These French Vanilla Brownie Cupcakes combine a boxed brownie mix and a boxed cake mix, so they’re incredibly easy to make. They taste like a cross between a whoopee pie and a french vanilla brownie.
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? I’ll explain in a minute.
These cupcakes are incredible. The cupcake-brownie combo is fudgy 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!
A happy accident…
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!
More Easy Baking Recipes:
5 ingredient Black Forest Trifle
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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. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
Valerie @Glittering Muffins
Oh man, that’s a great post! I laughed the whole way threw, lol. Love the accident it sounds very yummy!
Tried these out today. They taste great but mine stuck to the muffin pan and looked a mess. Perhsps I greased too lightly. I’m going to try in paper cups, as I would like a full cupcake, rather than a sandwich style. Thanks for the recipe! Great mistake!
going to try in mini form, as a whole cupcake is a little much for my little one all at once!
These are good, but they didn’t work out as well as yours.
I couldn’t find the same kind of brownie mix or frosting as you used. I checked both grocery stores in town, and checked them both again a couple of weeks later, just in case they just happened to be out of stock the first time. No luck. So I got a milk chocolate brownie mix and threw in a handful of mini chocolate chips, and I got regular vanilla instead of french vanilla frosting….I’m sure french vanilla would have been better.
I wanted to make little ones, so I used a mini muffin tin with 24 wells. Then I still had a ton of batter so I also did a regular size muffin pan (silicone), and there was still more batter so I put it in a 6×6 pan. They all had to bake for different lengths of time, so I had to open the oven to check them several times. Maybe that is why all three kinds sunk in the middle??
I filled them 3/4 full, but only a few baked up high enough to cut the tops off…and since they sunk in the middle, the top was missing its center. Also, it says to use a lightly greased tin…I sprayed them all, and not just lightly, but they still all stuck to the pans. Grrrr.
Next step, I cut them in half to sandwich the frosting. I put the frosting in a little Ziploc bag and snipped a corner off to squeeze it on the cupcake bottoms. I don’t like fighting with crumbs and this makes frosting them easier and faster.
Well, they aren’t as pretty as yours, but they still taste good. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