Cinnamon Bun Cupcakes

June  2, 2021
4 Ratings
Photo by Eric Isaac
  • Makes 12 cupcakes
Author Notes

What’s more comforting on a cold, rainy day than a warm, gooey cinnamon
bun? Maybe curling up in a soft robe with a nice hot cup of tea, watching bad movies on Lifetime starring Valerie Bertinelli as some sort of woman “scorned.” Or lying on the couch while an entire litter of kittens sleeps peacefully on your chest. Or sitting in front of a fireplace doing crossword puzzles while listening to Sade’s smooth-as-satin voice. Okay, maybe there are a lot of things more comforting than cinnamon buns, but you know what? You can’t eat kittens or Sade, so there.
The key part to any worthwhile cinnamon bun, in our opinion, is the sticky “goo”
that oozes out. So rather than make just a simple cinnamon cake, we dot ours with a cinnamon sugar mixture that sinks to the bottom during baking and oozes out when you unwrap it. There’s no shame in using a knife and fork to eat this one.

Reprinted by arrangement with VIKING STUDIO, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © ALLISON AND MATT ROBICELLI, 2013. —Allison Robicelli

What You'll Need
  • Cinnamon Goo // Vanilla Cake
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Cinnamon Streusel // Cinnamon Butterscotch // Cream Cheese Buttercream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 recipe butterscotch
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 recipe French Buttercream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (one package)
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum (optional)
  1. Cinnamon Goo // Vanilla Cake
  2. Cinnamon Goo: Mix the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a bowl until the mixture looks like wet sand. Note that this mixture will not come together all the way—that’s totally normal. Don’t beat yourself up thinking you’re doing something wrong. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 baking cups.
  4. Melt the butter in a microwave at 60% power for 1½ to 2 minutes. Keep the butter warm—do not allow it to sit and cool off.
  5. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-low speed for 2 minutes until light yellow and lightly foamy.
  6. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Pour the warm butter into the eggs slowly, so that the mixture tempers and the eggs do not scramble. Once the butter is added, reduce the speed to medium-low.
  7. With the mixer running, add the milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix for 1 minute until well combined.
  8. Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, and baking powder and add to the batter. Mix on medium until just combined, 10 to 20 seconds. Remove the bowl and paddle from the mixer and use the paddle to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, ensuring that everything is well mixed.
  9. Scoop the batter into the prepared baking cups, filling them two thirds of the way. Using a teaspoon, mix the cinnamon goo once again to reincorporate the butter and sugar. Place random small dollops of the goo over each unbaked cupcake.
  10. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The cupcakes are done when the centers spring back when you touch them.
  11. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes. Leave the oven on to bake the streusel.
  1. Cinnamon Streusel // Cinnamon Butterscotch // Cream Cheese Buttercream
  2. Cinnamon Streusel: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a clean bowl of the mixer on medium speed until the mixture looks like small pebbles. If the mixture is still too smooth, add more flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Sprinkle the streusel over the baking sheet, making sure there are no large clumps. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pan once, until golden brown.
  3. Cream Cheese Buttercream: Follow the recipe for French Buttercream. Once completed, add the cream cheese and beat on high until well incorporated. If the cream cheese is particularly liquidy, it could cause the buttercream to “break.” If that happens, add the guar gum and continue beating on high for 2 minutes until the mixture comes back together.
  4. For American frosting: Prepare the recipe as directed, replacing the mascarpone with the cream cheese.
  5. Assembly: Fill a pastry bag fitted with a fluted tip with the cream cheese buttercream and pipe onto each vanilla cupcake. Sprinkle the streusel crumbs over each cupcake. Using a teaspoon, drizzle the cinnamon butterscotch over each cupcake.
  6. Half Assed Corner: Skip the cinnamon streusel and used crushed cinnamon-flavored cereal instead.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • adeola
  • Dennis
  • Coffeecat
  • Calie
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated food writer, a Publisher's Weekly-starred author, and lots of other fun things. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she currently lives with her two sons and four cats in Baltimore, Maryland.

5 Reviews

adeola April 27, 2014
Omg! There is oil in my muffin pan! How is this recipe a community pick?!
adeola April 27, 2014
I tried this cupcake recipe and it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. I can swear the cupcakes were frying in the oven. I am so disappointed. What did I do wrong? Looks like the butter was too much or so....
Dennis October 18, 2013
this sounds yummy, but I don't see the recipes for the Cinnamon Butterscotch nor for the French Buttercream — both are listed in the directions above (i.e., follow the recipe for ...)
Coffeecat October 23, 2013
Dennis, it's a rare omission for Food52 to not have the subsidiary recipes included but they goofed on this one. I found Robicelli's buttercream recipe linked from another of the cupcakes in this series, the Liddabit Cupcake. You'll find the recipe here:
Calie October 25, 2013
What about the cinnamon butterscotch?