1/2 of flour mixture. Repeat, mixing after each addition, until everything is combined.
  6. Make cinnamon filling: Stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. The mixture may separate, but that’s fine. If it sits a while, stir together and reheat if necessary before using.
  7. Spoon around 1 1/2 tablespoons (you can use a cookie scoop to make it easy) into each of the prepared cupcake wells. Add 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon filling on top. Use a toothpick to swirl the cinnamon filling around. Add another 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter on top, then a small dollop of cinnamon filling on top of that. Swirl slightly with toothpick.
  8. Bake cupcakes for around 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Prepare frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter for 2 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add 3 cups of powdered sugar to butter. Add salt and vanilla and beat for several minutes, until frosting is creamy and spreadable. Add additional powdered sugar if frosting needs to be stiffer. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.


Cupcake recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen

3 Comments on Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes with Buttery Frosting

  1. Jess
    December 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm (9 years ago)

    What a wonderful and thoughtful post! Happy Birthday Annie!


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