27 Cupcake Situations That Do Not Include Box Mix

Hello and welcome to this thing we’re trying out where we help you figure out what you’re gonna put in your mouth this week. Some of these are recipes we’ve tried, some of these are recipes we’re looking forward to trying, all of them are fucking delicious. Tell us what you want to put in your piehole or suggest your own recipes, and next week we’ll check in and talk about which things we made, which things we loved, and which things have changed us irreversibly as people. Last week, we ate things that come in our CSA boxes.

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Why hello there, party people. This weekend was my 27th birthday, and to celebrate my fleeting youth and my ever-increasing amount of wisdom, I ate approximately two million funfetti cupcakes. I love funfetti because it’s clearly the best cupcake in the entire world (source: duh), and they’re so easy to make, but they’re also kind of… plain. Don’t let the sprinkles fool you. They’re just for color.

Every once in awhile I get the urge to be a little bit fancy and make fancy cupcakes that take more than a box mix. Cupcakes are the perfect vessel for fun and surprising flavor combinations. They’re quick to bake, take way less effort than a cake and are exactly what every party needs because you don’t have to get fussy with serving them.

Here’s a list of 27 of those for the next time you’re feeling a little fancy, too:

1. Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

2. Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream


via Joy the Baker

3. Gluten-free Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Vegan Cupcakes

5. Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes

6. Sugar Cookie Cupcakes

7. Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

8. Peaches and Cream Cupcakes

9. Peanut Butter Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes

10. Coconut Lime Cupcakes

This flavor combination in a cupcake: my personal dream.

11. Gluten-Free Strawberry Cupcakes

12. Samoas Cupcakes

13. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough S’more Cupcakes

14. Strawberry Margarita Cupcake

15. Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

16. Creamsicle Cupcakes

With washi tape flags! My heart melts.

17. Honey Chamomile Cupcakes

18. Nutella Cupcakes

19. Ginger Zucchini Cupcakes with an Orange-Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

20. Root Beer Cupcakes with Cream Soda Frosting

Root beer is my favorite thing in the world, so these look extra delicious to me.

21. Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

22. Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream

23. Vegan Fall Acorn Cupcakes

24. Mocha Cupcake Recipe

25. Red Velvet Cupcakes

26. Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream Icing

27. Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

I have an intense soft spot in my heart for ice cream cone cupcakes because my sorority used to make them at retreats. They’re soooo yummy. The cone adds that extra bit of crunch and sweetness. Yum!

What’s your favorite cupcake recipe?

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of Autostraddle.com and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. I know this is about no box, but the only way to funfetti is with a box. .. you can jazz up a box by skipping the instructions and mixing the mix, a stick of real butter, 2eggs, and a cup of water. Mix until it becomes creamy (like 2 or 3 full minutes in my kitchen aid) and bake at 350 for recommended time. .. It’s almost homemade, but funfetti.

        • Actually I just looked up the ingredients of Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix and their Classic Yellow Premium cake mix and the only difference in the ingredients is what they refer to as “candy bits” or sprinkles. While Pillsbury does sell Funfetti mixes separately, the mixes are exactly the same and you can technically get almost the exact same effect by putting sprinkles into regular white or yellow cake mix.

          ~THE MORE YOU KNOW~

          On a totally unrelated note, don’t read the labels and prices on your toothpaste because the majority of toothpastes have the exact same ingredients but certain types for “sensitivity” or “gum protection” will have fancy labels and cost way more even though they have the EXACT SAME formula as the cheap version.

  2. I’ve cooked #26 before, but with a whiskey chocolate ganache as a filling. It is delicious.

  3. Ginger & zucchini cupcakes? OMG. I don’t even want the frosting – I’ll just drench them in spiced rum when they come out of the oven…

  4. I had a red velvet cupcake the first time I visited the States. It was revelatory. I intend to eat a lot more cupcakes the next time I visit. (Cupcakes aren’t a big thing where I live, so they have exciting novelty value in addition to being delicious. Yay!)

  5. But what if I want a mocha cupcake with cream soda frosting in an ice cream cone? AND topped with one of those little acorn things!

  6. The chocolate Guinness cupcakes look amazing, I’m definitely trying those.

    I’d include green tea in there somewhere; you can add matcha green tea powder to a basic buttercream frosting, or make green tea flavored cupcakes, and both go great with chocolate in some form.

  7. I need a link to #2, because that looks delicious! I am also infatuated with anything made out of zucchini, so that one is going in my recipe box.

  8. I don’t actually know what funfetti is, I’ve seen random references to it on the internet but never in enough detail to actually figure out what it is

  9. Hansen, I think YOU’RE a cupcake for posting this ^^ (really, thank you for the great recipe ideas!)

  10. Why did I click this article? I want to eat every single one of these, but can have none. Why do I do this to myself???

  11. i hate to break it to you guys but technically the nutella cupcakes do involve box mix….however they look so completely fantastic that i think it’s okay…

    (plus like…cake mix isn’t inherently shitty! it helps guarantee that you’re not gonna forget the baking soda or whatever like i often do with from-scratch baking and then no matter what flavor improvement i was gonna get i don’t get it, i just get a lumpen cardboard mess! so….i’m pro-mix for the short-attention-span among us)

  12. I read the title and came here to say something about Funfetti but thankfully that was covered in the opening paragraph so I can now drool over the rest of these cupcakes

  13. I have never heard of funfetti before but it sounds like something I would enjoy a lot

  14. Number 14, the strawberry margarita ones, are actually from a box mix. Baking from scratch is neither difficult nor time-consuming so I don’t understand why people who are interested in baking enough to be recipe blogggers ever use it. If anyone knows of a box-to-ingredients conversion floating around, I’d be very grateful :D

  15. You know what’s kind of hilarious? When box cake mixes were invented, they had powdered eggs so that all you had to do was add water. BUT nobody bought them. It just seemed too much like cheating. They removed the powdered eggs from the mix and did a reformulation so that you have to add water, oil, and eggs and suddenly they were flying off the shelves!

    • I once saw powered pancake mix, to which the instructions stated you should add milk and an egg. THAT’S JUST EXPENSIVE FLOUR.

  16. Ughh I’m at the part of the day when I’m really hungry and bored and want to leave work, but still have to be here for two more hours, and these cupcakes are taunting me… :'(

    I have made the Guinness ones and they are delicious. Right now I think I could really go for the gluten-free cinnamon roll cupcake…nom!

  17. THE ROOT BEER ONE. I also love root beer to the point of ridiculousness. And I have to say, I’ve never gotten the Funfetti thing. I mean, it’s just bad-tasting colored box mix?? It literally tastes like artificialness, and that’s about it. Blech. I cannot say this to my friends, because they are all obsessed. It’s very frustrating.

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