25 Cupcake Recipes That'll Make Any Day Sweeter

Whether you're sweet on citrus, chocolate, coconut, or strawberry we've collected our most decadent and show-stopping cupcake recipes for you to enjoy.

Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes
Photo: Victor Protasio

We like to think of cupcakes as the sweetest little bites that turn our favorite layer cakes into an individualized moment that can be shared, transported, and snacked on little by little without making a mess by cutting slices. You can drop one or two off to neighbors and friends or let your family grab and go as they please—there are a lot of reasons why cupcakes are appealing for any baker, starting with being the cutest tiny treat and ending with offering everyone a bite of personalized joy just for them.

Whether you're sweet on citrus, in love with all things chocolate, or fancy yourself a coconut fanatic, we've collected our most decadent and popular cupcake recipes for you to read through now and enjoy with friends and family later. Go ahead and take a big bite—you deserve it!

01 of 25

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist: Kathleen Varner

Go ahead and bake a second batch. These cupcakes take our favorite indulgent flavor duo to new heights, and we guarantee they'll be gone in a flash. Serve with vanilla ice cream, a big glass of milk, or coffee (with Bailey's if you're feeling fun).

02 of 25

Cheerwine Cherry Cupcakes With Cherry-Swirl Frosting

Cheerwine Cherry Cupcakes with Cherry-Swirl Frosting
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner

We're bringing the classic cherry-flavored Southern soda to the baking zone with these Cheerwine-infused cupcakes. Made with boxed cake mix before being topped with a statement-making swirl frosting, you will be seeking more reasons to make these pink delights.

03 of 25

Strawberry-Lemonade Cupcakes

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

It may start with a box of cake mix, but this sunny-day dessert is anything but ordinary. Indulge your palate with the fresh flavor combo of strawberries and lemonade, and impress your potluck host with a tasty and gorgeous dessert option. Which lemonade recipe does this remind you of?

04 of 25

German Chocolate Cupcakes

German Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe
Photographer: Alison Miksch Food Stylist: Erin Merhar Prop Stylist: Prissy Lee

The most indulgent layer cake got a teeny-tiny makeover that somehow makes each bite taste that much more full of chocolatey, coconut-flavored indulgence. We think these decadent cupcakes would pair perfectly with a big glass of cold milk or warm mug of coffee. If you love German chocolate cake, you have no reason not to try out this simple but gorgeous cupcake recipe.

05 of 25

Key Lime Cupcakes

Key Lime Cupcakes
Photographer and props: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

Add a touch of sunshine to your dessert table. This twist on our favorite pie everything we love about the hallmark dessert, but without the extra cooling and chilling time. A note from the Test Kitchen: If you can't find fresh Key limes at your local grocery store, you can always substitute them with bottled Key lime juice.

06 of 25

Margarita Cupcakes

Margarita Cupcakes
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Melissa Gray Prop Stylist: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Whether you serve it poolside or whip up a batch just because, this summery dessert will put you in a vacation state of mind in just one bite. With fresh tangy flavors that define your favorite drink, you will be looking for an excuse to theme a party with these in mind.

07 of 25

Sunflower Cupcakes

Sunflower Cupcakes
Photographer: Alison Miksch Food Stylist: Erin Merhar Prop Stylist: Prissy Lee

Who in your life comes to mind when you take in the bright sunny face of a sunflower? Nothing could brighten up someone's day like a batch of sunflower-themed cupcakes that start with a box of cake mix. The presentation goes a long way, and choosing to make these for a friend who needs their day brightened will feel so good.

08 of 25

Mixed Berry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Cheesecake Cupcakes
Photographer: Alison Miksch Food Stylist: Erin Merhar Prop Stylist: Prissy Lee

Like miniature cheesecakes topped with fluffy whipped cream and mixed berries, these cupcakes make the most adorable centerpiece for a party or shower. If you consider a wine pairing, these treats are begging for some sparkling wine as an accompaniment. We also like to think these beauties work well for dessert, anytime.

09 of 25

Lemon Cupcakes With Raspberry Buttercream

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
Jennifer Causey

Lemon and raspberry are two flavors that make a heavenly match, and this recipe is topped with fresh fruit for a charming finishing touch. When it comes to baking projects, we love combinations that highlight peak seasonal ingredients that we can easily find on a grocery store run or at the local farmer's market. 

10 of 25

Hummingbird Cupcakes With Candied Pineapple Wedges

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Candied Pineapple Wedges
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Turns out, the Southern-favorite cake—typically flavored with pineapple, pecans, banana, and cinnamon—is even more delicious in cupcake form, and the candied pineapple wedges make them occasion-worthy in seconds. The juices add so much flavor to the cake batter and keeps it incredibly moist.

11 of 25

Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes

Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes
Victor Protasio

You can forget all about the food dye with these beet-dyed red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that don't even taste like there is a vegetable in the room. TIP: Microwaving the beets and adding lemon juice for acidity helps retain their color, making the cupcakes even more red.

12 of 25

Easter Birds' Nest Coconut Cupcakes

Easter Birds' Nest Coconut Cupcakes
Cedric Angeles; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Have you seen anything cuter to have at the egg hunt? Classic coconut cupcakes with a coconut-cream cheese frosting make a festive treat as it is, but these are topped with small candy eggs for extra cheer. If you're looking for a basic coconut cupcake recipe that is lighter and more tender than a boxed mix, this recipe fits the bill.

