Christmas Cupcakes

Intensive Cake Unit
by Intensive Cake Unit
24 cupcakes
40 min

Don't you sometimes (okaaay....always?) want a dessert that's quick and easy...but also festive and cute?

These rich chocolate cupcakes are easy and delicious, and a bit of gel color and maybe a few sprinkles are all you need to decorate! Grab your piping bags and a few sprinkles for a fun pop of extra color and sparkle! These would also make suuper fun mini cupcakes – and I find those go over especially well at holiday gatherings!

(Feel free to make OR buy your cupcakes / frosting – no wrong approaches here!)

Recipe below - feel free to visit my blog for links to the supplies I use!

Recipe details
  • 24  cupcakes
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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  • 350g all purpose flour (roughly 2 1/4 c)
  • 450g caster sugar (roughly 2 ¼ c)
  • 100g cocoa powder (roughly 1 ¼ c)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 350ml milk (about 1 ½ ; I used a 2c pyrex liquid measuring cup with mL marks on the back)
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
  • 16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened
  • 6-7 c powdered sugar
  • 2-4 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 T clear vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
  • Save and add later – 2-3 large drops green and 3-5 drops red gel food color (I used Americolor Leaf green and Americolor Super Red)
Supplies / Decorations:
  • - 1 recipe chocolate ganache (optional, for filling cupcakes. See below)
  • - Squeeze bottle OR piping bag – whatever you’d prefer to add your ganache to the cupcakes
  • - Large & small piping bags & tips –see my blog for the reusable bags and favorite tips I use!
  • Sprinkles of your choice (if desired) – I used Sweetapolita’s ‘Christmas Crackers’
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180C) or 320 FC (160C) for a fan forced oven. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar.
Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together).
Add in the softened butter until no lumps of butter are visible and it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients.
Next, mix milk, eggs, and vanilla together in a separate bowl and whisk until well combined.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in a slow and steady stream until no dry ingredients are visible.
Scrape down the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Fill each paper 3/4 of the way (using a large cookie scoop to transfer the batter into the cupcake liners makes this a quick and easy process otherwise you can use two tablespoons). You may find that you have some batter left over - don't over-fill the cupcake tins or they *will* overflow – trust me. :/ (I often bake some mini cupcakes with the leftover batter).
Bake for 20-25 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting. If you insert a toothpick and it comes out with wet batter, bake for another few minutes at a time until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely. 
The hang time while your cupcakes are cooling is a great time to make your filling and frosting!
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter
Slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. I recommend making it thin enough to pipe, but thick enough to hold its shape.
Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
Divide frosting in half – leave half white; you’ll need the most white to cover the cupcakes.
Divide the remaining half into thirds and color 2/3 green and 1/3 red.
Assembly / decorating:
Chocolate ganache: (optional filling) 6 oz (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips 6 oz (¾ cups) heavy whipping cream Meanwhile, make your ganache. Place chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to a boil over medium/low heat. Pour over chocolate chips and let rest for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth and silky. (If desired, this can also be done in the microwave – combine ingredients and microwave on half power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth).
Once the cupcakes have cooled, you're ready to core them. There are a few ways you can do can buy a cupcake corer, you can try using the non-business-end of a large piping tip, can do what I do and cut a cone-shaped core out with a plastic knife. Up to you. I haven't the foggiest idea why cupcake crumbs don't stick to plastic knives like they do regular knives, but the plastic knife's been working too well for me to feel the need to invest in any fancy corers. Pipe your ganache into your cored cupcakes – this can be done with a a squeeze bottle or piping bag, but it doesn't have to look pretty, so I often use a zip-lock bag for this part. A spoon will work if you don’t have any of the above, I've  just found spoons to be a little bit more difficult to work with.
Noooow – on to the fun part!! Decorating! Transfer your frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large tip – I used a tip from my Amazon set most similar to the Ateco #828. Pipe white frosting in large swirls onto your cupcakes. Transfer your green frosting to a standard size bag- I used my Wilton 1M tip in the video, but I’ve used a large open star from my smaller set for similar designs. Add a smaller circle of green frosting over the white. Last, transfer your red frosting to a standard size bag fitted with a closed star – I used a tip from my set similar to the Wilton closed star / #35. Pipe small red swirls on top of the green ones! Step back, give yourself a high-five, and admire your adorable cupcakes!
Intensive Cake Unit
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