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Christmas Light Cupcakes

Christmas light cupcakes made with an embellished chocolate cake mix and the best vanilla buttercream frosting. Adorable for Christmas. Christmas Light Cupcakes

I was watching the Holiday Baking Championship and one of the contestants made a cake with Christmas lights all around it. It was the cutest thing. She pushed an M&M into the cake on its side so it had a 3D effect. I loved it and it inspired these Christmas light cupcakes. I made these for the kid’s bake sale at school and they were a hit. This technique is so simple, and has a big impact. So easy that the kids can do it. I absolutely love how these turned out and they also tasted great. A peeve of mine is when something is really cute, but the taste doesn’t measure up.
Christmas Light Cupcakes

I really like to decorate cupcakes more than cookies. I love the way cookies look, they can be works of art, I’m just not patient enough to do them. They take forever. A cupcake is so much faster and can be adorable. You could tint the frosting green and add a star to the top to make it a Christmas tree. So many possibilities.

Christmas Light Cupcakes

I used an embellished cake mix recipe and my favorite vanilla buttercream. I normally make my cakes from scratch, but I ran out of cocoa. It was 10pm and I didn’t feel like running to the store. I looked through my pantry and found a box of milk chocolate cake mix. My husband thought these were the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. Figures. The recipe is below and you can use it for any flavor of cake, just make sure to match your mix to the pudding.

Christmas Light CupcakesSince they were for the bake sale, I also needed to think about how to package them so they would be just as cute when they made it home. I put each cupcake into a clear plastic cocktail glass. This keeps them from getting smooshed. I put the cup inside a clear plastic bag that I got at the craft store and tied it with a cute ribbon. So easy and it looks really nice. For a bake sale, the presentation is important. You want people to buy your treats.

Christmas Light Cupcakes

Edited to add – I’ve had quite a few questions about the black frosting. I bought mine at the grocery store in the baking aisle. It comes in a pouch or a can (like a bottle of hair product) and has little plastic tips. I used the round tip and piped it around the cupcake. You can always make your own, but I think that making black is difficult and looks more grey than true black. 

Print

Christmas Light Cupcakes

  • Yield: 18 cupcakes

Description

Christmas light cupcakes made with an embellished cake mix recipe and the best vanilla buttercream recipe ever. This cake recipe works for any kind of mix you like, just make sure to match your pudding to the mix.


Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 box milk chocolate cake mix
  • 1 small box chocolate instant-pudding mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To decorate:


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two muffin tins with 18 paper liners.
  2. Add cupcake ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat well, about 3 minutes, scrapping the bowl occassionally.
  3. Divide batter evenly between muffin tin. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  4. Using a large round tip, pipe buttercream in a swril onto the cupcakes. Draw a black line around the surface of the frosting. Stick M&Ms vertically into the side of the cupcakes.

Notes

I adapted this from With Sprinkles On Top.

 

Christmas Light Cupcakes

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  1. June @ How to Philosophize with Cake

    December 20th, 2015 at 9:37 am

    What an adorable idea! Those cupcakes are so cute, and I’ll bet they’re delicious too 🙂

  2. bakedbree

    December 21st, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Thanks June!

  3. Liya

    December 2nd, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Do you have to use the pudding mix? i can’t find any at the stores.

  4. bakedbree

    December 5th, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    No, you can leave it out. It just adds moisture.

  5. Piper@GotItCookIt

    December 20th, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    These are darling, such a simple idea! Love it.

    Just one little typo duplication where two paragraphs are the same… I sometimes do it too, by mistake, so I thought I would give you a heads up.

  6. bakedbree

    December 21st, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Thank you! I’ll fix it now.

  7. Terri

    December 20th, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Just wanted to tell you these are just about the cutest things I have ever seen!! Can’t wait to try them, you’re kicked up version of cake mix sounds great. Also the packaging is so smart. Love it all 🙂

  8. bakedbree

    December 21st, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Thank you Terri!

  9. Krisztina Williams

    December 21st, 2015 at 10:55 am

    This is sooo adorable, and I love that it doesn’t look too complicated either. I can’t wait to make it with my girls this week.:)

    ~Krisztina
    https://www.krisztinawilliams.com

  10. bakedbree

    December 29th, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you! Have fun making these!

  11. Courtney

    December 22nd, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Hi! These look so adorable! What brand cake mix do you think goes the best with your embellished recipe? Do you prefer a certain one? Can’t wait to make these!

  12. bakedbree

    December 29th, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I don’t have a preference, usually whatever is on sale. If I had to pick one, I would say Betty Crocker seems to be the one I use the most.

  13. valerie

    December 23rd, 2015 at 11:34 am

    I have 2 questions. One is are these standard size cupcakes? The other and this one I have asked others as well. Is there a special cupcake liner you use to prevent the liners from fading? I have used many and the liners always seem to fade.

  14. bakedbree

    December 29th, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Standard size cupcakes. And they make bleed-proof cupcake liners now. I got them at Michael’s or Target.

