Cupcakes/ Desserts/ Frostings and Icings

Sunshine Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Moist, from scratch chocolate cupcakes topped with a vanilla buttercream frosting and decorated to look sunny and happy!  Aren’t these cupcakes just the cutest?!?!  They are perfect for any celebration or just to have around to put a smile on your face.  And these cupcakes are made with a very interesting ingredient…

I made these for a little girls birthday party, which had a sunshine theme.  My husband plays video games with a group of people on Xbox Live, and they have all become pretty good friends. These cupcakes were for the cutie pie daughter of one of the guys James plays video games with.  I don’t play video games anymore, but I did have quite the Call of Duty obsession back in the day when it was a new game.  Oh geez…I totally just dated myself there huh?  I have actually always loved playing video games ever since I was a little kid.  I started off on Atari, then the OG Nintendo (still in my opinion the best gaming system ever….hello Super Mario Bros., Zelda, Donkey Kong?!), my Sega Game Gear (Sonic the Hedgehog!!!!!) and then Xbox 360.

But did you know????  Nintendo is re-releasing the Nintendo NES on 11/11/16 with 30 of the original classic games built in.  Um, so I would totally camp out at Best Buy to be the first one to get this.  I am BEYOND excited.  So on 11/11/16 you know what I will be doing!  I think Nintendo just reminds me of such good memories of my childhood and playing hours upon hours upon hours of Super Mario Bros. with my sister.  And Duck Hunter….remember that game?  With the gun instead of the controller?  Might have been another of my favorite games.  Poor ducks.

Ok.  Cupcakes….I was super happy when the Davis family contacted me and asked me to do the cupcakes for their daughters birthday party.  I had baked the cupcakes and a cake for their sons birthday party the month prior, so it made me super happy that they liked my cakes so much that they wanted me to bake for their daughters party!  I do special order cupcakes and cakes and there is seriously nothing that excites me more than planning my recipes and design.  I put a lot of time in just the research of what recipe I want to use and how I want to decorate the cupcakes or cake.

The Davis’s really like the buttercream I used on the cupcakes and cake I made for their sons party, so they requested that on top of a chocolate cupcake.  I have a killer chocolate cupcake recipe that I had used when I baked the cupcakes for my nieces birthday party, so I knew the Davis’s would be happy with my chocolate cupcakes!  And that’s what I am sharing with you today!

Here’s a picture of the cupcakes I made for my nieces Paw Patrol themed Pawty…aren’t they cute?!  Same chocolate cupcake recipe and vanilla buttercream recipe that I used with these Sunshine Chocolate Cupcakes!


Okay, now don’t be scared…but there is a secret ingredient in these chocolate cupcakes that make them totally amazing.  Mayonnaise.  Yup!  It’s not weird if you think about it…mayonnaise is really just eggs and oil emulsified with a squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt.  Homemade mayonnaise is super easy to make too, so feel free to make your own for this recipe or use whatever kind you prefer (I used store bought)!

To decorate the Sunshine Cupcakes I used the Wilton Extra Large Round Tip #1A.  I added a white layer of buttercream to cover the chocolate cupcake, then colored the remaining buttercream with yellow food coloring.  Using the large round tip in a disposable pastry bag, I piped the sunshine design onto each cupcake.  I used mini chocolate chips as the eyes and Twizzlers Pull-N-Peel Licorice as the smiles.  These cupcakes just make me smile!


Chocolate cupcake recipe is slightly adapted from the Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting Cupcake from Hoosier Homemade.  The vanilla frosting recipe is from Beyond Frosting blog.

These cupcakes are easy to make, super yummy and the recipe makes a lot!  Perfect for any party and can be decorated to fit your party theme!

Sunshine Chocolate Cupcakes

Print Recipe
Serves: 36 Cooking Time: 15-minutes


  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups mayonnaise (homemade or your brand of choice)
  • 1/3 cup brewed, black coffee
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, cold
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream



CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 350-degrees and line three cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.


In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs and sugar and mix on high speed until light and fluffy (6-8 minutes)


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. With the mixer on low, gently add the dry mixture to the sugar mixture, alternating with the mayonnaise. Add the vanilla extract. Mix only until ingredients have incorporated.


Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently add the hot water and coffee to the mixture, stirring by hand. Stir until combined.


Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full and bake cupcakes one pan at a time.


Bake cupcakes in 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out without raw batter (crumbs are don't want a dry, over-baked cupcake!).


Bake remaining cupcakes one pan at a time. Remove cupcakes from the pan after they are cool enough to handle (approximately 5-minutes), and let cool completely on a wire wrack.


FROSTING: Cut COLD butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment on an electric mixer, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat the butter until it is pale in color.


Add two cups of the powdered sugar to the mixer, and mix on low until incorporated into the butter.


Add two teaspoons of vanilla extract to the mixer and mix until combined.


Add two more cups powdered sugar to the mixer and mix on low until sugar is incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3-minutes.


Add the last cup of powdered sugar, two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixer. Beat on low until the ingredients are incorporated. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and beat for another 5 minutes.


Frost onto cooled cupcakes.


Unfrosted cupcakes can be made ahead of time and frozen until ready to use. Place cooled cupcakes, single layer, in a freezer ziplock bag and into the freezer. When it is time to defrost the cupcakes, remove them from the freezer and let the cupcakes defrost on the counter, still in the ziplock bag (I just open the ziplock bag). If I freeze them, I usually remove the cupcakes 4-5 hours prior to frosting them. Store frosted cupcakes in the fridge, if not eating the same day you have frosted them.


Here’s a picture the Davis’s sent me of the cupcakes all set up for the party…sooooooo pretty!!  The pink cupcakes are my Snickerdoodle Cupcake recipe, which I will be sharing soon!

What’s your favorite cupcake? If you make these, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!




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Recipe shared on Meal Plan Monday!

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