These Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes are the ultimate in cupcake indulgence! A delicious, buttery vanilla cupcake that has a surprise hot fudge core and is beautifully and deliciously topped with the fluffiest vanilla buttercream frosting, only to be adorned with a hot fudge drizzle, chopped nuts, colorful sprinkles and a cherry. Just like your favorite sundae!
the easiest vanilla cupcake recipe you'll find
It's no secret that I love using box cake mix to make DELICIOUS cakes and cupcakes, and this recipe is no exception. For these decadent hot fudge sundae cupcakes you'll need a vanilla cake mix, a few other pantry/everyday ingredients like eggs, oil, sour cream and instant pudding mix. While we are taking the shortcut route with the cupcakes, I am a firm believer that buttercream must be made from scratch. Making frosting from scratch is VERY EASY and there's nothing better when it comes to texture and flavor. And of course, because these are sundae-inspired cupcakes we'll need chopped nuts, festive sprinkles, and cherries to top them off.
How can I make my cupcakes more moist?
When it comes to baked goods, especially cakes and cupcakes, texture is everything. When it comes to that moist crumb we love for our cupcakes, it's all about the ingredients. In this recipe, we use a few ingredients that help make cupcakes moist, fluffy and delicious. For instance the recipe calls for cake mix AND instant pudding mix. Instant pudding mix helps keep cakes and cupcakes moist while also making the batter super smooth and a little thicker.
This recipe also calls for sour cream AND oil. Both ingredients can be found (together or individually) in recipes for super moist cakes. Because of the higher fat content in these ingredients, they help bring moisture to the cake mix. Between the pudding mix, sour cream and oil, you can bet that these cupcakes are moist, thick and fluffy - the perfect cupcake consistency.
how do you fill the center of a cupcake?
Filling the center of a cupcake is super easy. I use a cupcake corer to punch out a small hole in the center of the cupcake. If you don't have a cupcake corer you can do this with a small spoon too. Since these cupcakes are so moist it's easy to make a small hole in the center without the whole cupcake becoming crumbly and falling apart. Then, once you have a small hole you simply fill the cupcake with whatever you'd like. In this case, it's hot fudge. Simply spoon out a small amount of hot fudge and fill up the hole. Now it's time to frost and decorate!
how do you make vanilla buttercream from scratch?
Like I mentioned before, I love making buttercream frosting from scratch. As much as I love using cake mixes and other shortcuts for delicious results, there's no other way to make buttercream. For this vanilla buttercream frosting you'll need unsalted butter (that's be soften to room temperature), powdered sugar, a little bit of vanilla extract, a splash of milk, and a pinch of salt.
Buttercream frosting is all about texture. You want the buttercream to be thick, but fluffy at the same time. Think of it as a delicious dollop of vanilla clouds sitting on top of your cupcake. That's what we're going for. To achieve this, the butter must be room temperature and you have to beat the frosting on medium-high speed for at least 5 minutes. These two factors will get you thick, fluffy buttercream frosting every time.
To make the frosting you'll need either a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a large mixing bowl with a handheld electric mixer. Place the room temperature butter in the bowl and beat that for 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the powdered sugar. Start mixing the two together on low speed )so the sugar doesn't fly everywhere) and then work up to medium-high speed once the two have combined. Slowly add in the vanilla extract and milk and continue mixing. Set a timer for 5 minutes to mix everything together. The trick here is to get as much air into the frosting as we can. this will create a beautiful, smooth and fluffy texture.
Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes
- standard size muffin/cupcake pan
- (1) 15.25 ounce yellow cake mix
- (1) 3.4 ounce instant vanilla pudding use instant pudding, not cook & serve
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 jars store bought hot fudge sauce room temperature (see note*)
For the Frosting:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tbsp milk or heavy cream
- pinch of salt
For Decorating the Cupcakes:
- hot fudge
- chopped nuts
- rainbow sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees or according to package (cake mix) instructions. Line a cupcake/muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the the cake mix and pudding mix and give it a quick stir to mix the dry ingredients together. Add in the eggs, sour cream, oil, milk and vanilla extract, mix everything together using a handheld mixer on medium speed, stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until batter is thoroughly combined and smooth, do not over beat the cake batter. Scoop cake batter into cupcake pan, filling each liner about half way, do not fill to the top. Bake in the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.
- Using a cupcake corer or just a small spoon, scoop out a small hole from the top of the cupcake to the center of the cupcake. It should look like a small well. Spoon out a small amout of hot fudge sauce (room temperature, do not heat the hot fudge sauce) and fill the hole of the each cupcake.
- Make the frosting: add the butter to a large mixing bowl, beat on medium speed for about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the powdered sugar, beat on low speed for about a minute and then work your way back up to medium speed. While on medium speed add in the milk, vanilla extract and the pinch of salt. Allow the frosting to mix for about 3 to 5 minutes on medium speed so it can get a nice fluffy texture. Frost cupcakes to your preference!
- Garnish the top of each cupcake with a drizzle of hot fudge, chopped nuts, rainbow sprinkles and a cherry! You can also use cookie crumbs, candy pieces or whatever you would love on your cupcake sundae, enjoy 🙂