  15. Isabella Melone

    December 28th, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Do you add everything with the boxed chocolate cake mix, or are we using just the powder and then go on to the next ingredients?

  16. bakedbree

    December 29th, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Dump it all in at the same time and let the mixer do the work.

  17. Lacie

    August 12th, 2016 at 12:14 am

    These cupcakes are about the cutest thing I’ve seen for Christmas! I just adore them! You did good! I spotted this idea on Pinterest and I must repin!

  18. bakedbree

    August 21st, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks for the pin!

  19. Kayla Bird

    September 7th, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    So Yummy.. Perfect wintertime snacks

  20. bakedbree

    September 7th, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    Thank you! These taste really good too.

  21. Poppy

    October 26th, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Will the color of the m&m run after a fashion?

  22. bakedbree

    November 8th, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I made this the day before I served them and it didn’t. I probably wouldn’t do it much earlier than that.

  23. Emily

    November 6th, 2016 at 8:03 am

    I’ve also found candy coated sunflower seeds in bright colors that would work for lights 🙂 so cute!

  24. bakedbree

    November 8th, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    They would work. Have fun making these!

  25. lana jurgens

    November 7th, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    what is used to make a black line???? these are so cleaver

  26. bakedbree

    November 8th, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Packaged black frosting. It is listed in the ingredients.

  27. Wendy

    November 12th, 2016 at 4:46 am

    I can’t wait to make these. I am always in a hurry and need quick, delicious, creative desserts. These sound perfect for our Lion Club Christmas party. I love Chocolate Eclair cake! It is easy and delicious!,Always a hit at events! Thanks!

  28. bakedbree

    November 15th, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    These will also be a hit!

  29. Nancy

    November 14th, 2016 at 12:27 am

    How did you put the frosting on the cupcake?
    These are so cute! Want to make them with my granddaughters.

  30. bakedbree

    November 15th, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Piping bag fitted with a large, round tip.

  31. Debomatic

    November 25th, 2016 at 2:55 am

    I love this idea!! I question the premise black icing, though. Does it come in a small tube (about 4″ or 5″ long) so that the black line comes out thin?

  32. Debomatic

    November 25th, 2016 at 2:56 am

    I meant “pre-made” icing

  33. bakedbree

    November 27th, 2016 at 10:20 am

    It comes in a tube and you can buy little plastic tips for it.

  34. Gina Gutierrez

    November 26th, 2016 at 3:56 am

    These cupcakes are so adorable! But I must ask you again I know its listed but I don’t know your talking about packaged frosting? Do you mean frosting in canisters that have a tip on their already?

  35. bakedbree

    November 27th, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Yes, I bought pre-colored black frosting, they sell it at the grocery store.

  36. Shirley phares

    December 1st, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Not in canisters but in little tubes.

  37. bakedbree

    December 5th, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Exactly.

  38. Toni

    November 27th, 2016 at 3:08 am

    These are adorable! I’m planning to make them for Christmas this year. However, I was wondering if these are mini cupcakes, or regular sized ones? 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂

  39. bakedbree

    November 27th, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Regular sized.

  40. Di

    November 30th, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    What do you do with the pudding mix? I see it listed but not in the directions.

  41. bakedbree

    December 5th, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    With the dry ingredients.

  42. Arlene M. Puliafico

    December 1st, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Instead of M&M’s, I am going to use small jelly beans. Can’t wait to make these for my Christmas guests. Thanks

  43. bakedbree

    December 5th, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    That will be cute.

  44. Beth

    December 3rd, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Made them today for a Christmas party tonight. Didn’t come out as nice as yours but I’m pleased with them. Wish I could attach a picture! Thanks for the ideas!

  45. bakedbree

    December 5th, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I’m sure they were adorable.

  46. Nsncy

    December 5th, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I thought maybe it was string black licorice, for the cord.

  47. bakedbree

    December 6th, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Nope, it’s frosting.

  48. Angelina McCune

    December 6th, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    When do you add sour cream? Im a little confused because you only mentioned the cake mix. And then the frosting.

  49. bakedbree

    December 6th, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    You put all of the cake ingredients in together. Just like when you make a cake mix.

  50. Candace

    December 12th, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Could you use cream cheese instead of sour cream?

  51. bakedbree

    December 13th, 2016 at 9:56 am

    In the batter? I don’t think so. I’d just skip it if you don’t have it.

  52. CANDACE

    December 13th, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    WHAT ABOUT GREEK YOGURT?

  53. bakedbree

    December 13th, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I guess? I don’t like the way that it tastes, so I wouldn’t. But if you want to try it, go ahead and see what happens.

  54. CC

    December 13th, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Hi. I don’t have a stand mixer for the frosting. Can it be done with a hand mixer? Thank you! Looking forward to making them.

  55. bakedbree

    December 13th, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Of course!

  56. Katie

    December 13th, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I have a question, how long does it make all together? I’m making some for both sides of my family and for the children in our church congregation.

