We love cupcakes, but what really makes or breaks a cupcake is the cake batter. Cupcakes are delicious, portable, and the perfect size for little kids’ hands. But if you’re tired of the same old cupcake recipe, have we got a trick for you. Take this basic batter and change it up to make 10 different (and amazing) flavors. One cake batter, 10 ways. You can’t beat that!

One Cake Batter - Ten Different Cakes

One Cake Batter, 10 Ways

With all of the “just add water” boxes of cake batter in the stores it’s hard to imagine baking a cake from scratch these days. But, sometimes the box mix just won’t do. Your kids want something specific. They’re allergic to gluten, or don’t like chocolate (this week).  Whatever the case is, with this easy-to-make batter– you’ll wonder why you haven’t always been making your cupcakes from scratch!

Here’s the basic batter recipe to start your cupcakes off right. With a few ingredients and a few measuring cups, you’ll be well on your way to a delicious celebration in no time. I’m warning you, It’s yummy!

Cake Batter Recipe for Cupcakes:

It’s almost as easy to make a cake from scratch as it is to make a cake from a box. There are more ingredients, especially if you get creative and add your own twist. But, that’s what’s so exciting. Endless possibilities. Use this cake batter recipe to get you started.  Note: It asks for sour cream, but you can replace that with greek yogurt, we usually do!

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk

For full baking instructions, go here.

The three main ways to adapt a cake batter is, recipe additions (like adding fruit or candy bits to the batter before baking), fillings (piping a flavor into a baked cupcake), or frostings.

All of the adaptations below cover these variation ideas.


cake batter variations

Once you have your cake batter made, here are some fun variations to try.:

1. Marshmallow Goodness

Love a sweet and gooey surprise? Marshmallows are easy to go overboard with. These delicious melted give you a campfire feel from the comfort of your home. Stick a marshmallow in the center of your batter before baking. A super simple tip for a slightly different taste. Kids will love it, and you won’t go crazy in the process.

Add to the fun by first melting the marshmallow and mixing in rice crispy treats and butter. Great taste, with a crunch. I love a play on food texture

2. Orange Cupcakes

Take your same base mix and instead of using cupcake liners, use citrus rind peels!  You’ll love the light, citrusy, and oh-so-good, these cupcakes are perfect for any time of the year. Check out this short video!

3. Peanut Butter Lovers

Another genius cake batter idea for simple, yet delicious treats. Not the best baker?  No problem! Add a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to the center and top with peanut butter frosting. The perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter goodness. Easy peasy!

Make Easy Peanut Butter Frosting

Want more things to do with chocolate cake mix? Put more chocolate on top of It! Nothing is better than chocolate, on chocolate. This yummy peanut frosting allows you to do just that. It’s rich and chocolaty, and everyone will love it!

Recipe for Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use all-natural here)
  • 3 1/2- 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used non-fat), plus an additional 1-2 tbsp if needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

*add the powdered sugar to your mixer last and mix to the right consistency. If it’s too thick, add additional milk. Yum!

4. Peanut Butter-Banana Cake Batter

If you’re a banana bread lover, you’re in for a real treat. Mash a few bananas in the batter and you’ll have a softer textured cupcake with delicious chocolate and peanut butter richness. Think banana bread, but better! These are popular in our house! We’ve got some real banana lovers.

There are many ways you can add bananas to your cakes or cupcakes if your family is as crazy about them as mine are. If you want to get really fancy, add this filling to your cupcakes after you bake. You won’t be sorry.

5.  Banana Cream Cake Batter Custard Filling

The filling is arguably the peanut butter to a cupcake’s jelly. The best cupcakes have them, and it’s the perfect balance to the bready dessert. A really simple way to switch up a batter is to play with different fillings. This banana cream custard filling is so good and very easy to make.

Recipe for Banana Cream Custard:

  • 1 ½ banana, sliced
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • ½ cup +2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

*Simply core out the center of your cupcake and add a spoonful of the custard and then frost with the Easy Peanut Butter Frosting. So yummy!

Cake battery variations

6. Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

Strawberry Frosting! It’s a treat in itself. Adding strawberries to chocolate creates the perfect chocolate cake mix hack. Take this to the next level by adding a strawberry dipped in chocolate on top. It really doesn’t get any better than this. This recipe is perfect for a summer dinner party dessert, mother’s day treats, or just for fun activities with your kids.

7. Simply Delicious Strawberry Frosting

Now that you have Chocolate strawberry cupcakes you can spice things up a little more by adding a strawberry frosting. With a few simple instructions and basic ingredients, you’ll have a chocolate cake with strawberry frosting in no time.

OR!!!  Create your same base and instead of making it Chocolate, mix strawberries right into the batter for Strawberry cream cupcakes – in either version chocolate or cream, you’ll want the strawberry frosting below!!

Recipes for strawberry frosting:

  • 1 pkg. (1.2 oz) of freeze-dried strawberries, I get mine from Trader Joe’s
  • 1 C. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tsp. lemon juice, or milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3-4 C. powdered sugar

*Directions here.

8. Cream Cheese Frosting

Who doesn’t love Cream Cheese Frosting? It’s the best. Thick and creamy with the perfect amount of sugar. Garnish with a favorite fruit, or decorate with sprinkles. It’s the simplicity for me.  A single raspberry makes all the difference in this dish. The best part is that there is no need to thicken this frosting up.

9. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

It’s not as exciting as peanut butter and chocolate, but it’s just as tasty. My kids enjoy the sugar rush of peanut butter and chocolate, but they are also pickier than ever. Need cupcakes for the school’s bake sale or a memorable moment for a special birthday, but you’re short on time and not sure if your kids eat chocolate today? First, create the cake batter – add extra vanilla or if you have vanilla beans, even add a quarter teaspoon of vanilla caviar to your batter – and bake.  Then, make this vanilla cream cheese frosting.  If you are crazy like us, add another quarter teaspoon of vanilla caviar to your frosting!!

If you are wondering what vanilla caviar is, not sure if that is its official phrase or not, but that is what we call the guts of the inside of our vanilla beans after we’ve soaked them to create our own vanilla extract – it is YUM!!!!

*pro tip: buy candies, sprinkles, and small chocolates to decorate the top of the cake with to give the kids options. Can also turn it into a fun project and make it a DIY cupcake decorating activity.

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:

  •  ½ cup (1 stick/8 Tablespoon) unsalted butter (set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (directly from the fridge)
  •  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  •  1 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds)

10. Whipped Nutella Frosting

Hazelnut makes everything just a little better. This hazelnut chocolate spread is no different. Try this frosting if you love Nutella. Nutella cupcakes are a special thing. Adults and kids alike will go crazy for this flavor. You can mix and match this with a chocolate cake batter, banana custard, or use it with the original recipe. No matter what you do with it, it’s going to taste amazing.

And then, Nutella. I don’t think I need to say more.

Nutella Frosting Recipe

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons Nutella

*Directions here.

Bonus: Cake Batter Hacks

Traditional Buttercream Frosting:

Classic. A classic buttercream frosting is a cake batter’s staple. Top your cupcake with bright, colorful buttercream. Dig deep to prop up the cupcake topper. An instant signature cake that your family and friends will love! Birthday parties or work celebrations? It doesn’t matter.  You can’t go wrong with buttercream. After all, it’s a classic for a reason.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4½ to 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk, I prefer heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Best Cake batter ideas:

Changing a few cake batter ingredients and adding your favorite flavors. Yum! Turning your dessert into a cake batter experience, double yum! When there’s a celebration and you want to do something special, frosting can go a long way, as you know.

Cake Lover??  Here are More Baking Tips

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