These soft and moist Snickerdoodle Cupcakes are a fun take on the classic cookie. They’re topped with a smooth and creamy cinnamon frosting that’s quick and easy to make. Recipe includes a how-to video!
Soft, Spiced Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
If you’re a fan of snickerdoodle cookies, you’re going to love these snickerdoodle cupcakes! The cupcakes themselves are so tender and moist, thanks to cake flour and buttermilk, and the spiced icing has both butter and cream cheese (and a touch of brown sugar!) for a rich, smooth flavor.
Like my snickerdoodle blondies, these cupcakes also have a touch of cream of tartar for that signature snickerdoodle tang.
This recipe is super simple, with no tricky techniques or ingredients necessary. It comes together in less than an hour and makes 12 beautifully frosted cupcakes. With Christmas just over a week away, you still have enough time to add these to your dessert menu–and if your family is anything like mine, they won’t last long!
What You Need
Here are a few of the key ingredients that make these snickerdoodle cupcakes really special:
- Butter and oil. A blend of oil and butter gives the cupcakes the best flavor (from the butter) AND the best texture (oil adds moisture). I don’t recommend substituting one for the other. Use softened (not melty) unsalted butter and any neutral cooking oil.
- Eggs. Room temperature eggs work best. If you forget to set yours out to thaw, just let them sit in warm water for 10-15 minutes.
- Flour. Unlike most of my recipes, I recommend using cake flour for these snickerdoodle cupcakes. Make sure you measure your flour properly; accidentally over-measuring your flour can cause dry cupcakes.
- Cream of tartar. You can’t have snickerdoodle cupcakes without cream of tartar! Cream of tartar provides the tang that is synonymous with snickerdoodles. I do not recommend using a substitute.
- Cinnamon. Like cream of tartar, you need cinnamon in any snickerdoodle dessert.
- Buttermilk. Besides adding moisture and flavor, buttermilk contributes to the slight tangy flavor. If you don’t have any on hand, you can use my easy buttermilk substitute.
- Cream cheese. I use cream cheese in the frosting to add to that signature tangy snickerdoodle flavor. Do not use the spreadable cream cheese that comes in a tub! Use softened, block-style cream cheese.
- Sugar. We’ll need both light brown sugar and powdered sugar for the frosting and granulated sugar for the cake itself.
- Cream or milk. This helps the frosting whip into a light and fluffy texture. Heavy cream is my preference, but you can use milk if it’s all you have.
- Salt and vanilla. For flavor. Use your homemade vanilla extract if you have it!
SAM’S TIP: If you find the frosting to be too sweet, you can add a ¼ teaspoon of salt to cut the sweetness.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Snickerdoodle Cupcakes
Overmixing can cause your snickerdoodle cupcakes to end up dense, dry, or rock-hard. To avoid this, once you have creamed together your wet ingredients, switch over to a spatula and combine by hand. You want the batter to be uniform, but not overmixed.
- Cream together the butter, sugar, and oil until it’s well combined.
- Add eggs and vanilla; mix to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, begin alternating between adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Evenly divide the batter into your cupcake pan and bake at 350F for 17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Let the cupcakes cool in their pan for 8-10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
SAM’S TIP: While I always recommend keeping an oven thermometer in your oven to make sure the temperature is accurate, you’ll still want to use the toothpick test to check if your cupcakes are done. Ideally the toothpick should come out with moist crumbs–not wet batter. This means the cupcakes are nearly completely baked, and they’ll finish fully baking in the cupcake tin as they cool. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are definitely finished baking (and could potentially even be overbaked at this point), so remove them immediately.
- Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar until well combined
- Gradually add the powdered sugar with the mixer on low speed. Pause to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the vanilla and cinnamon.
- Add heavy cream and slowly increase the mixer to high speed. Beat for 10-15 seconds until the frosting is light and smooth. Give it a taste, and if it’s too sweet, add the salt.
- Spread or pipe frosting on top of your cooled cupcakes and enjoy!
This frosting is a modification of my classic cream cheese frosting. It uses slightly more butter and less cream cheese than the original, which I think allows the signature cinnamon/sugar flavors to shine while still providing that classic tanginess!
Frequently Asked Questions
These cupcakes wouldn’t be true snickerdoodle cupcakes if they didn’t have cream of tartar! Besides flavor, cream of tartar helps to activate our baking soda. I really don’t have a good substitute, so I suggest you stick with the recipe for this one!
This can happen for several reasons. Over-measuring the flour is one common culprit. Over-mixing the batter or baking the cupcakes for too long can also cause dry cupcakes. These snickerdoodle cupcakes are also best enjoyed fairly soon after baking, or they’ll dry out.
Sure! My regular cream cheese frosting would be great with snickerdoodle cupcakes, as would my brown butter frosting.
