Who doesn’t love a sundae? Ice cream, chocolate sauce and a cherry on top.  It’s perfection. For my son’s 1st birthday party, I thought I would capture that perfection in cake form.  I decided on a retro diner theme for the party, and sundaes are the perfect diner dessert.

For the Frosting

Let's start with frosting! I always like to have a batch of my favourite buttercream on hand.  It freezes really well for up to a month. Just defrost it on the counter whenever you need it. So convenient! If you don’t have any on hand, here is my recipe.



For the Cupcakes

For the cupcakes, I once again referred to my favourite sweet blog, Sweetapolita. I halved this recipe to make 12 cupcakes. I baked the cupcakes in the most adorable red and white striped paper cups. I did a little dance in the store when I found them - so perfect for this theme!

I’ve already halved the ingredients below, so if you want the same quantity, I’ve done the math for you!

Cupcake Tools and Ingredients

¾ cup flour

¾  cup sugar

¼  cup cocoa powder

¾  teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¾  teaspoon cornstarch

½  teaspoon salt

⅓  cup buttermilk

¼ cup brewed coffee

3 ½  tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


Two bowls (large & medium)

Electric or stand mixer


Measuring cups & spoons



Preheat your oven to 350° F and line a muffin tin with paper cups. In this case, my perfect little red and white striped cups. Take a bowl and begin measuring your dry ingredients. Add your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch and salt to the bowl. If you have a stand mixer, put these ingredients directly into the mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. If not, a large mixing bowl will do! Whisk together your dry ingredients and put aside.

Then in a medium bowl, combine your buttermilk, coffee, oil, egg and vanilla. I know what you're thinking - Yolanda are you crazy? Are you really putting coffee in cupcakes for a child's birthday? The coffee actually really helps to amp up the chocolate flavour, and trust me, it won't be caffeine that'll make your little ones bounce off the walls, it'll be the sugar.  But what are Birthdays for, right? Add this mixture of liquid ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Because I’m meticulously neat, I like to scrape my finished batter into a liquid measuring cup so that I can pour the batter into my paper cups with very little dripping.



Your batter should look nice and liquidy. Divide the batter among your cupcakes liners to about ⅔ of the way full (or a bit less). Bake in your preheated oven for 15-17 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove your cupcakes from the tin (gently, and careful not to scald your fingers) and place them on a wire cooling rack. Let them cool completely before frosting. We don’t want melty frosting!


Finally, it’s time to make our chocolate sauce!

 For the Chocolate Sauce

Chocolate Sauce Ingredients & Tools

3 tablespoons butter

2 oz whipping cream

2 ½ oz semi sweet chocolate



Stainless steel bowl

Rubber spatula

Chef’s knife

Cutting board


Chop your chocolate as finely as you can and place it in a stainless steel bowl. Next, add  your butter and whipping cream to the chocolate and set the bowl over simmering water. Once the ingredients have melted together, stir them gently with your spatula and set your sauce aside to cool.


Time to assemble these phenomenal Sundae Cupcakes!  

You will need:

Rubber spatula

14” Piping bag

#806 piping tip

sour cherry candy balls, or fresh cherries


mini spoons (optional)

Once your cupcakes are completely cool (this took mine about 30 minutes), pipe on a generous mound of vanilla buttercream with a #806 tip. I love this piping tip for this recipe because you can make a perfect round swirl. Looks just like soft serve ice cream- without having to run after the ice cream truck. Remember when you would just miss it? Oh, childhood can be so frustrating!


By now your chocolate sauce should also be cool.  Use a spoon and pour it over your cupcake sundaes.  Don’t they look amazing? Now top your cupcake sundaes with a sour cherry, or a fresh one if they are in season, and colourful sprinkles.  Don’t forget the sprinkles.  They are too much fun. I love the addition of adorable mini spoons.  These sundae cupcakes are ready to be served!