Christmas light cupcakes made with an embellished chocolate cake mix and the best vanilla buttercream frosting. Adorable for Christmas.
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.
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.
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.
Since 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.
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, you can also buy it online. 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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line two muffin tins with 18 paper liners.
- Add cupcake ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat well, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.
- Divide batter evenly between muffin tin. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
- Using a large round tip, pipe buttercream in a swirl onto the cupcakes. Draw a black line around the surface of the frosting. Stick M&Ms vertically into the side of the cupcakes.
I adapted this from With Sprinkles On Top.
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