Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside!

filed under: Surprise Inside Cakes on July 25, 2013

Hi everyone! I’m Rachel from Rachel Cooks.

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.

Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside!

Anyways, my blog is all about family friendly cooking. I focus on easy to prepare meals that the whole family will love. Because not everyone is a super mom like Amanda.

I feature everything from dinners for the slow cooker to salads, snacks and desserts. I’m also all about balance. I’m not a vegan (how do people live without cheese?). I’m not gluten-free. I don’t buy ALL organic and local (gasp!). But, I do my best.Don’t we all?

I try to use mostly whole grains but come on…what’s a cupcake with whole wheat flour going to taste like? I try to not use too much butter…but…umm…hello! I NEED butter for my popcorn.

Vanilla Cupcakes with a Surprise Inside!

You get the point. I enjoy food — all of it. Especially the fun hidden surprise in these cupcakes. My 2-year-old daughter loved these as well, but whats not to love about cupcakes, buttercream and M&Ms? If you serve them at a party, all your guests will be so surprised when the bite into these.

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!)

Vanilla Cupcakes (With a Surprise Inside!)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Vanilla Cupcakes
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Jen
  • makes 12 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter softened
  • 1 and 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs plus one egg yolk
  • 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c milk
For the Filling
  • 1/3 c mini M&Ms
For the Frosting
  • 1/3 c unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • sprinkles optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 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, or about 5 minutes.

  3. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. 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 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 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.


(Every recipe I share on my site is followed by “Verdict, Husband’s take, Changes I would make, and Difficulty” to give you a little more information about the recipe, I’ll do the same here!)

Verdict: Simple to make and fun to eat! Win-win.
Husband’s take: He loved these! Again, whats not to love?
Changes I would make: None are necessary but you could experiment with different types of candy in there 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

I’d love for you to stop by Rachel Cooks and say hi some time! You can also find me on Twitter,Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. Or you can subscribe to my emails and never miss a recipe!

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


Isnt Rachel amazing?  She is an inspiration to me and so many others.  Thank you so much sweety!  This recipe is so fun!

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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!

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