Kitchen Sink Cupcakes — Rich and decadent chocolate cupcakes topped with everything but the kitchen sink including pretzels, potato chips, toffee bits, and chocolate chips! FAST and EASY cupcakes to make because they use a chocolate cake mix base to save you time!
Kitchen Sink Cupcakes Recipe
Have you heard of Kitchen Sink Cookies? If you haven’t, they’re the type of cookie that you put everything but the kitchen sink into.
These kitchen sink cupcakes are inspired by the popular kitchen sink cookie recipe. My Cowboy Cookies are also along these lines.
What you have here are moist and rich chocolate cupcakes topped with creamy vanilla frosting. If you’ve been looking for a unique cupcake recipe, you’ve found it!
Then they’re sprinkled with toffee bits, chocolate chips, pretzels, and potato chips.
For anyone who is a fan of sweet-and-salty desserts, or like me who loves some salt with your chocolate, these are for you!
As an added bonus, they’re made with chocolate cake mix and pudding mix to make things easier and save you time.
Plus, just think of all those holiday odds and ends you have laying around that you can put to use!
Ingredients for Kitchen Sink Cupcakes
For the cupcake batter, you will need these common fridge and pantry ingredients:
- Chocolate cake mix (such as Devil’s Food Cake mix)
- Instant chocolate pudding mix
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Whole milk
- Large eggs
- Vanilla extract
- Espresso powder
- Mini chocolate chips
For the frosting, the following ingredients are necessary:
- Heavy cream
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Instant vanilla pudding mix
To top and decorate the cupcakes you’ll need:
- Mini pretzels
- Potato chips
- Toffee bits
- Mini chocolate chips
- Caramel or chocolate sauce, optional for drizzling
How To Make Kitchen Sink Cupcakes Batter
What is amazing about these kitchen sink cupcakes is that because they start out with boxed cake mix, all you need to do is add it, plus all remaining ingredients all at once, into a mix bowl and beat to combine.
Talk about fast and easy!
Bake them in two standard-sized cupcake pans for about 20 minutes and let them cool before you frost them.
As your chocolate kitchen sink cupcakes are cooling, feel free to get started making the frosting.
How to Frost and Decorate Kitchen Sink Cupcakes
To make frosting that you’ll be able to pipe on your cupcakes, simply beat together the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla pudding mix until fluffy.
Transfer to a piping bag and using a round tip, pipe on the frosting.
However, because you’re not going for a fancy look with the frosting, since these kitchen sink cupcakes will be topped, you can easily just add the frosting carefully with a small spoon and not bother with a piping bag.
That’s my preference to be honest since I avoid piping bags as much as possible unless I’m making decorated cookies.
Then just top with pretzels, potato chips, toffee bits, and mini chocolate chips.
If you have it on hand and are so inclined, a salted caramel drizzle or a drizzle of chocolate sauce makes for an even more dramatic presentation.
Flavor Variations for Kitchen Sink Cupcakes
Apart from topping the chocolate cupcakes with what I used, other ideas include:
- Sprinkles of any kind
- Crushed Oreos
- Graham cracker crumbs
- Chopped candy bars like Snickers, Milky Way, Rolo candies
- Use vanilla cake mix and vanilla pudding mix instead of chocolate
- Make chocolate frosting rather than vanilla by using instant chocolate pudding mix.
Really whatever you can find in your pantry and sounds like it would combine well, go for it.
A baking project where you can use up odds-and-ends is the best kind!
Do I Have To Use Cake Mix and Pudding Mix?
Yes, you do need to use them both.
If you live in an area where cake mix or pudding mix isn’t sold, I am sorry that I don’t have ways to tweak this exact recipe.
However, I suggest making my The Best Chocolate Cake recipe and baking it as cupcakes. It is a 100% from-scratch chocolate cake recipe and the hundreds of five star reader reviews don’t lie. It’s an easy, no-mixer recipe, too. Even better.
You will probably yield about 12 to 15, and if you want more, double the recipe. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until done.
How to Store These Unique Cupcakes
Since the frosting has a whipped cream base the cupcakes need to be stored in the refrigerator within 2 hours of preparation.
They will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Because the pretzels and chips can get soggy, I recommend adding them right before enjoying and serving the cupcakes.
