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Mardi Gras Cupcakes

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Rich buttermilk and vanilla bean cake in purple, yellow and green make these Mardi Gras cupcakes topped with Reese’s mini cupcakes the perfect party treat! Mardi Gras Cupcakes | In February 2012, AFN Bavaria here in Germany is hosted me for a 2 hour segment to talk cupcakes and baking!  And, well… since it’s Mardi Gras season, I thought it’d be a perfect reason to bring the DJ’s some party cupcakes!

Because I needed to color the batter, I needed a basic white cake batter to start with.  So, I whipped up a simple vanilla buttermilk cupcake.  But… you know me, nothing I do is ever basic.  These cupcakes have my favorite Madagascar vanilla beans, buttermilk and some added sour cream for flavor.  There is nothing basic about the flavor of these bad boys! Mardi Gras Cupcakes | I topped the cupcakes with  a cinnamon cream cheese frosting then embellished them with Mardi Gras colored sprinkles and mini cupcakes made with Reese’s peanut butter cups.   This is a simple, fun way to dress up your cupcakes for a party!

You don’t just have to make these cupcakes for Mardi Gras either… they could be made in green and red for Christmas.  They could be made in pink and white for Valentine’s Day or even Green for St. Patrick’s day.  The possibilities are quiet endless! So, if you’re looking for a fun, simple, yet delicious cupcake to serve at your Mardi Gras party… make these Mardi Gras Cupcakes!

They’ll be sure to impress your party guests!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes |

Happy Baking!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

These cupcakes are ready to PARTY for Mardi Gras!


Mardi Gras Cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • the seeds of 2 Madagascar vanilla beans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups Buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Green, Purple and Yellow food coloring gel (I used Wilton brand)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • green, purple and yellow sprinkles
  • Mini Reese's peanut butter cups
  • purple gel food coloring


Mardi Gras Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pans with white liners.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes.
  3. While that is creaming, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the buttermilk, vanilla beans, vanilla extract and sour cream. Whisk until combined. It will look lumpy, which is okay.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the butter/sugar and mix on medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is incorporated. NOTE: It will look curdled. DO NOT FRET! It will smooth out once you add the flour.
  6. Add all the flour at once and mix on low to medium speed until smooth. Don't over mix!!
  7. Separate batter evenly into three bowls.
  8. Add food coloring and mix until uniform in color.
  9. Using a tablespoon, scoop one color into the liner against one edge. Quickly, scoop the second color next to/overlapping the first color. Finally, add the third color. NOTE: By the time you get to scooping the third color, you should still be able to see a 1/3 of the bottom of the liner.
  10. Add another smaller scoop of each color until the liners are 1/2-2/3 full. NOTE: Do not fill these more than 2/3 full. They puff up nicely and you don't want overflow!
  11. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate pan after 12 minutes.
  12. Cool in pans for 7-8 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. /4lb at a time, add the powdered sugar. After the first addition, add the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Beat until smooth.
  3. After the next additions of powdered sugar, add whipping cream and beat on high until smooth. After the last addition of sugar, add enough cream until you get your desired consistency.
  4. Add the pinch of salt and beat on high for 5 minutes.


  1. Reserve 1/2 cup of frosting and tint with purple food coloring gel. Put it in a piping bag with a small star tip. Set aside.
  2. Using the white frosting and a large star tip, pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Embellish with sprinkles and jimmies.
  3. Put a swirl of the purple frosting on top of the Reese's pb cups and embellish with sprinkles and jimmies. (You want it to look like a mini cupcake.)
  4. Place a Reese's cup on top of each cupcake, off center.

Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 5th of February 2018

I made these for a Mardi Gras party at a senior residence home and they all loved them! They are so pretty and festive and have a wonderful taste. I love how light the cake is! I will definitely be making these again. Thanks so much for sharing your recipes!

Betsy Eves

Tuesday 6th of February 2018

Wonderful!! I'm glad everyone enjoyed them :)

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Sunday 26th of March 2017

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Tuesday 14th of July 2015

Quick question - what are the Rolo candies for? They are listed in the ingredients but I don't see them in the directions. An alternative to the PB cups?

Betsy Eves

Tuesday 14th of July 2015

Hi Lisa- I honestly don't know why it said Rolo's in the recipe. HA! Thanks for catching that error. You could use Rolos I suppose, but Reese's are better!! Happy Baking!


Sunday 25th of January 2015

I just made my 1st batch of these and they are a resounding success WITHOUT frosting! Can't wait to hear the response when they are frosted. I am baking and freezing them as I need 6 dozen for an event in two weeks. Much easier to make ahead so I only have to frost right before the event. Thank you!

Betsy Eves

Sunday 25th of January 2015

Wonderful Jennifer! I'm so glad it's a success for you!! Enjoy!! xoxo

Nicole, RD

Wednesday 5th of March 2014

The "cupcake" on the cupcake is such a cute touch! Love love love!

Betsy Eves

Wednesday 5th of March 2014

Thanks, Nicole!!

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