An easy box-mix cupcake recipe that’s a cross between a whoopee pie and a french vanilla brownie.
What do you get when you combine a French Vanilla Cake mix, a Chocolate Brownie mix and a tub of French Vanilla icing? Chewy, fudgey, incredibly delicious French Vanilla Brownie Cupcakes. You can’t call it baking “from scratch” by any means, but when you bite into one of these babies, you’re not going to care because they’re SO freaking good!
This french vanilla-brownie combo is fudgey and chewy like a good brownie should be, but you bake it like you would a batch of cupcakes. With a generous layer of french vanilla icing sandwiched in the middle, they taste a whole lot like a whoopee pie – a fudgey, french vanilla whoopee pie that is! Mmmmm!
I’m going to be honest and tell you that these amazing cupcakes were a complete accident; a very happy accident. Don’t you love it when things go wrong in the kitchen and then end up being so right? Let me explain:
I always keep a brownie mix on hand in case I need to make this amazing (and easy) black forest trifle. Well, one day last week I thought it would be nice to surprise my boys with a batch of brownies. I grabbed the boxed brownie mix from the cupboard, read the directions, and dumped the required ingredients into a bowl, BUT instead of adding 1/4 cup of water, I added 1 FULL CUP!
I realized I’d messed up as soon as I started to stir the batter. Basically it was like soup. I was so bummed! Here I thought we were going to enjoy a bit of “home-baking”, and I had ruined the recipe within seconds of starting.
So I’m standing there thinking “Oh man… how can I possibly fix this mess?” And then it hits me. What if I add a cake mix to this chocolate soup to thicken it up? I always have one on hand because a boxed cake mix is the main ingredient in this incredibly easy coffee cake, an all-time favourite around here.
And so, I took a chance and added the cake mix and another egg for good measure, and I’m thrilled to say the results were fabulous! A new family favourite was born!
To make my French Vanilla Brownie Cupcakes, you’ll need:
- 1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla cake mix
- 1 box Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Chunk Brownie mix
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup water 1/4 cup oil
- Betty Crocker French Vanilla Creamy Deluxe Frosting
To make your cupcakes:
Grab a good sized bowl, and combine all ingredients except the frosting. Mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined (about 50 stirs). Don’t use your electric beaters for this step – you’ll over-beat the batter. There will be some lumps, and that’s ok. Just make sure the largest lumps of cake mix get crushed and mixed in.
Scoop or pour your batter into a lightly greased muffin tin, filling the wells about 2/3 full. Here’s a shot of how full mine were. The little lump you see is a chocolate chunk from the brownie mix. Don’t mess with those.
Bake your cupcakes at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Do the toothpick test at the 25 minute mark. If necessary, cook a little longer, until the toothpick comes out clean.
Remove your cupcakes from the oven, and let them cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes until the tops feel stable enough to work with. Mmmmm… don’t they look good already?
Now you’re going to remove those tops:
Sliding a knife along the surface of the muffing tin, slice off the tops of the cupcakes.
Pop the cupcake bottoms out of the pan, and place everything on a baking rack to cool.
As they cool, the brownie component in the recipe is going to take on that slightly crunchy-on-the-outside quality that a brownie should have, so don’t be alarmed if these don’t feel soft and fluffy like a regular cupcake would. The inside will be soft and moist, but the will be lovely and chewy – just like the perfect brownie.
Time for the frosting!
If you have a favourite homemade frosting recipe, go ahead and use it, just make sure it’s nice and thick so it can support the cupcake tops. You don’t want a thin, runny frosting that oozes out the sides of your cupcakes.
Frosting isn’t my forte, so I prefer to use Betty Crocker’s. She makes a wicked frosting, and I am A-OK using hers.
Frost the under-side of the cupcake tops with a generous of frosting and sandwich it onto a cupcake bottom.
That’s a little bite of heaven right there, folks!
Storing your brownie cupcakes:
For best results, when storing your cupcakes (if they last long enough to need storing!), place them in a container with the lid slightly ajar. This will keep prevent the muffin tops from becoming too moist, and losing their crispy, chewy quality.
And HOORAY! I’ve figured out how to put my recipes into a printable format for you! I’ll be updating all the other recipes on my blog so you can print those too!
- Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix
- Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Chunky Brownie Mix
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 eggs whisked
- Tub of Betty Crocker French Vanilla Creamy Deluxe Frosting
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the frosting.
Stir (about 50 times) with a wooden spoon until batter is mixed, and large lumps are broken up.
Scoop batter into a lightly greased muffin tin, filling muffin wells about 2/3 full
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in pan until cupcake tops become firm
Slide knife along the surface of the muffin to remove cupcake tops.
Remove cupcake bottoms from muffin tin, and allow all to cool completely
Once cool, sandwich a generous dollop of frosting between cupcake top and bottom
Store in container with the lid slightly ajar so the cupcakes don't become too moist
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.