Cinnamon lovers will go crazy over this Cinnamon Cupcake Recipe. It’s one of my from-scratch, almost-gourmet camping desserts that bakes directly in a Dutch oven without a muffin pan.
It’s easy to make moist cupcakes when you’re baking from scratch but the full list of ingredients for homemade Dutch oven baked goods can seem overwhelming.
Don’t let that happen, it’s an easy recipe if you do measuring and mixing of dry ingredients at home.
Get three food storage containers and label them as follows, then, measure the ingredients into them so you just need to mix the dry ingredients with the liquid ones at camp:
- “Cinnamon cupcakes recipe dry ingredients”
- “Cinnamon buttercream frosting dry ingredients”
- “Cinnamon sugar swirl dusting dry ingredients” (dusting is optional so omit this one if you don’t want to dust the top of the frosting)
Cooking Methods & Equipment
To make this as one of our easy campfire recipes, you’ll need to get your fire going to create hot coals for baking. Or, you can use charcoal briquettes. For quick and efficient briquette lighting without the use of lighter fluid use a chimney starter. We’ve got tips and a VIDEO on how to use a charcoal chimney.
We’re keeping it simple by making this dessert in 3 stages:
- Make the cupcakes
- Make the frosting
- Frost the cupcakes
Make the cupcakes
Step 1. Prepare your ingredients, heat source and equipment as directed.
Camp Cooking Tip: If you are baking Dutch oven camping recipes that call for a 10-inch Dutch oven but you don’t have that size, you can use a larger oven and insert a muffin tin or pie plate and continue with the recipe. Just make sure you adjust the number of coals for cooking with a larger oven so you maintain the proper baking temperature.
If you are using a different oven size, check our Dutch oven temperature chart to see how many coals you will need.
Step 2. Preheat the oven. Line 10-inch cast iron Dutch oven with 8 empty cupcake liners and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (21 total coals = 14 on top of the lid / 7 below the bottom of the oven.)
Camp Cooking Tip: For baked goods, place a ring of coals under the outside edge of the oven and place the upper coals on the lid in a checkerboard pattern.
Camp Cooking Tip: Foil cupcake liners hold their shape better than paper ones when baking “free form” in a Dutch oven rather than using muffin tins. The rustic shape is a good thing when baking homemade sweets in a rugged outdoor environment.
Step 3. Prepare the dry ingredients. Place the cupcake dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk mixture together.
Step 4. Prepare the wet ingredients. Beat the cupcake wet ingredients together in a small bowl.
Step 5. Mix wet ingredients with dry. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture bowl, gently stirring together.
Step 6. Pour batter into liners. Using half of the mixture (for the first batch), divide batter evenly into the liners. They should be about 3/4 full. Don’t burn yourself, the oven is hot!
Camp Cooking Tip: A liquid measuring cup makes pouring batters easy, quick and clean.
Step 7. Cover and bake. Place lid on your Dutch oven. When a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean, they are done. It should take about 15-18 minutes.
Camp Cooking Tip: For even baking, turn the oven and the lid 1/4 turns in opposite directions every 5 minutes.
Step 8. Cool before frosting. If you placed the liners directly in the Dutch oven, remove the oven from the heat and remove the lid. Let stand about 5 minutes then remove the cakes from the oven and let cool fully before frosting. If you placed the liners in a pie plate, lift it out of the oven and let the cakes cool before frosting.
Make the frosting
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
Step 1. Cream the wet ingredients. Use a fork to cream butter, vanilla extract and milk together in a medium bowl.
Camp Cooking Tip: Use room temperature ingredients when creaming by hand.
Step 2. Mix in dry ingredients. Add cinnamon frosting dry ingredients into the butter mixture, sprinkle small quantities because it is easier to mix by hand.
Camp Cooking Tip: At home you would probably use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to mix the frosting to perfection. At camp, take your time to mix the ingredients together, I find a rubber scraper works well but a plain fork or spoon will do the job too.
Frost the cupcakes
Step 1. Frost the cinnamon roll cupcakes. Wait for them to be totally cooled and apply frosting with a spoon or knife.
