Festive Holiday Cupcakes: Recipes to Celebrate the Season

They’re small. They’re sweet. They help make the holidays complete. We love cupcakes! In honor of National Cupcake Day, here are some cupcake recipes that we hope you will love!

Red Velvet

YIELDS: 18

INGREDIENTS FOR CUPCAKES

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. red gel food coloring
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 c. buttermilk

INGREDIENTS for Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 c. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 5 c. confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS for cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda & salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add sugar and oil and whisk over medium speed until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk again over medium speed, until just incorporated. Add food coloring and whisk until well incorporated.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup or other small bowl, stir together vinegar and buttermilk.
  4. To sugar and egg mixture, alternate adding flour mixture on low speed and buttermilk mixture until just combined, starting and ending with flour mixture.
  5. Line two cupcake pans with enough liners for 18 cupcakes. Fill each two-thirds of the way with batter (for ease, use a cookie or ice cream scoop).
  6. Bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean, 16 to 20 minutes total. Remove and transfer to a baking rack. Let cool completely.
  7. To serve, pipe cupcakes with a generous amount of Cream Cheese Frosting. Sprinkles/additional decoration optional.

DIRECTIONS for Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and butter, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed, until completely smooth.
    Add vanilla and beat to incorporate.
  2. Turn off mixer and sift in confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time; beat on low speed to start, then increase speed to medium to incorporate each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue adding sugar and mixing until frosting is completely smooth.

Chocolate Peppermint

YIELDS: 12

INGREDIENTS FOR CUPCAKES

  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer

INGREDIENTS for Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons Peppermint Mocha coffee creamer

Optional Ingredients:

1/4 cup of strong coffee – add to cake batter to enhance the chocolate flavor.
Smashed peppermint candies – Sprinkle on top of frosted cupcakes for a more intense peppermint taste!

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375° F. Line a 12 cupcake pan with baking paper cups.
    Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, with the paddle attachment, add the eggs, oil, sugar, and peppermint extract. Beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Gently stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the coffee creamer.
  5. Mix until just combined. The batter will be thin and runny!
  6. Using a large ice-cream scoop, divide the cake batter between the prepared baking cups.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 23 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Once the cupcakes are cooled, make the frosting.
  10. In a mixing bowl, with the paddle attachment on, add the butter and cream cheese.
  11. Beat on low speed until light and fluffy.
  12. Gently, about 1/2 cup at a time, stir in the powdered sugar followed by the cocoa powder.
  13. Stir in the peppermint extract and enough coffee creamer to reach desired consistency.
  14. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and decorate the cupcakes.
  15. Optional: Sprinkle slivers of peppermint candies on top of frosted cupcakes for a more intense peppermint taste!

Christmas Tree Cones

YIELDS: 12

Ingredients for Yellow Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  2 teaspoons baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup butter, slightly softened
  •  1 1/2 cups white sugar
  •  4 whole eggs
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  3/4 cup milk

YIELDS: 12

Ingredients for Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, optional

Ingredients For frosting and trees

(If making both Chocolate & Yellow cupcakes, double these ingredients)

  • 12 sugar cones
  • 2 lbs confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Green food coloring
  • Optional Ingredients:
  • Confectioner’s sugar (for sifting “snow”)
  • Red food coloring

Ornament shaped sprinkles of choice

  • Candy of choice to fill ice cream cone
  • Marshmallow cream to fill ice cream cone

Directions For the Cake

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Add paper liners to cupcake tin.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients, including sugar, together in a bowl. 
  3. Whisk together the “wet” ingredients in a small bowl. You can add in 1/2 cup of melted butter for extra rich cupcakes but it’s not a must.
  4. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture while the mixer is running on low. Mix for a minute or less.
  5. Scoop about three tablespoons for each cupcake. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until the center is set.

Directions For the Frosting

  1. Cream the butter. Add the sugar and mix on high. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. 
  2. In a separate bowl add about half of the frosting and the green food coloring, mix until combined and desired color achieved. 
  3. (If you want to use red frosting to make “ornaments” on the tree, reserve a little of the remaining white frosting. You won’t need very much compared to the green and white)

Directions For the Assembly

  1. Cover the cupcake in white frosting. It doesn’t have to be smooth, a bit of texture will make it look more like snow. 
  2. Use a spatula to apply a thin layer of green buttercream to the surface of the cone. This will help the dollops you apply stick to the cone better as well as making the trees totally green (in case your dollops don’t give full coverage).
  3. *Optional: You can fill the ice cream cone with candy or marshmallow cream and then place on the cupcake.
  4. Use a number 30 tip to pipe star-shaped dollops onto the surface of the cone beginning at the bottom and working to the top. If you don’t have a tip, just cut the very tip off of the piping bag to make individual strands.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Optional ways to decorate your trees:

  • Sift confectioners’ sugar onto the cupcake to simulate snow.
  • Pipe ornaments on with red frosting.
  • Add your choice of sprinkles to look like ornaments
    (a star on top for example).
  • *As a fun surprise, fill the ice cream cones with candy or marshmallow cream. It’s like a gift within a gift!