These Christmas Light Cupcakes are made with an embellished chocolate cake mix and the best vanilla buttercream frosting. They are adorable for Christmas and perfect for bake sales.
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 used an embellished cake mix recipe and my favorite vanilla buttercream. I normally make my cakes from scratch, but I ran out of cocoa.
Gather together milk chocolate cake mix, chocolate instant pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water, sour cream and vanilla extract.
For the decorative Christmas string lights, you will need vanilla buttercream (store-bought or homemade), black frosting and m&m’s.
Cake Mix. Boxed cake mix is the secret ingredient. And saves so much time in the kitchen. Use any flavor you have on hand.
Instant Pudding Mix. The second secret ingredient that really makes this holiday cupcake recipe shine. Make sure to match the pudding mix to the cake mix flavor.
M&Ms. I kept it simple with regular m&m’s. You can also buy Christmas m&m’s, peanut, peanut butter, dark chocolate, crisp or pretzel.
How To Make // The Steps
This is a chocolate cupcake recipe, but you can use it for any flavor of cake. All it takes is one bowl, an electric mixer and two cupcake pans. Simply:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin tins with 18 paper liners.
- Add all cupcake ingredients in the order listed 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.
Christmas Cupcake Ideas //
So many possibilities. For some more festive holiday flair, try:
- Christmas Trees: Tint the frosting green. Place a mini sugar cone in the center of each cupcake and pipe the frosting with a star tip around the cone. Add a star or white mints to the top to make it a Christmas tree.
- Christmas Wreaths: Tint half the frosting green and leave the other half white. Smooth a layer of white frosting on top of each cupcake, then dot green frosting around the outer edge of the cupcake to form a wreath. Decorate with sprinkles.
- Mini Christmas Cupcakes: Bake in mini cupcake tins and frost as directed for cute, pop-in-your-mouth treats.
Decorative, Festive & Kid-Friendly Recipe
This technique is so simple and has a big impact. So easy that the kids can do it. Prep the cupcakes and frosting 1-2 days in advance, if necessary.
I absolutely love how these turned out and they also tasted great.
Package for School Bake Sales
I made these for the kid’s bake sale at school and they were a hit.
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.
Top Tips for Christmas Light Cupcakes:
- Match the cake mix to the pudding mix. This really brings out the chocolate or vanilla flavor.
- Purchase ready-made black frosting. 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 greyer than true black.
- Use your favorite m&m’s. Try Christmas m&m’s, peanut, peanut butter, dark chocolate, crisp or pretzel.
- Get the kids in the kitchen. This easy cupcake recipe is so simple, even the kids can do it. Prep all the ingredients so they can decorate to their heart’s desire.
- Package for a school bake sale. Place into clear cocktail glasses, then place them into small cellophane bags. Tie with a pretty ribbon. These cupcakes are sure to sell out fast.
More Christmas Dessert Recipes //
- Christmas Treasure Cookies
- Christmas Dove Cookies
- Grinch Who Stole Christmas Cupcakes
- Christmas Chocolate Bark
- Christmas Stollen Scones
Originally published in December 2015, updated August 2020 with updated images and updated recipe card.