These easy green cupcakes are a festive treat for St. Patrick’s Day plus delicious! Green velvet cupcakes get topped with cream cheese frosting and filled with gold sprinkles for a fun St. Patrick’s Day surprise!
I love how fun St. Patrick’s Day is, especially with kids. The entire holiday is full of magic and surprises – leprechaun and rainbows. And being married to a man who is part Irish – yeah we enjoy St. Patrick’s Day around here!
I’m always looking for ways to make the holiday even more magical, and I do believe these green velvet cookies will do the trick with my kiddos this year!
These fun St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes use a base recipe similar to this classic red velvet cake except green of course. They then get topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting.
But that’s not the best part – the best part is the pot of gold on the inside! Large gold sprinkles get put into the cupcakes so when you bite them open, they’re filled with a pot of gold surprise! They’re similar to these St. Patrick’s Day surprise cupcakes, just green instead of rainbow!
These would also be really fun to make for Christmas with red frosting or red sprinkles inside but for now, let’s just say they’re for St. Patrick’s Day! Either way, they’re delicious cupcakes that kids will love!
Why You’ll Love These Green Cupcakes
- Easy – these cupcakes are as easy as they come! Just mix some ingredients together, bake, fill, and frost! Even the frosting is simple.
- Delicious – while they may look a little green, they’re actually really yummy. It’s like Elphaba in Wicked – green is just a color!
- Fun – these are really fun to eat with the sprinkles inside – it just gives it a nice added sweetness and an element of fun!
- Green food coloring – I highly recommend using a gel green food coloring because it’s more concentrated than liquid, and these need a lot of color to get past the brown of the cocoa powder. I used Wilton’s Leaf Green Gel food coloring.
- Cream cheese – for the frosting, you want to use full-fat cream cheese that’s nice and soft.
- Butter – make sure you’re using unsalted butter that’s also soft. Salted will give your frosting a little bit of a salty taste – not ideal for these cupcakes.
- Buttermilk – if you don’t have buttermilk, you can combine a cup of regular full fat milk with 1 TBS of lemon juice or white vinegar, let it sit for ten minutes, and then use that in place of the buttermilk. Actual buttermilk is always better but that substitution works fine in a pinch.
- Cake flour – these work much better with cake flour than all purpose flour because cake flour has less gluten and typically gives you the soft and moist texture you want these cupcakes to be.
How to make green velvet cupcakes
If you’ve ever made red velvet cupcakes or even red velvet cookies, you’ll know that they’re not just vanilla with red food coloring – they’re actually a very specific flavor.
These green velvet cupcakes are pretty much the same flavor but with green instead of red. They’re a chocolate based cupcake that’s kept moist with the addition of buttermilk and vinegar.
And they’re super easy to make!
1 – Make the Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake pans with baking cups.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking soda, salt , and cocoa.
Add the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar to a large mixing bowl ( a separate bowl) on low speed until well mixed.
Now slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully combined. It should be nice and smooth.
Add the food coloring until it is the color green you like. I prefer a dark green color to light green so you get a nice contrast between the green and the gold glitter in the center of cupcake. Also, go darker than you think you need to. The color fades a bit as you bake them.
I highly recommend using gel food coloring because it’s more concentrated than liquid. I specifically used Wilton’s Leaf Green Gel food coloring and it worked great, but it does take a lot of food coloring to overpower the brown color of the cocoa powder.
And speaking from experience, you don’t want cupcakes that are a greenish brown color. It’s not appetizing at all.
Add about 1/4 cup batter to each muffin tin. They should be a little over half full of cake batter. Don’t fill them more or they’ll end up overflowing.
You can use any color of cupcake wrapper – I like white so you can see the green cupcakes through or gold for obvious reasons.
If you want to use basic cupcake liners to bake the cupcakes in and then add an extra one (like in my pictures) on the outside for decoration, that’s a fun way to do it as well! I did white paper liners on the actual cupcakes in the cupcake tin and then “plated” them in gold cupcake wrappers to match my St. Patrick’s Day printables!
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
If you want to make filled cupcakes, use a piping bag tip or a spoon to remove a small section of cake from the center of each cupcake, fill with gold sprinkles (or you could do a combo of gold and shamrock sprinkles) and then place the removed section back over the hole.
