Dumpling Cupcakes

This week I made these adorable dumpling cupcakes to celebrate the second episode of my digital series with the Food Network, Will Work For Food! It’s kind of like dirty jobs, but all the jobs are in the food industry.

During this episode I worked with the incredible Yumpling team! I spent an entire day making Taiwanese street-food favorites like pork dumplings and crispy chicken sandwiches in their NYC-based food truck.

It was a fantastic day, and the dumplings were the star of the show in my eyes. In fact, they were so good that they inspired these cupcakes!

image of kawaii inspired dumpling cupcakes

The digital series is being shared on the Food Network Kitchen app, which is actually free for anyone who has amazon prime!

To get your free subscription, search the Food Network Kitchen app on your Fire TV or Fire tablet and install the app. Click Activate now, choose a renewal option and log in with your Amazon information.

They also offer a free 60-day trial, so you might as well download the app!!

The Dumpling Filling – Vanilla Cupcakes

I used my one-bowl vanilla cupcake recipe to make a dozen of these dumpling cupcakes. If you want to make a smaller batch, you can totally halve the recipe to make 6 little dumplings.

I wanted these cupcake dumplings kind of like a mini dumpling cake, so I cut the cupcakes in half and filled them with frosting! This does make them a bit harder to frost, but I think it’s worth it.

image of cupcake that's been cut in half to make a mini cupcake cake for these dumpling cupcakes

You can omit that step to make them easier to frost though!

The Dumpling Dough – Off White Buttercream

Now that we have the dumpling “filling” figured out, it’s time to discuss the dumpling dough! Or in this case, the frosting.

I used my American buttercream on these dumpling cupcakes because it’s my favorite frosting to decorate with. However, any light colored frosting would work. I added in 1 tsp of cocoa powder to make the frosting an off white color.

Whether you prefer a different type like Swiss meringue or Russian frosting, or a different flavor like cream cheese buttercream, you can use whatever you like best!

Just be sure it has a light colored base so you can color it a bit, and that it’s stiff enough to be piped.

image of a dumpling cupcake being decorated with frosting and smoothed using an acetate sheet

Smoothing the frosting onto each cupcake can be a bit challenging because they have curved sides. To make the process easier, I love to use acetate sheets.

I order my acetate sheets in big sheets on amazon and cut them down into smaller squares. An acetate sheet is essentially a thick piece of plastic that is flexible, and can be bent and used to smooth a curved surface on a cake.

They’re a real life saver for sculpted cakes or cakes with rounded edges. Or for little dumpling cupcakes like this!

The Facial Expressions

After you’ve frosted your dumplings, it’s time to add their faces. This is where your imagination can really run wild.

The face of each little dumpling is what really defines it. Is it happy? Or feeling silly? Maybe it’s laughing?

All my dumplings were in a great mood! They were mostly happy, but a couple were surprised! I made they eyes and mouths by rolling out bits of black and pink fondant by hand.

Substitutions and Swaps

While I love this recipe just the way it is, I know some of you might not have all of these ingredients on hand!

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe.

image of dumpling cupcakes with one cut open to show the moist vanilla cupcake it's made with
  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend or cake flour if that’s all you have on hand. I don’t recommend using straight almond flour though!
  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the texture of the cupcakes.
  • Sour Cream – You can also use full fat yogurt, buttermilk, whole milk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free.
  • 1 Large Egg – If you don’t have eggs on hand or you have an egg allergy you can use a flaxseed egg in its place or 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce.
  • Vegetable Oil – You can use any flavorless oil in this recipe, so canola or even sunflower oil would work great! I advise against olive oil, as it doesn’t taste great with the almond extract.
  • Vanilla Extract – Other extracts can also be used in place of the vanilla extract like almond extract, coconut extract, or even pistachio extract.
  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter in this recipe. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.

Tips for Making These Dumpling Cupcakes

  • Build each little dumpling on a small dessert round to make them easy to pop in and out of the freezer.
  • Thoroughly chill the crumb coat of each dumpling to help them keep their shape for decorating.
  • Use an acetate sheet to smooth the curved sides of the dumpling
  • Have fun creating the faces for your dumplings! That’s half the fun of making them!!
image of cute dumpling cupcakes

Making These Dumpling Cupcakes Ahead of Time and Storing Them

  • You can make the cupcakes for these dumpling cupcakes in advance! The cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container.
  • You can also decorate the dumplings ahead of time! Once the cupcakes are fully frosted, the buttercream will lock in all the moisture. They keep in the fridge for several days.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try making these dumpling cupcakes, I’d love to hear what think! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

Or if you share your creations on social media, be sure to tag me @chelsweets!

