Jun 13

Boston Cream Cupcakes (with some Cake Balls thrown in)

When I was growing up, there was always dessert. I learned to bake from my mom and I got my love of all things sugary from both my parents.  As an adult, I have always looked forward to birthdays and holidays and visits with my parents because I can bake treats for them. Then, a few years ago, my dad was told by his doctor to limit/cut out all sugar from his diet. This was before the whole “everything comes sugar-free” revolution. When Father’s Day or his birthday rolled around I was at a loss.  Finding sugar-free recipes isn’t easy. They usually have unrecognizable ingredients or don’t taste that good. I’ve tried baking with Splenda and have never liked the results.  And “moderation” was never a thing that my family has been good at. I was always (and still am) confused by those people that can eat one cookie or slice of pie and stop. I’ve never been able to do that. It was always a running joke in my house that when we got a one pound box of See’s Candy as a gift it would be gone by the end of the day. And that was no joke; it was usually true.

A few years ago I discovered sugar-free chocolate melts through An Occasional Chocolate. Since then I have also found them at Winco, which is a local grocery store where I live. (They have tons of bulk bins and lots of sugar-free stuff.) Once I found those, I was able to start doing chocolate-covered sugar-free cookies (like Oreos or Murray’s brand). I’ve even made sugar-free Oreo truffles.

But the one thing I hadn’t been able to make that my dad really loves is cake. Growing up, birthdays meant a Duncan Hines (or whatever brand was on sale) sheet cake with a healthy layer of frosting on top. Those always lasted about as long as the See’s Candy did. So, imagine my excitement when I was cruising the baking aisle and saw that Pillsbury is now making sugar-free cake mix (frosting and brownie mix too). I was so excited! I immediately bought a box of yellow cake mix and a can of the chocolate frosting. I was curious how it would taste.

But, in typical fashion for me, I couldn’t just make a yellow cake or cupcake. I needed to do something else. Because my dad loves pudding of all sorts, I decided to fill the cupcakes with sugar-free pudding to make them extra special.

I baked the cupcakes according to the package directions. While the cake was cooling I made a box of instant sugar-free vanilla pudding and then piped it inside the cupcakes, then frosted them with the sugar-free chocolate frosting.

The cake tasted exactly like regular cake mix. There was no sugar-free after taste. The frosting was harder than usual frosting (piping it on top of the cupcakes was a pain-in-the-hand, so next time I’ll just use a knife). It had the slightest sugar-free taste, but not bad. My dad liked them. Jordan wanted to add those “All Star” flags because she thinks her Papa is an all-star. (So do I.)

Now, if you don’t need to eat sugar-free food, just use regular cake mix, frosting, and pudding. This would be an easy recipe for flavor variation: chocolate cake, chocolate pudding, cheesecake pudding…the combinations are endless.

I’ve written the recipe below for the entire cake mix, frosting, and pudding mix. However, I only made a dozen cupcakes. Remember the whole “moderation” thing? The fact that my family lacks the ability to do it? I figured my dad didn’t need two dozen cupcakes staring at him. Instead, I made a dozen cupcakes (had some frosting and pudding left over) and made one 9″ round cake layer. I froze that for later use. “Later” was this past week when we saw my parents again. 

What to do with a little bit of frosting and a frozen cake layer?

Make cake balls, of course.

I crumbled the cake and added about 1/4 cup of frosting. Mix it all together and form your cake balls. Freeze them for about 30 minutes, then dip in melted sugar-free chocolate. I made large cake balls this time because making small ones sometimes can drive a girl to go insane. It. Takes. So. Long.

So, sugar-free cupcakes and cake balls, all made with Pillsbury Sugar-Free mixes. I give this product two-thumbs up and hope it sticks around for awhile.  (Again, you can substitute all regular, not sugar-free ingredients in these recipes.)


*This is NOT a sponsored post. I just wanted to try out the products and share my results, in case you know someone who also is in need of sugar-free baking.*


Boston Cream Cupcakes (Sugar-Free)


  • 24 vanilla cupcakes , baked and cooled (You can use your favorite recipe or a box mix. For the sugar-free version, use the Pillsbury Sugar-Free Yellow Cake mix.)
  • 1 (small) package instant vanilla pudding (sugar-free, if desired)
  • 1 ½ cups nonfat milk
  • 1 can chocolate frosting , or use your favorite recipe (for sugar-free cupcakes, use Pillsbury Sugar-Free Chocolate Frosting)


  1. Prepare your pudding according to the package directions, using the 1 ½ cups nonfat milk.
  2. Fit a disposable pasty bag with a round decorating tip (#230) and fill the bag with the pudding. Place the tip into the center of the top of the cupcake and fill. Alternately, you can cut a small hole in the top of the cupcake and add a spoonful of pudding.
  3. Frost the tops with the chocolate icing. Note: the sugar-free icing is very thick. I recommend using a warmed knife to frost the cupcakes instead of using a pastry bag.