Mardi Gras Cupcakes

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How could we almost have forgotten Mardi Gras?  It’s less than a week away!

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, arose from the tradition of eating fatty foods the day before the start of the Lenten fasting prior to Easter.  Growing up, my mom made doughnuts from scratch every year on Fat Tuesday.  We would wake up early in the morning to the smell of deep fried dough.  Nothing else like it, but these colorful Mardi Gras cupcakes come close! These cupcakes have Madagascar vanilla beans, buttermilk and some added sour cream for flavor.  There is nothing basic about the flavor of these bad boys!

We found these on javacupcake and think these colorful cupcakes certainly say Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield:  2 dozen cupcakes


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • the seeds of 2 Madagascar vanilla beans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups Buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Green, Purple and Yellow food coloring gel (I used Wilton brand)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pans with white liners.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes.
  3. While that is creaming, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the buttermilk, vanilla beans, vanilla extract and sour cream. Whisk until combined. It will look lumpy, which is okay.
  5. Add the wet mixture to the butter/sugar and mix on medium speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is incorporated. NOTE: It will look curdled. DO NOT FRET! It will smooth out once you add the flour.
  6. Add all the flour at once and mix on low to medium speed until smooth. Don’t over mix!!
  7. Separate batter evenly into three bowls.
  8. Add food coloring and mix until uniform in color.
  9. Using a tablespoon, scoop one color into the liner against one edge. Quickly, scoop the second color next to/overlapping the first color. Finally, add the third color. NOTE: By the time you get to scooping the third color, you should still be able to see a 1/3 of the bottom of the liner.
  10. Add another smaller scoop of each color until the liners are 1/2-2/3 full. NOTE: Do not fill these more than 2/3 full. They puff up nicely and you don’t want overflow!
  11. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate pan after 12 minutes.
  12. Cool in pans for 7-8 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt
  • green, purple and yellow sprinkles
  • Rolo candies
  • Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups


  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. 1/4lb at a time, add the powdered sugar. After the first addition, add the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Beat until smooth.
  3. After the next additions of powdered sugar, add whipping cream and beat on high until smooth. After the last addition of sugar, add enough cream until you get your desired consistency.
  4. Add the pinch of salt and beat on high for 5 minutes.

How to Assemble Mardi Gras Cupcakes


  • Baked & cooled Mardi Gras cupcakes
  • Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting
  • green, purple and yellow sprinkles and rainbow jimmies
  • Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups
  • piping bag with star tip
  • purple food coloring gel


  1. Reserve 1/2 cup of frosting and tint with purple food coloring gel. Put it in a piping bag with a small star tip. Set aside.
  2. Using the white frosting and a large star tip, pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. Embellish with sprinkles and jimmies.
  3. Put a swirl of the purple frosting on top of the Reese’s peanut butter cups and embellish with sprinkles and jimmies. (You want it to look like a mini cupcake.)
  4. Place a peanut butter cup on top of each cupcake, off center.

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