Jump To Recipe
5 Comments »
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
These cute Christmas cupcakes are made with soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes, a simple vanilla buttercream frosting, and whatever fun sprinkles or toppings you choose. Decorating instructions included below!
Usually, I kick off the holiday season by baking dozens and dozens of my favorite Christmas cookies. But this year, I randomly decided to dust off my set of piping tips and decorate a few rounds of Christmas cupcakes instead.
And it’s been surprisingly fun! ♡
I used to be really into cake decorating in my early twenties, and had forgotten how much I enjoy getting lost for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon in the world of frostings, food colorings, piping tips and sprinkles galore. It’s been a fun creative hobby to pick back up this holiday season…with some very merry and delicious cupcakes to enjoy as a result!
So for any of you who might interested, I thought I’d share a few batches of my favorite Christmas-themed cupcakes that I’ve made lately. These simple Christmas tree and Christmas wreath designs in particular are very beginner-friendly, if you’re new to the world of working with piping tips, and relatively quick and simple to make. Or if you happen to be interested in an even more basic option, I’ve also provided instructions below for how to make similar designs using just a ziplock bag and a butter knife. I’ve included my favorite vanilla cupcake and a simple vanilla buttercream recipes below, but feel free to use whatever homemade cupcake and frosting recipe sounds best to you here. (Or hey, if you want to save a step and go with a box mix, no shame here.)
Let’s bake some Christmas cupcakes!
Christmas Cupcake Decorating Supplies
Alright, before we get to the Christmas cupcake recipe below, let’s take a second to note the cupcake decorating supplies that you will need:
- Food coloring: Feel free to use whatever type and color of food coloring that you prefer for these cupcakes. I really like this natural food coloring from Color Garden because their green is nice and vibrant, but note that it does have a mild “leafy” taste. If you want completely neutral-tasting food coloring, you will probably need to use an artificial coloring such as this green gel food coloring from Wilton.
- Sprinkles: I used a medley mix similar tothese green metallic sprinkles (this brand has lots of fun mixes available on Amazon), but feel free to use whatever sprinkles you love best! This brand of natural sprinkles is another option that is free of artificial coloring.
- Piping tips: I recommend investing in a basic set of piping tips (plus a set of piping bags) if you would like to create some of the frosting designs shown here. But if you would like to purchase specific tips, I used Wilton piping tip #3, tip #18 and tip #199 to make these cupcakes.
- Small offset spatula (optional): I used a small offset spatula to spread the white frosting base shown here, but you can also just as easily use a knife to spread the frosting instead if you’d prefer.
- Cupcake liners: I just used basic white liners for the cupcakes shown here, but feel free to use whatever color, material and/or pattern of cupcake liners that you prefer.
Then, of course, you will also need your favorite cupcake and frosting recipes! I used Cupcake Project’s famous vanilla cupcake recipe here (made without vanilla beans because I can never seem to keep them on hand), topped with a simple vanilla buttercream. But feel free to use whatever type of cupcakes and frosting you love best.
How To Decorate These Cupcakes
First, bake the vanilla cupcakes as instructed below and let them cool completely to room temperature. Make the buttercream, then portion out about 1/3 of it to leave white and and 2/3 of it to dye green with your preferred food coloring.
- To make Christmas wreath cupcakes: Use an offset spatula (or a knife) to spread a thin base layer of white frosting on top of each cupcake. Then use the Wilton #199 star tip to pipe the green frosting into an outer ring of stars around the edge of the cupcake, followed by an inner ring of stars, to make the “wreath.” Add sprinkles to the wreath if you would like.
- To make Christmas tree cupcakes: Use an offset spatula (or a knife) to spread a thin base layer of white frosting on top of each cupcake. Then — see the image at the very top of this post as an example — use Wilton #199 star tip to pipe 9 green stars to make a tree (bottom left example), or Wilton #18 star tip to swirl a tree (bottom center example), or Wilton #3 tip to zigzag a tree. Break off a small piece of a pretzel stick and place it below the green piping to serve as the tree trunk. Add sprinkles to the trees if you would like.
