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Easy Gourmet Cupcake Recipes

Updated on June 20, 2011

cupcakes, cupcake stands, and cupcake supplies

We all love quick and easy recipes, and American recipes are full of them - including some for cupcakes. The lowly cupcake has finally come into its own. Cupcakes are all the rage now, especially gourmet cupcakes. The cupcake, once the typical fare for kids’ birthday parties, is now considered a sophisticated treat for adults - especially the ones that look and taste like they were created in a pastry school. In my humble opinion, this is long overdue. A cupcake is the perfect little dessert. Since they’re pre-measured, you won’t be nearly as tempted to eat too much. And if you’re serving cupcakes to a group, each person can have his or her own personal favorite. You don’t get these options with a full-size cake. In fact, you can make several different varieties of cupcakes in the same batch, if you’re creative!

Below are some easy recipes for gourmet cupcakes. Notice that I said, “easy recipes.” You don't have to be a pastry school pro to make great cupcakes. All of the following use packaged cake mixes, and some even used canned frosting! You can enhance the appearance and jazz up the taste by adding your own fresh, flavorful garnishes.

These would look even better in a pretty cupcake holder!
These would look even better in a pretty cupcake holder!

Cupcake supplies


Getting started with cupcake baking is easy. You’ll need just a few cupcake supplies to begin with. If you find that you really enjoy making and eating your cupcakes, you can add more cupcake supplies later.


All you need in the way of cupcake supplies in order to make your first batch of mini-desserts are cupcake liners, a muffin pan, a measuring cup, a mixing bowl, and measuring spoons. Of course, if you don’t have a mixer and don’t want to wear out your hand, you’ll also need one of those, too.


Easy Gourmet Cupcakes

Mimosa gourmet cupcakes

If you like mimosas – that wonderful combination of champagne and orange juice – you’ll enjoy these cupcakes. The cupcake batter includes champagne, and the frosting is orange-flavored.

What you’ll need:

1 box white cake mix


1 box powdered sugar (16 ounces)

3 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons extra-pulp orange juice

2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

Orange peel twists or mandarin orange segments for garnish

Directions: Mix cake according to package directions, EXCEPT use champagne instead of water. Bake in pan with cupcake liners for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. For frosting, mix next four ingredients together until smooth. I like to keep these in the refrigerator.

Florida sunshine gourmet cupcakes

I enjoyed a slice of Florida sunshine cake on a recent vacation. When I first saw it on the menu at this great seafood restaurant we found, I honestly didn’t think it sounded very good. My daughter, however, wanted to try it, so we did. It was delicious! When I returned home, I thought, “Now why wouldn’t that make a great cupcake?” It did!

What you’ll need:

1 box lemon cake mix

Orange frosting recipe (above)

Garnish with orange slices

Caramel apple gourmet cupcakes

Just one bite of this yummy cupcake will take you back to being on the carnival midway as a child. Who didn’t love caramel apples in the fall? These cupcakes are even better because they won’t pull out your fillings when you sink your teeth into one!

What you’ll need:

1 box yellow cake mix

Apple juice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 can Betty Crocker dulce de leche frosting

One apple, cut in half and sliced thinly

Cinnamon sugar

Directions: Mix cake mix according to directions, EXCEPT use apple juice in place of water. Add spices and bake in pan with cupcake liners. Cool and frost. Top with apple slice and sprinkle cinnamon sugar.

Strawberry cheesecake gourmet cupcakes

It’s amazing how these can be so delicious yet so easy! If you like cheesecake topped with strawberries, you’ll get a similar flavor from this cupcake.

What you’ll need:

1 box strawberry cake mix

1 can cream cheese frosting

½ cup strawberry jam

Whole strawberries for garnish

Directions: Mix cake according to directions and fill cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool.

Mix together jam and frosting. Frost cupcakes.

Garnish each cupcake with a strawberry fan. Slice strawberries thinly from pointed end, almost to stem end. Gently separate slices, spreading them into a “fan.”

Red velvet gourmet cupcakes

This cupcake combines the rich taste of red velvet cake with the creamy flavor of cream cheese, with just a hint of chocolate. This is a super easy recipe that’s great for serving at Christmas or Thanksgiving.

What you’ll need:

1 box red velvet cake mix

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1 can cream cheese frosting

Finely chopped pecans

Directions: Make cake according to directions, mixing in cocoa powder. Fill cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes. Cool.

Frost. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top.

Raspberry lemon gourmet cupcakes

To me, this is a sort of spring-summer cupcake that’s a little lighter than some of the other recipes I’ve listed.

What you’ll need:

1 box lemon cake mix

Raspberry jam

1 can Duncan Hines lemon frosting

Fresh raspberries

Directions: Make cake according to directions. Fill cupcake liners a little less than half full and add a teaspoon of raspberry jam to each cupcake. Fill cupcake liners with remaining batter and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool.

Frost with lemon frosting and top with fresh raspberries.

Rum raisin gourmet cupcakes

Rum and raisins and cream cheese, oh my! If Auntie Em had made this cupcake, Dorothy would never have run away from home.