For a prettier presentation, spoon frosting into a piping bag made from a sheet of parchment paper or a plastic freezer bag then pipe as much frosting as you’d like on the moist cakes.
If desired, sprinkle about 1/8 teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the frosting to create an icing sugar type of presentation.
What To Serve With This Recipe
For dessert, I like serving my vegetarian camping recipes with a nice warm cup of black coffee.
Need tips for making an awesome cup of java? Here’s how to make coffee when camping.
I really enjoy a cold glass of milk with sweet desserts but if the right amount of sugar is “more”, then serve a mug of Campfire Hot Cocoa on the side.
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Cinnamon Cupcake Recipe
For the cupcakes:
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour*
- 3/4 cup white sugar*
- 1/4 cup brown sugar*
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder*
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda*
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt*
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 1 cup milk at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon**
- 1/2 teaspoon salt**
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar**
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or whole milk
For the cinnamon sugar dusting: (optional)
- 1 tablespoon white sugar***
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar***
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon***
To make the cupcakes:
- Ingredients marked with * can be measured and mixed at home. Seal in airtight container and label "Cinnamon cupcakes recipe dry ingredients".
- Ingredients marked with ** can be measured and mixed at home. Seal in airtight container and label "Cinnamon buttercream frosting dry ingredients".
- Ingredients marked with *** can be measured and mixed at home. Seal in airtight container and label "Cinnamon sugar swirl dusting dry ingredients".
- Line 10-inch cast iron Dutch oven with 8 foil cupcake liners. (see * Note & see ** Note)
- With the empty cupcake liners inside, preheat the Dutch oven to 350 degrees F. (21 total coals = 14 on top of the lid / 7 below the bottom of the oven.) (Or use a Dutch oven dome and heat diffuser plate with a camp stove.)
- In a large bowl, whisk flour mixture together. These are the cupcake dry ingredients you measured at home: flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt.
- In small bowl, beat together the egg, milk and vanilla extract.
- Gently stir the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture, scrape the sides of the bowl and stop mixing as soon as the dry and wet ingredients are incorporated.
- Remove the lid from the Dutch oven, pour even amounts of the cupcake batter into the foil liners. The liners should only be about 3/4 full. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot oven. (see *** Note)
- Replace the lid on the oven and bake until the the cakes are done. A toothpick in the center of the cupcake should come out clean, about 15-18 minutes. (see **** Note)
- Remove the oven from the coals, let stand 5 minutes. Then, use a spatula, fork, or spoon to lift each cake out of the oven and transfer to a wire rack (if you have one) or plate for cooling.
- Repeat the process to bake the second batch.
To make the frosting:
- In a medium bowl, use a fork to cream butter, vanilla extract and milk together. (see ***** Note)
- Sprinkle small quantities of the cinnamon frosting dry ingredients (these are the frosting dry ingredients you measured at home: cinnamon, salt and powdered sugar) into the butter mixture and mix until fully incorporated. (see ****** Note)
To frost the cinnamon roll cupcakes:
- When they are totally cooled, you can just use a knife or spoon to spread the frosting on the top of the cakes.
- If desired, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture for a pretty presentation on top of a delicious cupcake.
- Serve immediately and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
If piping the frosting:
- For special occasions, I like a prettier presentation so I spoon the frosting into a piping bag made from a sheet of parchment paper or a plastic freezer bag as a makeshift pastry bag.
- You can pipe as much frosting as you’d like on the cakes. Cut off a corner of the parchment paper bag or plastic bag so you can squeeze the frosting out of the hole. The bigger the hole, the more frosting that will come out of it.
- Hold the bag over the top of the center of a cupcake, squeeze the frosting out and follow a circular motion toward the outside to create a cinnamon swirl pattern and the whole thing is covered.
These delicious cinnamon rolls require no yeast and no rolling. The secret: ready-to-bake dinner roll dough from the freezer!
Pre-measure and mix the dry ingredients at home, then, just mix and bake at the campsite.
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