If you do not have piping tips, you can snip off a small corner of a ziplock bag to make a simple round tip that you can either swirl or zigzag to make a Christmas tree or Christmas wreath. (Or you can spread the green frosting on with a butter knife.)
Cupcake Decorating Tips
Here are a few basic cupcake decorating tips (<– hehe, decorating pun!) to keep in mind while decorating your Christmas cupcakes…
- Let the cupcakes cool to room temperature before frosting. If you frost the cupcakes while they are still warm, the butter in the frosting will heat and cause the frosting to melt. So be sure to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. (If you need to speed up the process, you can carefully remove the cupcakes from the baking pan, transfer them to a wire rack, and place them in the refrigerator until cooled.)
- Double-check the consistency of the buttercream before frosting.In general, I recommend that the buttercream be stiff-peak consistency for piping. (If you dip in a spoon then turn it right-side-up, the frosting should hold its shape.) But before you go ahead and fill an entire piping bag with buttercream, I recommend adding just a spoonful or two so that you can test piping it with your desired piping tip, just to ensure that the buttercream isn’t too thin or too thick.
- Practice piping.I always practice piping the design once or twice on a clean plate (or piece of parchment paper) before trying it on the actual cupcake. Then you can just scoop up the practice icing and add it back to your piping bag so that it’s not wasted.
- Add the sprinkles right away.If you choose to use sprinkles, be sure to add them within 30 minutes of frosting the cupcakes. Otherwise, the frosting may harden and the sprinkles will not adhere well to the frosting.
More Christmas Dessert Recipes
Looking for more fun treats to bake this holiday season? Here are a few of my faves…
- Cookies: Here is our full collection of cookie recipes, but gingerbread cookies, linzer cookies, peanut butter blossoms, chocolate crinkle cookies and classic chocolate chip cookies are always my favorites this time of year.
- Candied pecans: You can never go wrong with a batch of candied pecans, which are perfect for gifting, snacking, sprinkling on salads and more.
- Apple crisp:Homemade apple crisp is always a delicious way to put the season’s fresh apples to use, especially when topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and my favorite bourbon caramel sauce.
- Cinnamon rolls: It’s a tradition in our house to make my famous 1-hour cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, topped with my favorite cream cheese icing. So good!
- Author: Ali
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
- Yield: 16 cupcakes 1x
These cute Christmas cupcakes are made with soft and fluffy vanilla cupcakes, a simple vanilla buttercream frosting, and whatever fun sprinkles or toppings you choose. See notes above for decorating instructions and supplies.
Vanilla Cupcake Ingredients:
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour(not self-rising flour)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil(or canola oil)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
- optional: sprinkles(see note below)
Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients:
- 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
To Make The Cupcakes:
- Prep the oven and cupcake liners.Heat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two cupcake pans with about 16 liners total (or you can bake multiple batches with one pan).
- Mix together the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
- Add the butter.Add the butter (be sure that it is room temperature) and mix on medium-low speed for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. The batter should have a fine crumb texture.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients.In aseparate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add the wet ingredients.Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium-speed for 30 seconds, or until just combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the milk until it is just combined. The batter will be liquid.
- Bake. Fill the cupcake liners so that they are just over halfway full. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool completely to room temperature.
To Make The Buttercream:
- Beat the butter.Add the butter to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until it is light and fluffy.
- Add the remaining ingredients.Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat on low speed for 1 minute until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes until completely smooth.
- Adjust consistency if needed.If the buttercream seems too thin, add in 1 to 2 cups of additional powdered sugar and beat until smooth. If the buttercream seems too thick, add in 1 tablespoon of heavy cream (or more, if needed) and beat until smooth. See notes below for storage directions.
Sprinkles: I used a medley mix similar tothese green metallic sprinkles (this brand has lots of fun mixes available on Amazon), but feel free to use whatever sprinkles you love best. This brand of natural sprinkles is a great option that is free of artificial colorings.
