Favorite Birthday Cake Muffins (with Sprinkles!)

Favorite Birthday Cake Muffins (with Sprinkles!)

Information about Favorite Birthday Cake Muffins (with Sprinkles!)

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These Birthday Cake Muffins combine ease, nutrition, and FUN for a total win of a kids breakfast or snack. Plus: They store well for days and are made with basic pantry staples.

mini birthday cake muffins with sprinkles

Birthday Cake Muffins

You know what I’ve realized over the past years of parenting? Some weeks just call for FUN, all caps. And while we may not always have control over the stresses in our lives, we can pull out some pantry staples, grab the sprinkles, and make this incredibly easy muffin recipe to share with the kids.

My three kids are all completely delighted by these AND my husband even loves them too. (He generally dislikes muffins, so this is high praise.) It’s amazing just how few sprinkles can make the kids happy.

The main sweetener in this recipe is applesauce, but the muffins mostly taste like a vanilla muffin (so no worries about the apple flavor being strong).

And you can make them with a variety of flours and milks, according to what you have on hand and what works for your family, so be sure to check the Notes at the bottom of the recipe for all of those variations.

These are perfect to celebrate any ordinary day, or as a really fun way to start a child’s birthday breakfast.

ingredients in birthday cake muffins

Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Unsweetened applesauce: I prefer a smooth kind so it blends right into the batter.
  • Unsalted butter
  • Eggs 
  • Milk: I use whole milk, but any type will work. 
  • Vanilla extract: Look for “pure” vanilla extract rather than imitation for the best flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: I use this type of flour so the final color of the muffins is light in color and so they’re as fluffy as possible.
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Sprinkles: This is what gives these a super fun appearance, so don’t skip them!

TIP: You’ll want to use classic sprinkles here, not nonpareil style, for the best results.

Ingredient Swaps

  • If you want to make as 12 standard size muffins, rather than minis, increase the baking time to 16-18 minutes.
  • Dairy-free: You can use plain nondairy milk and a neutral oil like canola or avocado in place of the butter.
  • Egg-free: Omit the eggs and add an additional ½ cup milk. Continue with the recipe.
  • Gluten-free: Use 1:1 style gluten-free baking mix like the one from King Arthur Flour. (Almond or coconut flour on its own is not a good option here.)
  • Whole-wheat: You can make these with a whole grain flour by omitting the all-purpose flour and using whole wheat flour. The muffins will be a little darker in color at the end though, and I would check for doneness 2 minutes sooner as they may bake through faster.
how to make birthday cake muffins step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in the recipe so you know what to expect. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full information.

  1. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients. (This helps distribute the baking powder and soda evenly.)
  3. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet.
  4. Divide among a mini muffin pan. Top with additional sprinkles.
  5. Bake just until the edges are very lightly golden brown and a cake testers inserted into the center comes out cleanly..
  6. Let cool on a wire rack.

TIP: You can gently fold the sprinkles into the batter in Step 3 or use a toothpick or cake tester to stir some into each muffin cup in Step 4. The latter option usually results in slightly less bleeding but both will work.

India tree sprinkles container

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of sprinkles are best here?

Classic sprinkles will work best and I recommend folding them into the batter very gently. The more you stir the more they might bleed. Nonpareil style sprinkles will bleed almost instantly, so while they work (and my kids don’t mind when I use them), the have a tendency to make the batter look a little green.

I like the bright ones from India Tree. You can also try their natural colored sprinkles (which work but aren’t as bright).

Are these a good healthy birthday muffin?

These are such a fun way to start a kid’s birthday (or an adult birthday for that matter!). They also store really well, so you can make them ahead of time if that’s easier for you.

They’d also be a fun snack to bring into a class for a birthday treat too if you’re allowed to bring homemade options.

mini birthday cake muffins on counter

How to Store

Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-5 days. Or in the fridge for up to 5 days. They do firm up a little when cold, so you can let them sit at room temperature for a little bit before serving or warm them for 10 seconds in the microwave if desired.

You can also freeze fully cooled muffins in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature.

Best Tips for Success

  • You can gently fold the sprinkles into the batter in the bowl or use a toothpick or cake tester to stir some into each muffin cup. The latter option usually results in slightly less bleeding but both will work.
  • I usually top each muffin with extra sprinkles before putting into the oven.
  • I like the bright sprinkles from India Tree. You can also try their natural colored sprinkles (which work but aren’t as bright).
  • To make as 12 standard size muffins, bake for 16-18 minutes.
  • Dairy-free: Use plain nondairy milk and a neutral oil like canola or avocado.
  • Egg-free: Omit the eggs and add an additional ½ cup milk. (So 1 cup total.)
  • Gluten-free: Use 1:1 style gluten-free baking mix like the one from King Arthur Flour.
  • Whole-wheat: Omit the all-purpose flour and use whole wheat flour. Check for doneness 2 minutes sooner. The muffins may be darker in color.
  • You may also like Mini Blueberry Muffins, Healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins, Banana Spinach Muffins, and Applesauce Muffins.
birthday-cake-muffins-on-counter

Favorite Birthday Cake Muffins (with Sprinkles!)

Amy Palanjian

These party cake muffins are perfect to celebrate any ordinary day—or as a really fun way to start a child’s birthday. Be gentle when stirring in the sprinkles to limit the color running.

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 12 mins

Total Time 22 mins

Course Snack

Cuisine American

Servings 12 (Makes 24 mini muffins)

Calories 123 kcal

Ingredients 

 

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and slightly cooled)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons sprinkles (the classic kind, not nonpareil style)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently (VERY gently) fold In sprinkles. Do not over-mix or they may start to bleed.

  • Divide the batter among the prepared muffin pan, using about 1 ½ tablespoons batter in each cup. Top with additional sprinkles if desired.

  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly. Transfer to a wire rack, using a knife around the edges to loosen if needed, and let cool.

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 2mini muffinsCalories: 123kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 145mgPotassium: 57mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 120IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mg

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