Cinna-Swirl Sticky Bun Cupcakes

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I do believe 3 Boys Unprocessed has made me hungry for a Cinnabon in all it’s gooey goodness.  But sadly, I am not in an airport or near a Cinnabon store so perhaps I just need to make these delicious cupcakes instead.  I’m thinking they might just be better than Cinnabon (shhh…..) with molasses in the cupcake swirl and cream cheese in the icing.  See?  You want them, too, don’t you?

Cinna-Swirl Sticky Bun Cupcakes


  • 1 and 2/3 cups whole wheat white flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar I used organic sugar and 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk I used whole
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon for swirl
  • 1 tsp molasses I used unsulphered molasses, for swirl
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract for swirl
  • 1 (8 ounce) package full fat cream cheese for icing, softened
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter for icing, softened
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup for icing
  • 4 Tbsp tapioca starch for icing
  • 1/2 pod vanilla bean for icing, or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pecans whole, for topping


  1. For Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 12 cupcake tins. Mix dry ingredients, followed by wet ingredients (in separate bowls). Do not mix cinnamon, vanilla, or molasses for swirl in yet. Sprinkle dry over wet, and stir just to combine.
  2. Divide batter in half. Mix cinnamon, molasses, and vanilla in half of the batter. To swirl, fill cupcake tin with 1/2 of each batter, then use a tooth pick to swirl. Bake for 17-18 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
  3. For icing: Beat softened cream cheese and butter until very smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl numerous times to ensure all lumps are out of cream cheese. Add maple syrup and vanilla, followed by tapioca starch. Beat until smooth. Pipe icing with Ateco tip #825 to create the look above.
  4. For Pecan Topping (optional): Mix pecans and 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup and 1 Tbsp water over medium heat on the stove. When water dissolves sprinkle with cinnamon.

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