Storage instructions: Unfrosted baked cupcakes can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Plain buttercream can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 1 week. To be safe, frosted cupcakes should be refrigerated in a sealed container where they can be stored for up to 5 days.
Prep time:The prep time listed in the recipe above approximates the amount of time that it may take to decorate the cupcakes, but does not include the additional time needed for the cupcakes to completely cool to room temperature, which can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes. I typically make the buttercream while the cupcakes are in the oven to save time.
Source: The cupcake recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Cupcake Project’s famous vanilla cupcake recipe that never lets me down.
posted on November 29, 2021 by Ali
Christmas, Cupcakes, Desserts, Vegetarian
5 Comments »
What can I put on top of cupcakes instead of icing? ›
- Melted Peanut Butter and Nutella.
- Melted Jelly or Jam.
- Honey and Sprinkles.
- Powdered Sugar Design.
The frosting is better suited for thicker, more textured designs on top of cakes and cupcakes. You can also use cake frosting between the layers of a cake. Icing is the better choice for decorating cookies and creating thinner, more delicate designs.What is the most Christmassy Colour? ›
Red and green are the classic Christmas colors, but they're not the only hues associated with the holiday—and each one has its own special meaning, says Randaci. It's definitely something to keep in mind when choosing Christmas ornaments and other assorted holiday decor.What is a good substitute for frosting? ›
- Whipped Cream. Looks like frosting, but it's not. ...
- Glaze. When it comes to Bundt cakes, glaze (or even caramel sauce) is a much better choice then frosting. ...
- Powdered Sugar. ...
- Chocolate or Caramel Sauce. ...
- Fresh Fruit. ...
- Syrups + Edible Flowers.
Frosting: The main difference between cupcakes and muffins lies in the use of frosting. While muffins do not feature frosting, the creamy, sweet whipped topping is a cupcake staple.What can I put in empty cupcakes? ›
If you've used all your batter but still have empty cups remaining in the tin, fill each empty cup with a few tablespoons of water. This will promote even baking, and can help keep the tin from warping as the muffins bake.What is the cream on top of cupcakes called? ›
Frostings are usually used to thickly coat or top cakes and cupcakes, while icings are mostly used for decorations and for light sugary coatings on cookies and donuts. Both frosting and icing are staples in professional and home bakeries.What is the most popular kind of cupcake frosting? ›
By far the most common frosting category, buttercream is made from combining some type of fat, like butter, with sugar. It may also include other ingredients like eggs for a fluffier texture or cream, which is used to make this vanilla buttercream recipe extra rich and smooth.
Cool cupcakes completely before covering to keep the tops from becoming sticky, about 30 minutes.What is the color for Christmas 2022? ›
Colours for the coming Christmas 2022 will include metallic silver and metallic gold, different shades of green, associated with grass and leaves as natural elements. Space will also be given to pink and soft blue, romantic and rather unusual colours for Christmas décor, but which will be on trend this year.
