Pirate Party! Buried Treasure Cupcakes

Oh hey guys! Did ya miss me? Judging by my blog numbers you did not. 😉 It’s cool though, no hard feelings. I mean, it’s the start of school, people are busy, everyone is busting their butts trying to soak up the last feeble rays of summer. I get it. Whatever. No really, I’m fine.

Anyway. My favoritest little person in the whole world turned 4 last week. Can you believe it? He’s like a little man. It’s terrifying. I want to put a spell on him to keep him cute and adorable forever. I mean, seriously guys, he’s so heart-wrenchingly adorable.

Case in point:

Sebastian’s dad had rented a bounce house for the 2nd year in a row (dad of the year award? I think yes.) All the little people were bouncing around like super charged miniature cannon balls hopped up on juice, when Sebastian accidentally kicked one of his little friends. He apologized and his friend said, “I forgive you.”

This was not what Sebastian was expecting. He came rocketing out of the bounce house like his pants were on fire, balls up his little fists into his eyes and comes sprinting full-speed at his mom sobbing like there’s no tomorrow. Everyone is instantly on edge, “Oh no, the birthday boy is crying.”

He takes two big heaving gulps and then squawks out, “I kicked Michael and said I was sorry and then he fooorgaaaaveeee meeee!!” Clearly this was one of the most traumatic moments of his life. His mother looks at him slightly confused, perhaps thinking, like we all were, that we misunderstood.

“Michael said he forgave you?” Sebastian nods while jamming his fists further into his poor little eyes, heaves another sob, “Yeah, he said ‘I forgive you.’ But I said I was sorry!!” His mother looks at him and says, “Sebastian do you know what ‘forgave’ means?” He mumbles “no” while looking down, a barely noticeable pause in his sobbing. “It means he’s not mad at you, that you’re still friends.” Sebastian looks up, hiccoughs a little, “Really?”

It took only some minor convincing that forgiveness is indeed what you’re looking for when you say “I’m sorry.” He trundled back off to the bounce house like nothing had happened and we all had a good laugh. Oh to be a little kid again.

Sebastian asked me to make his birthday cupcakes again this year and I was more than willing to comply. I still find it odd, as he really only sucks all the frosting off before leaving a slimy pile of partially gnawed cupcake goo on the plate, but whatevs. I was able to try a few of the more sugary versions of cakes that I don’t usually experiment with because adults are all weirded out by high-octane sugar treats.

You can almost see the cookie dough chunk at the bottom.

On the menu this year were: cookies and cream cupcakes with chocolate skull medallions, buried treasure cupcakes with chocolate coins and cookie dough centers, nutella cupcakes with strawberry frosting, and vanilla cinnamon cupcakes with Biscoff frosting. Oh yeah. you betchya sugar overload. I’m still tweaking the Nutella and vanilla cinnamon cupcakes but I can give you the basic recipe for the buried treasure cupcakes and the Biscoff frosting (which I may or may not have smashed my face into).

He swore he really enjoyed it…well, the frosting at least.

*Just a Note: I use the classic Tollhouse recipe for my chocolate chip cookie dough, just leave out the eggs and baking soda. If you have a different preferred recipe go ahead and use that one, but again just leave out the eggs (because they won’t get cooked) and baking soda (because they don’t need a leavener).

Buried Treasure Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 24
To make the cookie dough balls
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugars. Add the vanilla.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Fold in mini-chocolate chips. If your dough is really soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour, until slightly firm.
  4. Using a small scoop (affiliate link!), roll at least 24 small balls of the cookie dough, you want them to be slightly smaller than a tablespoon.
  5. Place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze until solid, at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
To make the cake
  1. Heat oven to 350ºF and line two 12-cup muffin tins with liners.
  2. Prepare your vanilla cake mix according to the instructions and fill the muffin tins ⅔rds to ¾ full.
  3. In the center of each cupcake place a frozen cookie dough ball.
  4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the tops are golden and spring back to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Frost with your favorite icing (I used a classic chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream on these). If you used a nice thick batter the cookie dough should rest somewhere in the bottom third of your cupcakes, no longer frozen but nice and soft. Mine sunk all the way to the bottom because I don't think my batter was thick enough, a buttermilk based recipe might be better. They were still fabulous though.
To make the frosting
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and Biscoff spread.
  2. Working in ½ cup increments add 3 cups of confectioner's sugar until a thick paste is formed.
  3. Thin with milk until desired consistency is reached.
  4. If the Biscoff is a little overpowering (and it might be, it can get a little gummy) add more confectioner's sugar to sweeten/lighten it up, add milk as necessary to keep it to a piping/spreadable consistency.
  5. Try to use this to actually frost cupcakes rather than just spooning it into your maw for breakfast (not that I did that or anything). Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes.
I use the classic Tollhouse recipe for my chocolate chip cookie dough, just leave out the eggs and baking soda. If you have a different preferred recipe go ahead and use that one, but again just leave out the eggs (because they won't get cooked) and baking soda (because they don't need a leavener).


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  1. says

    Hi Ace! Dave is a co-worker of mine and he recommended your blog to me as I, too, am a cupcake lover and blogger. Sebastian is indeed the cutest miniature man in the world. He helped Dave and I screen print tote bags this past weekend. (Okay, so he mainly ran around being adorable.) Anyway, I thought I’d introduce myself and say that I am totally going to try baking those buried treasure cupcakes!

    • says

      Hi Sami! Great to virtually meet you! I think there are many people who adore Sebastian, I mean seriously, what’s not to love? Thanks for stopping by I’ll be sure to check out your blog as well! :)

  2. Dara (Michael & Olivia's Mom) says

    Great blog Ace. Your cupcakes were great looking & TASTING! Sebastian’s Pirate Party was tons of fun for my kids. I was glad to NOT see any pictures of the Pirate Lady at the party 😉

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