What you’ll need:

1 box Duncan Hines spice cake mix

1 cup raisins

½ cup dark rum

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon dark rum

Directions: Soak raisins in rum until plumped. Mix cake according to directions on box. Thoroughly drain raisins and add to cake batter. Bake in cupcake liners for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.

Mix together remaining ingredients for frosting. Frost cupcakes and garnish with a few raisins.

Pina colada gourmet cupcakes

This is a perfect cupcake for nibbling by the pool or on the beach on a hot summer day. Just close your eyes, and you can almost smell the warm Hawaiian breezes and hear the hula dance as the flavors of pineapple and coconut caress your taste buds.

What you’ll need:

1 box Duncan Hines coconut cake mix

8 ounces Cool Whip

15.5-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice

1 package instant vanilla pudding

Canned refrigerated whipped cream

Maraschino cherries

Directions: Make cupcakes according to directions. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees and cool. Mix together next three ingredients and frost cupcakes. Top with a swirl of whipped cream and a cherry. These cupcakes are best when stored in the fridge.

Black forest gourmet cupcakes

This decadent cupcake brings to mind dining in four-star restaurants and raiding the dessert cart! This is cupcake decadence at its best.

What you’ll need:

1 box dark chocolate cake mix

21-ounce can cherry pie filling

16 ounces Cool Whip

One tablespoon Kirsch

Chocalate shavings

Directions: Mix cake according to directions. Fill cupcake liners about 1/3 full. Add a teaspoon of cherry pie filling, then add remaining cake batter to cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Blend together Cool Whip and Kirsch and place in pastry bag. When cupcakes are cool, frost. Pipe extra frosting around cupcake edges and fill with remaining pie filling. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.


A cupcake stand is a must for cupcake bakers!
A cupcake stand is a must for cupcake bakers!

Cupcake stands - cupcake holders

If you’re going to be making cupcakes, you’ll need some cupcake stands, right? How else will you display and serve your beautiful creations but on a nice cupcake stand? A cupcake stand or cupcake holder is the perfect tool for holding your little desserts for parties, dinners, luncheons, or any type of get-together. You can make several different kinds of cupcakes and place them in the cupcake stands or cupcake holders, and your guests can choose the flavor they like.

Most cupcake stands are tiered. Some are in graduated pyramid shapes, while others aren’t. Most cupcake stands are round, but square ones are also available. There’s also the asymmetrical cupcake holder, as well as the popular tower cupcake holder.

Have some fun! Bake up a batch or two of these easy gourmet cupcakes and show them off in an attractive cupcake stand. Your friends and family will think you're a pastry school grad, and they'll be very appreciative. Your cupcake stand will be empty in no time!



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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      foolishness !! :P

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Jene, don't eat too many! lol

      You're very welcome, Cheryl!

      Hi, Kristen! Good to see you!

      Deb, how was your Christmas? Ours was wonderful!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Julie, put that mixer to good work, girlfriend!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      HH, always good to hear from you!

      Ocean, cupcakes are the perfect little desserts!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Kookoo, they're delish!

      Brush, thanks for visiting!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Paper, you're very welcome!

      Anglnwu, hope your daughter-in-law likes the gourmet cupcakes!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Glad to have you, Melinda!

      bpop, I need to come up with some breakfast cupcakes for you! lol

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      7 years ago

      Habee, Yummy! Great recipes for tasty cupcakes! Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • KristenGrace profile image


      7 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Yup, as a Kindergarten teacher, I can definitely agree that more and more kids (or, perhaps rather, their parents) are leaning towards cupcakes these days over the "traditional" cake... Very informative and useful tips and supplies here!

    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 

      7 years ago from Houston, TX

      Yum Yum. Thanks for the delicious recipes.

    • jenesmith01 profile image


      7 years ago from North Texas

      omg i love making cupcakes and these recipes are amazing. i can't wait to try them. thanks for sharing

    • Julie2 profile image


      7 years ago from New York City

      OMG habee, those cupcakes look delicious! I am going to try one of your recipes. My husband got me the KitchenAid mixer you have advertised for Christmas. It is the dream mixer... I am in love! LOL

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Fun ideas for sure! Who doesn't love a gourmet cupcake? Thanks for sharing Habee.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Great recipes and so many. Thank you for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i will make these one day insha Allah.

    • kookoo88 profile image


      7 years ago from Cripple Creek

      The Florida sunshine cupcakes sound really good. :)

    • anglnwu profile image


      7 years ago

      My daughter is a great fan of cupcakes--she makes her own but I won't. I believe part of the fun of making cupcakes is decorating them. Thanks for the variety of cupcakes. Wait till I tell her! Rating it up.

    • PaperNotes profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow! Thanks for these recipes!

    • breakfastpop profile image


      7 years ago

      Love these recipes. I love donuts and prefer them to one big cake.

    • msorensson profile image


      7 years ago

      Always a winner, especially for moms with young children!! I won't be trying this very soon but I enjoyed reading the hub, Halle!!


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