What are the 3 colors for Christmas? ›
There are several colors which are traditionally associated with Christmas. This site uses Red, Green and Gold. But why do we have them and what do the colors represent?What is the trend for Christmas 2022? ›
One of the key Christmas trends for 2022 looks set to be vibrant colours and atypical Christmas décor. Lanterns, honeycomb balls and festoon lighting that we are far more used to seeing in summer parties will feature heavily in Christmas aesthetics this year. The repurposing of year-round décor helps to manage cost.Can I fill cupcakes the night before? ›
Can I Fill Cupcakes The Night Before? You definitely can. I always recommend baking cupcakes 1-2 days before the main event and store covered at room temperature.What is the secret to a moist cupcake? ›
"Baking fluffy, moist cupcakes is all about creating air bubbles in your batter that expand in the oven," she says. "If you overmix your batter, you collapse those bubbles and end up with a brick-like cake." Always mix on a low speed to avoid this, stopping just as all ingredients blend.What's the most important ingredient in a cupcake? ›
Flour is perhaps the most important ingredient in a cake mix, as it creates the basic structure of the entire cake. A major component of flour is gluten, which is a protein that provides a way for the cake to bind to itself. The gluten creates a web that traps and seals air bubbles into the cake mix.What type of frosting icing is the simplest? ›
Buttercream is the simplest kind of frosting and the first lesson of Frosting 101. It can be modified of course to add flavorings like Vanilla, Chocolate or Lemon. 2. Whipped Cream Frosting - Whipped Cream, as the name suggests is made from whipping the heavy cream with powdered sugar till it is holding its peaks.Which icing is known as the simplest frosting? ›
Glaze. Glazes are the simplest frostings. Powdered sugar is combined with a liquid to form a thin consistency. Glazes are usually poured or drizzled over the tops of cakes and cookies.Is cupcake batter the same as cake batter? ›
The only two differences between cake and cupcakes: the type of pan you use to bake and the amount of time they spend in the oven. We're giving you all the details so that the next time you only have a box of cake mix, you'll know how to convert the recipe into cupcakes that are just as tasty.What makes a cupcake light and fluffy? ›
Eggs at room temperature, not fridge cold – whipped to aerate, these are key to make the cake extraordinarily light and fluffy. You don't get an eggy flavour. It's important for the eggs to be at room temperature as they whip better; Baking powder – not baking soda (bi-carb), it doesn't rise as well.How do you store cupcakes overnight before frosting? ›
Place them in a plastic storage bag or airtight container and simply keep them at room temperature. They will maintain their freshness as long as they don't lose moisture or are subjected to swings in temperature.
What is considered a gourmet cupcake? ›
There really is no standard definition of a gourmet cupcake. Anything edible that is described as gourmet is generally associated with fine food that's made with high-quality ingredients and looks fantastic. For cupcakes, gourmet indicates that they are created with care in small batches.What is the best cupcake flavor in the world? ›
- 8 Chocolate Peanut Butter.
- 7 S'Mores.
- 6 Strawberry.
- 5 Pumpkin.
- 4 Funfetti.
- 3 Vanilla.
- 2 Chocolate.
- 1 Red Velvet.
Banana Cake • Peanut Butter • Honey. This is the king of cupcakes! The Elvis is a tribute to over-the-top decadence. It features luscious banana/pineapple/coconut cake topped with a swirl of peanut butter buttercream and a drizzle of honey.What does vinegar do to cupcakes? ›
1 Vinegar makes cakes rise.
This is exactly the scientific reaction that happens when you let vinegar react with the baking soda in your cakes. When they combine, they release carbon dioxide, a gas that helps cakes and cupcakes rise as they bake.
- 1 Sprinkle with sugar. One of the easiest ways to make your cupcake or cake more appetizing is to just sprinkle on the sugar on top. ...
- 2 Add grated cheese. ...
- 3 Add a crunchy topping. ...
- 4 Make a frosting. ...
- 5 Pour on melted chocolate. ...
- 6 Leave it plain.
Unfrosted cupcakes will stay fresh for two days without refrigeration. However, if you plan to cover the cupcakes with frosting that requires refrigeration, you should wait to frost them until you are ready to serve them—within two days.Should cupcakes be cold before icing? ›
Allow to Cool Completely
Especially when I need to photograph a cupcake recipe! Decorating cupcakes before they are completely cool is, well, a recipe for disaster. The frosting will melt. Whenever I need a batch of cupcakes to cool down on the fly, I let them cool for 10 minutes inside the cupcake pan.
According to Monts, frosted cupcakes will stay fresh in the storage container for 3-4 days. In most cases, you can leave them on the counter, but if your cupcakes are filled with cream or topped with cream cheese frosting, you'll want to store them in the refrigerator.What is the secret to fluffy cupcakes? ›
"Baking fluffy, moist cupcakes is all about creating air bubbles in your batter that expand in the oven," she says. "If you overmix your batter, you collapse those bubbles and end up with a brick-like cake." Always mix on a low speed to avoid this, stopping just as all ingredients blend.