  57. bakedbree

    December 13th, 2016 at 9:59 am

    It takes a little bit longer than normal cupcakes because of putting on the candy lights, but not super labor intensive. It’s a great job if you have kid helpers.

  58. Patricia

    December 13th, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Silly question about the packaging: How did people “eat” the cupcakes? Did they attempt to dump it out of the clear plastic cup OR did they use a fork and eat the cupcake from the cup?

  59. bakedbree

    December 13th, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    You can just lift them out.

  60. Bronwen

    December 13th, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    These are so cute!! I was just wondering if you used mini m&m’s or just regular ones?

  61. bakedbree

    December 13th, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    I used the regular size.

  62. Jamie

    December 15th, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Ha! Just saw this comment LOL….

  63. Jamie

    December 15th, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Hello! Just found your website through Pinterest. I am making these for a “dessert contest” at a company party my husband is having tomorrow. Can you settle our argument about whether those are regular sized M&Ms or mini M&Ms? Also, I like to adapt box mixes similarly to yours — “matching” pudding mix, yes! — and then I add three eggs, 1 cup of oil and 1 cup of ginger ale! They’re ALWAYS amazing and I get compliments all the time about how moist and delicious they are. A nice combo is strawberry cake mix with cheesecake flavored pudding mix!

  64. Joan

    December 17th, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    This recipe looks so cute! Going to make them to bring to Christmas Eve. Couldn’t find icing in a can with tips so will try with black writing gel by Cake Mate also found in the grocery store baking aisle. Think it will work fine.

  65. bakedbree

    December 18th, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    It should work perfectly.

  66. Maria

    December 23rd, 2016 at 6:49 am

    These are the most delicious cupcakes! I made them for my daughters Christmas party at school and swore I will never make plain old box cupcakes ever again. I am not a buttercream fan, but this buttercream is perfect. Recipe perfection. Thank you!

  67. bakedbree

    December 23rd, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I’m glad that you like it so much! Merry Christmas!

  68. valerie

    February 4th, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    I had a question I made these with chocolate pudding and they came out great. I was wondering if adding the vanilla extract to a lemon cake/pudding mix will change the flavor much?

  69. Giftcards2Canada.com

    June 15th, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    This is such a sweet idea! What a neat idea to put them into individual cups. Thanks for sharing!

  70. bakedbree

    July 23rd, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    It really helps deliver them safely and still cute!

  71. Asad @ My Quirky Creation

    September 21st, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I can assure that this cupcakes are very sweet and delicious. Perfect treat for Christmas!

  72. bakedbree

    October 2nd, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Thank you! I love this recipe too.

  73. Noreen

    October 26th, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Hi I was reading the previous comments the chocolate instant-pudding mix is used to add moisture. If I bought a cake mix that is already moist supreme do i still need to put pudding? If yes how many cups? (Since I also bought a pudding mix). Thank you! 🙂

  74. bakedbree

    October 30th, 2017 at 6:32 am

    You don’t have to. I actually made this over the weekend and didn’t use pudding mix and it was still really moist and held up to a few days of decorating.

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  77. Sandy

    November 27th, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Hi! These are so cute. I need to make mini cupcakes for a children’s event. Can I just use everything the same except use mini M&M’s?

  78. bakedbree

    December 2nd, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Exactly! These sold out so fast, they were a HIT!

  79. Danielle

    December 2nd, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Great recipe! Thank you! Do you refrigerate because of buttercream frosting?

  80. bakedbree

    December 2nd, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    You don’t have to, but I like to.

  81. 12 creative Christmas recipes

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  82. LilyBeth

    December 10th, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    These are so cute. Have you had any issues with the m&m colors bleeding into the white icing? I would like to make and decorate for school tomorrow, but I am worried about bleeding…

  83. bakedbree

    December 10th, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    No, I made these for a bake sale, and they were fine and there was no bleeding at all.

  84. Juanita

    December 11th, 2017 at 2:41 am

    Hi. I just made these. They are so cute and easy peasy. Thanks for the idea! I have some of the buttercream frosting left over. How long will it last in the fridge?

  85. bakedbree

    December 12th, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    You are welcome! A few days, or you can freeze it, but you will need to re-whip it a bit. A hand mixer does the job.

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  106. hugh

    December 21st, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Is it possible to use the brown M + Ms and just say the lights arent plugged in ? Also wont the icing run when these are defrosted for presenting ?

  107. bakedbree

    December 21st, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    You can do whatever you like. And no, it doesn’t.

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  110. Angela

    December 27th, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    I made these for our Christmas party, and they were a hit! So moist and delicious, and so, so cute! I added food coloring to the frosting to make some red, some green, and some white (I used canned frosting). I will try the buttercream frosting next. Thanks so much!

  111. bakedbree

    January 1st, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    I am so glad! The cupcakes also work for cake and I made it three times this season. It’s the best recipe.

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