Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside!

filed under: Surprise Inside Cakes on July 25, 2013

Hi everyone! I’m Rachel! I’m so excited/honored/nervous/thrilled/intimidated to be filling in for Amanda today. I mean…how insanely talented is she? And she does it all with five kids. Whaaaaaaa? I can barely hold things together and I only have two children. But, I was able to hold it together long enough to give these Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside a try. Amanda has a lot of yummy cupcake recipes, so be sure to try ones like her Vanilla Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting!

Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside

When thinking of Amanda and what I wanted to share on her site, I immediately thought of her “surprise inside” cakes (and her upcoming book) which are amazing, gorgeous and so creative. I was inspired by her creativity and pushed to come up with my own “surprise inside” creation. These vanilla cupcakes are a cinch to make (if I can do it, you can do it!) and they are so, so fun!

Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside!

Not everybody loves surprises, but there is nothing not to love about these Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside. Plus, they are easier to make than you might think! What’s not to love about cupcakes, buttercream, and M&Ms? If you serve them at a party, all your guests will be so surprised (in a good way) when they bite into these.

Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside!

Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside Recipe

There are three parts to this fun and yummy treat–the vanilla cupcakes, the candy surprise, and the frosting. I used M&M’s for my surprise inside, but you could always experiment with other kinds of candy!

Cupcakes Ingredients (full recipe below)

  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs (one egg using just the yolk)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Milk


  • Mini M&M’s (or any candy you choose)

Frosting Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Milk
  • Sprinkles


Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside!

How to Make Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside

The first thing you have to make is the vanilla cupcakes. When you get to incorporating the eggs, add one egg at a time and only use the yolk of the third egg. Alternate between adding the flour and the milk and mix everything together on low.

After the batter has been made, use cupcake liners to line a cupcake tin. Fill each liner about 3/4 of the way full. Bake the cupcakes for 16-18 minutes at 350°F, or until a toothpick pulls out with a few crumbs on it, but not wet batter. Let the cupcakes cool before you go on to the next step of filling them with the candy (the surprise). While the cupcakes are cooling would be a good time to make the frosting. To make the frosting, simply use an electronic mixer to cream all the ingredients together until it is soft and fluffy.

Assembling the Cupcakes

After the cupcakes have cooled and the frosting made, make a hole in each cupcake. You could use a cupcake corer or a sharp knife to make the holes. Fill each hole with the M&M’s and top each cupcake with the frosting. Add some sprinkles to really make them fun! Serve the cupcakes immediately since the M&M’s absorb some of the moisture, thus losing some crunchiness. You could always make the cupcakes the day before and put in the candy immediately before serving them. I was super happy with how they turned out!

Vanilla Cupcakes (with a surprise inside!)

Verdict: Simple to make and fun to eat! Win-win.
Husband’s take: He loved these! Again, what’s not to love?
Changes I would make: None are necessary but you could experiment with different types of candy in the cupcakes. Also, if you’re new to baking you could definitely use a boxed mix and premade frosting if you wanted to really throw these together quickly.
Difficulty: Easy!

Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside

Thanks for having me, Amanda…and thanks for inspiring me to create this fun recipe!

Looking for More Cupcake Recipes?

Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes (With a Surprise Inside!)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins

Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside will be a treat and surprise that everyone will love!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vanilla Cupcakes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 389 kcal
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups (267g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, using only the yolk of one egg
  • 1 1/3 cups (167g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (184g) milk
  • 1/3 cup mini M&Ms
  • 1/3 cup (76g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (375g) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • sprinkles, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment on medium-high speed, cream together butter, sugar, salt, baking powder and vanilla until fluffy and light colored (about 5 minutes).

  3. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated (adding only the yolk of the third egg). Scrape down sides as needed.

  4. With the mixer on low, add one third of the flour, then half the milk, then another third of the flour, the rest of the milk and finally the remaining flour. Scrape down sides as needed.