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
- ⅓ cup (75 g) unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) canola or vegetable oil¹
- 2 large eggs room temperature preferred
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ⅔ cup (190 g) cake flour
- ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar²
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup (158 ml) buttermilk room temperature preferred
- 4 oz (113 g) cream cheese softened (use full fat “brick-style”/not spreadable cream cheese)
- ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter softened
- 2 Tablespoons (25 g) light brown sugar firmly packed
- 4 cups (500 g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon heavy cream or milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt if needed
- Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a 12-count cupcake tin with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and oil and use an electric mixer to beat together until light and creamy and well-combined.⅓ cup (75 g) unsalted butter, 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, ¼ cup (60 ml) canola or vegetable oil¹
- Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir well.2 large eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a separate bowl, whisk together cake flour, cream of tartar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.1 ⅔ cup (190 g) cake flour, ¾ teaspoon cream of tartar², ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- Now stirring by hand, alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. I usually add the dry ingredients in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2. Stir by hand using a spatula, the batter should be mostly smooth and combined, avoid over-mixing as this will make the cupcakes dry.⅔ cup (158 ml) buttermilk
- Evenly divide batter into prepared cupcake tin and transfer to 350F (175C) oven. Bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean or (preferably) with moist crumbs.
- Allow to cool in cupcake tin for 8-10 minutes then carefully remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before covering with frosting.
- Combine butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat together until smooth and creamy.4 oz (113 g) cream cheese, ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, 2 Tablespoons (25 g) light brown sugar
- Gradually, with mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar until combined.4 cups (500 g) powdered sugar
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and stir in cinnamon and vanilla extract.1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add heavy cream and slowly increase speed to high. Beat for 15 seconds on high speed until frosting is smooth and light. Taste-test and add ¼ teaspoon salt if needed (this helps to cut the sweetness of the frosting).1 Tablespoon heavy cream or milk, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Spread or pipe frosting over cooled cupcakes. I used an Ateco 848 piping tip to frost the cupcakes in the photos and video.
¹OilYou may use any neutral cooking oil in place of the vegetable or canola oil. I do not recommend substituting the oil for additional butter, as the oil is key for keeping the cupcakes moist.
²Cream of tartarUnfortunately I do not have a substitute for the cream of tartar that I can recommend. This ingredient is key to giving the cupcakes their signature snickerdoodle flavor. Cream of tartar can usually be found in the spice section of your grocery store.
StoringStore in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Cupcakes may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days, but note that the longer they sit in the refrigerator the more dry they will become.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
My extended family loved these. They were so easy to make. The frosting was delicious. Do you have a dairy free frosting recipe for my dairy free granddaughter?
Hi Lily! Unfortunately I don’t think I have any dairy free frostings. 🙁
Not a fan of this recipe. We prepared the batter as directed and baked cupcakes. The consistency of the cake was moist with a medium crumb however the taste was off for my family. Cake was too sour and the frosting, because of the cream cheese, exacerbated that taste.
Hi Sherry! Are you a fan of traditional snickerdoodle cookies? The “sour” taste that you described is pretty on par with those.
Hi Sam! Yes, snickerdoodles are my husbands favorite. We made these for his birthday. I also make a mean old fashioned “sour” pancake using buttermilk.
Our definitions of sour could be off. I was expecting a tinge of sour plus cinnamon and vanilla. Sour over powered all else. If I omitted the tartar they might have tasted better; But tartar plus homemade buttermilk was not good.
I make my buttermilk using vinegar to curdle the milk for a nice sour pancake. Maybe that had an effect? The cake was just way too sour for my family.
Hmmm making homemade buttermilk shouldn’t cause any issues.
Hi want to make this cake using one springform pan so can i use recipe as stated or wil i need to double?
I have never tried baking this in a spring form pan. I would think one batch would work just fine. I would be careful not to overfill it. Good luck! 🙂
Angela Renee Rowland
Would this cupcake b good with Oreo frosting?
The flavors may not compliment each other the best, but it sounds like it could be good to me. 🙂
These were absolutely delicious. OMG, the frosting to die for. My husband liked these so much he wanted me to make more. I am going to try this frosting with a chocolate cake. Yummy. Thanks for all you do, you are my favorite site to visit
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy you both loved them, Bev! And that sounds amazing–let us know how it turns out 😊
I too don’t keep cake flour on hand. I have a substitution and was wondering what Sam thinks of it. It is as follows: Measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and place it back in your flour canister. Replace the removed all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sam, will this work as well as cake flour?
Hi Maryann! To be honest I have never used this method. Growing up I just removed 2 tablespoons and didn’t replace it with the cornstarch, but in this recipe your method is definitely worth a shot. I’d love to know how it turns out. 🙂
These look delicious! Definitely will be making them for this Christmas. I’m wondering if the recipe can be doubled and made into a cake?
Hi Anna! That should work here. 🙂
Would this recipe work well as a cake instead of cupcakes? If not what alterations to the recipe would you suggest?
Hi Nicole! I haven’t tried it but I think it will work. 🙂
I can’t get cake flour where I live, are there any substitutes that would work? Thank you! 😊
Hi Lorraine! I don’t have an exact substitute on hand, but I have found substitutes online in the past. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. 🙁