13 of 25

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
Micah Leal

Don't expect any artificial flavoring or colors in this recipe, which features a super airy strawberry cupcake topped with frosting made with cream cheese. The freeze dried strawberries lend bright flavor and intense color. We are thinking is a great selection for your sweetheart, and baking them out of the blue will win you some sweet points.

14 of 25

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
Greg DuPree; Prop Stylist: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Stylist: Margaret Dickey

Say hello to the birthday dessert that everyone will love. A mix between ice cream cones and cupcakes, this recipe starts with boxed cake mix baked into an ice cream cone and is topped with a chocolate-cream cheese frosting and festive rainbow sprinkles. This recipe makes one dozen cones but can easily be doubled or even tripled if you are hosting or serving a crowd.

15 of 25

Dreamsicle Cupcakes With Lighthouse Ice Cream Cones

Dreamsicle Cupcakes with Lighthouse Ice Cream Cones
Emily Mingledorff, Pie Crust & Pixie Dust

Who doesn't love creamy, citrusy Dreamsicle? These patriotic cupcakes are packed with Dreamsicle flavor and topped with royal icing-decorated ice cream cone "lighthouses." Not only eye-catching, but delicious, you will win the barbecue with your whimsical dessert contribution.

16 of 25

Chocolate-Key Lime Cupcake Pies

Icebox Cheesecake

This cupcake version of a chocolate-key lime pie is an ideal pick-up dessert for entertaining, featuring a crumb crust with chocolate wafers and cream cheese mixture with fresh Key lime juice. The taste here is just a little elevated and your friends will wonder which bakery provided such goodness.

17 of 25

Mini King Cake Cupcakes

Mini King Cake Cupcakes
Jennifer Davick; Prop Styling: Lydia Degaris-Pursell; Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

Mardi Gras made bite-sized. Spiced batter is baked into a yeasty roll-like cupcake that you finish with the quintessential vanilla glaze and tri-colored sprinkles. Everything about this celebratory sweet bite says Mardi Gras. The question is, what will you serve prior to dessert? We've got some ideas.

18 of 25

Lane Cupcakes

Lane Cupcakes
Southern Living

Lane Cake made its first appearance in Southern Living in March 1966, our second issue ever, and we've recreated it over the years with delicious results each time. Instead of fooling with cake layers, these cupcakes are topped with luscious white frosting and a dollop of cake filling. All the taste with less effort.

19 of 25

Lemon Sherbet Cupcakes With Buttercream Frosting

Lemon Sherbet Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
Hector Manuel Sanchez

These citrus treats are too good to keep to yourself. Make an extra batch and bring to a friend for the sweetest surprise, or be sure to raise your hand for dessert when there's party planning afoot. The presentation for the cupcake recipe is decidedly springy, but the taste is right for anytime.

20 of 25

Pineapple Coconut Cupcakes & Buttermilk Cream Cheese Frosting

Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes with Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Frosting
Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

Make birds' nests with malted milk balls and a mouthwatering combination of pineapple and coconut flavors. You might think the easiest match here is Easter, but we love the egg and nest theme for a baby shower, too! This treats make an impression, so be ready to share your cupcake recipe secrets.

21 of 25

Fresh Citrus Cupcakes

Cupcake Recipes: Fresh Citrus Cupcakes
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Sweet citrus flavor is packed into each bite of this orange buttercream-topped cake. These fruity cupcakes are refreshing to serve all spring and summer, but the bright flavors would be so welcome in the depths of winter! Consider whipping up a batch of these tasty morsels anytime to bring a little sunshine into your day.

22 of 25

Gingerbread Muffins

Gingerbread Muffins
Micah A. Leal

There's something about gingerbread that smells like festive home time with loved ones. The use of dark brown sugar and the addition of vegetable oil to the batter make the interior of these muffins extra moist and exceptionally easy to eat. Whether you need help getting in the holiday spirit or you simply want a taste of one of winter's most beloved flavors, our gingerbread muffins will do the trick!

23 of 25

Rainbow Fish Cupcakes

Rainbow Fish Cupcakes
Southern Living

Guests will love the mix of flavors in these cupcakes, especially from the surprisingly sweet strawberry cupcakes, which are way more fun than just a vanilla of chocolate cupcake seen at every birthday party and event. The candy that forms the fish lends color, texture, and surprise. You will find a little sour and a even a little spice with the Hot Tamale fish mouth.

24 of 25

Coconut-Lime Cupcakes

Coconut-Lime Cupcakes
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

These miniature cakes are sensational all on their own, but when crowned with an elegant swirl of coconut-lime frosting, they simply can't be beat. The flavors here will remind you of your favorite tropical destination. When was the last time you took a vacation? Take a bit and remember...

25 of 25

Ambrosia Cupcakes

Ambrosia Cupcakes
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Giulietta Pinna; Food Styling: Ali Ramee

Cake flour makes the crumb in these cupcakes tender, and coconut flour (look for it in the baking aisle) adds extra flavor. If you can't find coconut sugar, use an equal amount of granulated sugar. Garnish these sweet cupcakes with a maraschino cherry and a spiraled orange peel, and you've got the perfect makings for a surprising brunch treat that everyone will enjoy.

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