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 12

Dumpling Cupcakes

image of dumpling cupcakes

These dumpling cakes are simply adorable! They're made with deliciously moist vanilla cupcakes with are decorated with buttercream frosting!!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 12 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (162 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (4 grams)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (125 grams)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (56 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12 grams)
  • 1 large egg, room temp (57 grams)
  • 1/2 cup water (118 grams)

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (217 grams)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (454 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (or whipping cream) (15 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (1 gram)
  • 1 tsp baking cocoa (4 grams)

Additional Decorations

Instructions

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F (175°C), and place cupcake liners in baking pans.
  2. Add 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt to a large bowl and gently combine with a whisk or large spoon.
  3. Add 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 Tbsp vanilla extract, 1 large egg and 1/2 cup water. Mix by hand with a whisk until the batter just comes together. The batter will be thick, but that's how it should be!
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake liners, filling each one about 2/3 way full. Bake for 17-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, pop the pans into your freezer for about 30 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Beat 1 cup of unsalted butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment until smooth.
  2. Slowly mix in 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar on a low speed, adding 1 cup at a time. Pour in 1 Tbsp of heavy cream or milk half way through to make it easier to mix the frosting.
  3. Once fully mixed, add in 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking cocoa. Beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To learn what consistency you're looking for, check out this post.
  5. Cover the frosting with a piece of plastic wrap and set aside. Be sure to restir the frosting again with a rubber spatula to make sure it's nice and smooth when you add it to your cupcakes!

Dumpling Cupcake Assembly

  1. Unwrap one cupcake and cut it in half horizontally.
  2. Unwrap your frosting and give it a good stir with a rubber spatula. It can develop air bubbles as it sits, but stirring it will push the excess air out and leave you with smooth frosting.
  3. Add a dab of frosting onto a small, greaseproof dessert board.
  4. Place the bottom half of the cupcake in the center of the board. Add an even layer of frosting, then stack the top half of the cupcake on top.
  5. Carefully cover the cupcake stack in thin layer of frosting.
  6. Freeze the stacked cupcake for 5-10 minutes, until the frosting it firm to the touch.
  7. Remove from the freezer, and spread on a thicker second layer of frosting. Smooth using an acetate sheet, shaping the frosting into a wide teardrop shape. Make some lines at the top of the dumpling to make it look like the dough at the top has been twisted together.
  8. Chill again in the freezer for 5 minutes, until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  9. Mix together 3 drops of warm brown gel food coloring with 1 tsp of clear liquor or extract in a small container.
  10. Use a kitchen paint brush to brush the edible brown paint along the bottom of each chilled dumpling to make it look like it has a crisp, golden brown bottom.
  11. Carefully shape and press the fondant facial features into the buttercream.
  12. Repeat with remaining cupcakes, and enjoy!

Notes

Tips for Making These Dumpling Cupcakes

  • Build each little dumpling on a small dessert round to make them easy to pop in and out of the freezer.
  • Thoroughly chill the crumb coat of each dumpling to help them keep their shape for decorating.
  • Use an acetate sheet to smooth the curved sides of the dumpling
  • Have fun creating the faces for your dumplings! That's half the fun of making them!!

Making These Dumpling Cupcakes Ahead of Time and Storing Them

  • You can make the cupcakes for these dumpling cupcakes in advance! The cupcakes can be frozen for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container.
  • You can also decorate the dumplings ahead of time! Once the cupcakes are fully frosted, the buttercream will lock in all the moisture. They keep in the fridge for several days.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 469Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 63mgSodium 274mgCarbohydrates 64gFiber 0gSugar 53gProtein 2g

One thought on “Dumpling Cupcakes

  1. Hi Chelsea! Can you tell me where you got those cupcake stands? I’ve been looking for ones exactly like that to display and photograph my baked goods!

Let me know what you think!