When you love a certain food, you can’t help but ponder if there’s a way to make it even better. For example, french toast is pretty delicious, right? Golden, buttery bread gets dredged in batter, fried to perfection, then dusted with cinnamon and drizzled with syrup. It’s basically breakfast perfection. Could we possibly make it any better?
Yes. We can stuff all of its deliciousness into a cupcake.
These French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream Frosting and a Maple-Cinnamon Drizzle are an exemplary case of food fusion gone right. We take a classic breakfast and morph it into a favorite handheld dessert to create a treat that is out of this world. Is it breakfast or dessert? My instincts tell me it’s both, and I don’t like to argue with my instincts (especially when there’s food involved).
Now, would you believe this is the first cupcake recipe to pop up on Smart Cookie? That’s kind of crazy to consider, seeing as I was known as “The Cupcake Queen” in high school (true story). This site is more than overdue for a cupcake recipe, and I am happy to oblige. We might as well kick off this cupcake debut with a bang!
When you sink your teeth into one of these delicious devils, you will be baffled, confused, disoriented even. Why is this so? Because these cupcakes taste exactly like french toast, which is going to throw your brain for a loop. However, once you get past the initial befuddlement from trying to decipher if what you’re eating is actually a cupcake or french toast, you will proceed to a state of breakfast-flavored bliss. The cupcake is fluffy and moist, swirled with a cinnamon struesel for an extra punch of french toast flavor. Then, the mound of frosting that crowns each cupcake is so smooth and luscious with maple flavor permeating every melt-in-your-mouth bite. The finishing touch to all this indulgence is a sinful maple-cinnamon drizzle that mimics the final drenching of syrup that french toast receives.
Intimidated by this three-part baked good? Don’t be. It’s simpler than it sounds and can be broken down into three easy steps: the cupcakes, the frosting, and the drizzle. Make the cupcakes one day then make the frosting and drizzle the next, if you like. I’ve whipped up a video to show you just how doable these French Toast Cupcakes are. Don’t wait a moment longer to take these cupcake cuties from a dream to a delicious reality.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- Watch the video below for all my best tips and tricks.
- You can make these cupcakes without frosting and dub them as muffins instead. Feel free to add a bit of extra streusel if you decide to do so!
- Can’t find cinnamon chips? You can just do a drizzle of plain syrup instead, but it won’t be quite as thick.
- Piping requires more frosting than just spreading it on, so you will need to double the frosting recipe below.
- I used imitation maple extract. If you use the real deal, the measurements may not be the same because it may be stronger. I can’t say for sure because I’ve only ever used imitation.
- You can skip the drizzle if you want, but it makes the cupcakes prettier and adds an extra touch of flavor.
French Toast Cupcakes w/ Maple Buttercream and Maple-Cinnamon Drizzle
For the Cupcakes:
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 4 cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons imitation maple extract
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
- For the struesel swirl:
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon imitation maple extract
For the Maple Buttercream:
Note: Double if piping the frosting!
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 teaspoons (1 tbsp. + 2 tsp.) imitation maple extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
For the Maple-Cinnamon Drizzle:
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup cinnamon chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Make the Cupcakes: Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and maple extract. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated and batter is free of lumps.
- In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple extract until well combined. Set aside.
- Using a ladle or ice cream scoop, pour batter into each lined muffin cup (2/3-3/4 full). Then crumble a generous teaspoon of the brown sugar mixture on top of each cupcake. Use a butter knife to swirl it in gently, but do not over mix it.
- Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes then carefully remove cupcakes from trays and transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
- Make the Maple Buttercream (NOTE: you will need to make a double batch if you’re piping on the frosting): In a standing mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until nice and fluffy.
- Add vanilla, maple extract, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream or powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired consistency.
- Make the Maple-Cinnamon Drizzle: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together syrup and cinnamon chips, whisking constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly while you frost the cupcakes.
- Pipe on the frosting using a piping bag or fill a large ziplock bag with frosting and cut off the bottom corner to create a makeshift pastry bag. You can also just spread the icing on with a knife; up to you!
- When Maple Drizzle is room temperature, pour into a plastic condiment dispenser and drizzle over cupcakes. If you don’t have a plastic condiment dispenser, then a fork works just as well.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, letting the cupcakes come to room temperature before eating. Enjoy!