I used these gold sprinkles and thought they were perfect because they’re a little thicker than normal gold sanding sugar, giving them more of the appearance of gold.
2 – Make the Frosting
While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
Start by beating the butter on medium high speed for about 5 minutes or until it is light and fluffy.
Next, add the cream cheese and beat until smooth.
Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until it is all added and frosting is smooth and creamy.
Green Cream Cheese Frosting?
If you want with a completely green twist, you can also add a bit of the gel food coloring to the cream cheese frosting to turn it into a green cream cheese frosting. I like the look of the white with gold sprinkles but green food coloring can be fun twist if you really want that vibrant green cupcakes look!
Use a piping bag to frost the cupcakes and dust with gold glitter if desired. I just used a round piping tip but again feel free to decorate these however you want!
Serve the cupcakes once completely cooled! They make a great addition to a St. Patrick’s Day dessert table or they would be so much fun as a treat at the end of a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt!
Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator (because of the cream cheese frosting) for up to five days. Before eating, take out of the refrigerator and let them warm up a bit before eating any leftovers.
Freeze unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight freezer safe container for up to three months When you’re ready to eat one, remove it from the freezer and let it come to room temperature. Frost, decorate, and enjoy!
Serve these on plates and encourage people to eat them above a plate so that when they do bite into the cupcake and get the surprise inside, you don’t end up with sprinkles everywhere.
Add rainbow sprinkles to the gold sprinkles for an even more colorful burst of magic when you eat these!
Don’t add the sprinkles or frost the cupcakes until these are cooled completely. Sprinkles can just melt into warm cupcakes if added while they’re still hot.
Green velvet cake is made of flour, sugar, buttermilk, vinegar, baking powder, cocoa powder, eggs, oil, salt, and vanilla. These make a moist, sweet, cake with a slight chocolate flavor that’s dyed green to give you the green velvet flavor.
I recommend using enough green gel food coloring that the color of the batter is a very bright green with no tinges of the brown chocolate color left. Error on the side of more food coloring than less or you’ll end up with a greenish brown cake, which is what you don’t want. I used about 1/4 a tube of the gel.
Add a teaspoon of milk or heavy cream at a time and mix again until you get the consistency you want.
More Easy Cupcake Recipes
If you like cupcakes, you’ll love these other yummy cupcake recipes!
- Samoa cupcakes – chocolate cupcakes topped with toasted coconut, chocolate, and caramel that taste just like the Girl Scout cookie!
- Grinch cupcakes – a simple cupcake that’s frosted to look like everyone’s favorite holiday villain, the Grinch himself!
- Banana pudding cupcakes – a semi-homemade cupcake recipe that starts with a box mix and gets filled with homemade banana pudding and topped with a whipped cream frosting!
- Pumpkin cupcakes – a deliciously moist pumpkin cupcake topped with a delightful cheesecake frosting!
- Hot chocolate cupcakes – chocolate cupcakes made with hot chocolate, melted chocolate, and of course marshmallows!
Green Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 TBS cocoa powder
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp white distilled vinegar
- green gel food coloring
- gold sprinkles optional
- 8 ounces cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line cupcake pans with baking cups. Spray baking cups.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking soda, salt , and cocoa.2 1/2 cups flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 2 TBS cocoa powder
- Add the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and vinegar to a large mixing bowl on low speed until well mixed.1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 1/2 cup buttermilk, 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp white distilled vinegar
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, then fold in the food coloring until desired color. Careful not to over mix or they may collapse.green gel food coloring
- Add about 1/4 cup of batter to each muffin tin. They should be a little over half full. Don't overfill.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin then remove and let cool completely on the wire rack.
- For filled cupcakes, use a piping bag tip or a spoon to remove a small section of cake from the center of each cupcake, fill with sprinkles and then place the removed section back over the hole.gold sprinkles
- Beat butter on medium high speed for about 5 minutes or until it is light and fluffy.1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.8 ounces cream cheese
- Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until it is all added and frosting is smooth and creamy.4 cups powdered sugar
- Use a piping bag to frost the cupcakes, garnish with sprinkles, then serve!