MidKnight Snacks: confetti cupcakes

Nostalgic confetti cake topped with cream cheese frosting

Juno Le, Online Managing Editor

RHSToday surpassing 100 days of publishing calls for a celebration. That’s why I decided to try out a confetti cake recipe by American Pastry Chef Claire Saffitz from her recipe book, Dessert Person, topping it off with her cream cheese frosting recipe from the same book. I’ve watched Saffitz bake on the Bon Appétit YouTube channel before and her recipes are always delicious and fun, so I had no worries before making this.

Saffitz uses a technique called “reverse creaming” where she mixes fat and liquids directly into the dry ingredients. This results in a flatter bake and a uniform crumb, aiming for the Pillsbury box mix cake texture and nostalgia.


For the cake:

  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/3 cups of neutral oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup store-bought rainbow sprinkles, plus more for decorating

For the frosting:

  • 2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 lb full-fat cream cheese (I used Philadelphia), at room temperature
  • Generous pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 lb powdered sugar, sifted
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Prepare a cupcake pan lined with baking cups and preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda) and sugar. Mix on the lowest speed using the paddle attachment just until everything’s well incorporated. (Note: you may want to find something to cover your mixer because the flour WILL get everywhere)
  3. Add the butter, oil and buttermilk and beat on low until the flour is moistened. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once, for about a minute until the mixture is completely smooth. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  4. In a separate bowl, thoroughly beat together the eggs, egg whites, vanilla and almond extract (if using) until no streaks remain.
  5. Set the mixer to medium-low and add the egg mixture to the flour mixture in two additions, beating well.
  6. Increase the speed to medium and continue to beat for another 2 minutes until the batter is light and thick.
  7. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in your sprinkles (I added in an extra tablespoon just for fun) until they are distributed evenly. Don’t over mix or else the color will start to bleed.
  8. Fill in each cupcake liner about 3/4 of the way and bake in the oven for 16-18 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before frosting and decorating.
  9. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter and cream cheese on medium-high until the mixture is completely smooth. Be sure to scrape the sides occasionally so that it’s thoroughly mixed.
  10. Add the salt and about 1/3 of the powdered sugar (to reduce spillage) into the butter and cream cheese mixture.
  11. Pulse the mixer on low until the sugar is incorporated and repeat 2 more times, adding 1/3 of the powdered sugar each time.
  12. Once the sugar has been incorporated, beat the frosting on medium-high for about a minute, scraping down the sides at least once, until the frosting is light, thick and smooth.
  13. Beat in the vanilla and the frosting is ready for use.

As someone who is no Great British Bake Off champion, I was hoping this recipe wouldn’t be too challenging. Thankfully, Saffitz has a YouTube video demonstrating the recipe. The “reverse creaming” technique was actually incredibly simple and I will probably be using it in future cakes. My kitchen got very messy while I made this, so I highly suggest covering the mixing bowl with a towel or some sort of cover when beating the flour and powdered sugar. The recipe does make around 40 cupcakes, so reduce the ingredients to your desire.