Tips For The Best Kitchen Sink Cupcakes
Cupcake base: In recipes like these kitchen sink cupcakes, there are always questions that come up about cake mix and pudding mix, which I just addressed. You can get around using them if you use a totally different cake base.
Pudding mix: I have only used regular instant pudding mix and not sugar-free versions. I don’t know if sugar-free would be fine or not.
Make sure you look for instant pudding mix, NOT Cook ‘N Serve. Also, you’re not actually making pudding. You just add it in dry.
Milk: I used whole milk in the cupcake batter. You could probably get away with 2% but don’t use skim.
I haven’t tested with non-dairy milks such as almond, soy, oat milk and so forth. Generally speaking, pudding mix requires cow’s milk to work properly so I don’t know what would happen if you don’t use whole milk. Not recommended.
Espresso powder: My recipe here calls for instant espresso powder. It doesn’t make the cupcakes taste like coffee in the least. Rather, it enhances the chocolate flavor. I use it whenever I make scratch chocolate cake or cupcake recipes because it adds lovely depth of flavor. If you absolutely don’t want to use it, then omit it, however I recommend using it.
Chocolate chips: Mini chocolate chips are my strong preference for the kitchen sink cupcake batter because they distribute much more evenly than regular-sized chocolate chips. Additionally, topping the cupcakes with mini chocolate chips is my recommendation because they are less “clunky” and are a better overall size ratio than regular sized chips.
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- one 15-ounce box chocolate cake mix such as Devil's Food Cake mix
- one 3.4-ounce box instant chocolate pudding mix, dry (instant and NOT Cook 'N Serve)
- ½ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream (do not use lite or low fat)
- ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
- ½ cup whole milk* (See Notes)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder** (See Notes)
- ¾ cup mini chocolate chips*** (See Notes)
Frosting and Toppings
- 2 cups heavy cream, very cold
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- ⅓ cup instant vanilla pudding mix, dry (instant and NOT Cook 'N Serve)
- Mini pretzels, crushed, for topping; as desired
- Potato chips, crushed, for topping; as desired
- Toffee bits, crushed, for topping; as desired
- Mini chocolate chips, for topping; as desired
- Salted caramel sauce or chocolate sauce; optional for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350F and line two standard-sized 12-cup cupcake pans with liners; set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix, pudding mix (dry, you're not making pudding), and all remaining ingredients. Beat on high with a handheld electric mixer until well mixed.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, add about 3 to 4 tablespoons batter to each cavity in the cupcake pans. Note - You may not make exactly 24 cupcakes and be short a couple which is fine, don't worry about it.
- Bake for about 18 to 22 minutes. Tip - Rotate pans once midway through baking for even cooking. Cupcakes are done with the tops are set, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no batter. Allow cupcakes to cool momentarily in the pans before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. While the cool, make the frosting.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or handheld electric mixer with whisk attachment), add the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, dry pudding mix, and beat on high until light and fluffy.
- Transfer the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip OR simply just spoon a bit on top of the cooled cupcakes.
- As desired, evenly sprinkle the cupcakes with the pretzels, potato chips, toffee bits, mini chocolate chips, and optionally drizzle with caramel or chocolate sauce. Serve immediately.
- Cupcakes needs to be refrigerated after two hours due to the whipped cream in the frosting. Cupcakes will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week. Tip - Because the pretzels and chips can get soggy, it's best to add them (and the other toppings too) right before you plan to serve the cupcakes. Meaning, don't decorate all 24 right away if you're not planning on consuming them all that day.
*I used whole milk in the cupcake batter. You could probably get away with 2% but don’t use skim. I haven’t tested with nondairy milks such as almond, soy, oat milk and so forth. Generally speaking, pudding mix requires cow's milk to work properly so I don't know what would happen if you don't use whole milk. Not recommended in my opinion.
**My recipe here calls for instant espresso powder. It doesn’t make the cupcakes taste like coffee in the least. Rather, it enhances the chocolate flavor. I use it whenever I make scratch chocolate cake or cupcake recipes because it adds lovely depth of flavor. If you absolutely don’t want to use it, then omit it, however I recommend using it.
***Mini chocolate chips are my strong preference for the kitchen sink cupcake batter because they distribute much more evenly than regular-sized chocolate chips. Additionally, topping the cupcakes with mini chocolate chips is my recommendation because they are less “clunky” and are a better overall size ratio than regular sized chips.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 344Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 413mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 5g
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