  5. Pour into a cupcake tin with cupcake liners. Each liner should be about 3/4 full of batter.
  6. Bake cupcakes for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool cupcakes completely before moving on to the next steps.

  8. When cupcakes have cooled, hollow out a small hole in the center (using a cupcake corer or a small sharp knife). Fill each hole with mini M&Ms.

  9. Prepare frosting by using an electric mixer to cream together all frosting ingredients until smooth and fluffy. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, decorate with sprinkles if desired, and serve immediately.

  10. Note: Serving immediately is recommended because the M&M’s soak up some moisture and lose their crunch after being inside of the cupcakes. Feel free to make cupcakes a day ahead and fill and frost immediately before serving.

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  • Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies says:

    Such a cute idea, Rachel! These would totally work as gender reveal cupcakes too, if someone were willing to sort the m&ms by color. 😉 Nice to see you over here. I can’t wait to see Amanda’s book.

    • Amanda says:

      Great idea Amber!! Its like you have baby on the brain for some reason… 😉

  • Kailley @ Kailley's Kitchen says:

    How cute!!! They sound wonderful!

  • Rachel Cooks says:

    Thanks again for having me, Amanda! So honored. xo

  • Angie | Big Bear's Wife says:

    ahh haha what a great idea, Rachel! How fun would it be to bite into the cupcakes and get an M&M surprise! love it

  • HeatherChristo says:

    These are SO CUTE! What a great idea! I feel like this would be a very fun surprise for my little ones!

  • Samantha @FerraroKitchen says:

    Love Rachel so came on over! Surprises in cupcakes are the best…how come bakeries don’t do that?

  • Becca from says:

    OMGosh! How adorable and fun, Rachel! I’m sitting here imagining biting into a soft cupcake when a big pile of chocolate comes rolling out. Wheeeeee!

  • Sues says:

    What a cute (and delicious!) surprise! I just did something similar with a PB Cup, but m&ms are so much prettier!


  • USA Kiwi (Kylee) says:

    I was just thinking this would be cute gender reveal!

  • Zainab| Blahnik Baker says:

    These are very adorable and a great idea!! Glad to see you here Rachel!

  • cassie says:

    M&M’s inside is brilliant. These are so fun!

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch says:

    Soooo cute!!!! My little boy would love these!!!

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    Haha that’s a cute surprise.

  • Kristy says:

    Now I really want one!! Those look great!

  • Barbara C says:

    Do the M&M’s fall out when you take a bite? This looks like lots of fun. Everything is better with chocolate!

    • Rachel Cooks says:

      Only a little bit! 🙂 And I agree, everything is better with chocolate! These would be great with chocolate cupcakes and chocolate buttercream too. 😉

  • Aya B. says:

    This cupcake looks really delicious and fluffy
    I will try it surely

  • Karen @ Lemon Grove Cake Diaries says:

    What a cute idea – I love these!

  • Victoria Bakes says:

    what an awesome cupcake

  • Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective says:

    Fun!! I’m sure my kiddos would love these too!

  • stephanie says:

    Ohhh! My kids would love jelly beans for Easter or Candy corn for Halloween. Hmmm, cinnamon hearts for Valentines?! This is such a good idea, Rachel, especially with all the different M&M flavors/colors available.

  • Tracy | Pale Yellow says:

    Great guest post! I love the idea of a simple cupcake with a little treat inside. So fun and creative!

  • Vera Zecevic – Cupcakes Garden says:

    I’ve featured these adorable cupcakes my blog, hoping that you don’t mind, but if you do, please contact me and I’ll remove it. All the best.

  • FightForTheBite says:

    Wow-these cupcakes look delicious! And what a great surprise inside!

  • Bruno Pinna says:

    wooow i love it, are amazing
    i ll make im my business
    so good, thank you

  • Rachel says:

    Do you think I could make these into jumbo cupcakes?