Poinsettia Cupcakes

image of poinsettia cupcakes placed on a festive red cake stand

I had so much fun making my poinsettia cake, I decided to make matching poinsettia cupcakes!

They’re made with soft and tender peppermint cupcakes, and are frosted with homemade American buttercream.

image of poinsettia cupcakes placed on a festive red cake stand

Substitutions and Swaps – Peppermint Cupcakes

These poinsettia cupcakes use quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand. Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make.

  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend (be sure to also follow my tips below) or cake flour if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar, as it will change the texture of these cupcakes.
  • Melted Butter– You can also use any flavorless oil in this recipe. Canola or sunflower oil would work great!
  • Sour Cream – Full fat yogurt, buttermilk, or an alternative yogurt or milk (almond, soy, oat) if you’re dairy free can also be used.
  • 1 Large Egg – If you have an egg allergy you can use 2 flaxseed eggs instead or a vegan egg replacer like this made by Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Peppermint Extract – I like to add peppermint extract to these cupcakes to make them even more festive, but you can use any additional extract you want like almond or coconut, or omit it all together.
  • Red Gel Food Coloring – I like to color these cupcakes with gel food coloring! It create beautiful colors without throwing off the consistency of my batter. You can also use natural food coloring, but the colors won’t be as vibrant.

Substitutions and Swaps – Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for. You can also use vegan butter in its place!
  • Heavy Cream – Whole milk or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat, coconut) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Vanilla Extract – Other extracts can also be used in place of the vanilla extract. Feel free to use coconut extracthazelnut extract or even pistachio extract.
  • Gel Food Coloring – I like to color my frosting with gel food coloring! It create beautiful colors without throwing off the consistency of my frosting the way liquid food coloring can. You can also use natural food coloring, but the colors won’t be as vibrant.

Tips for Making The Best Poinsettia Cupcakes

  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Be sure you set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Mix your cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated. This will ensure your cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
  • Use a large cookie scoop to easily fill your cupcake liners. It also makes sure your cupcakes end up being the same height.
  • One batch of batter can be also be used to make one 8×8 inch Poinsettia sheet cake. Bake it at 325F for 33-38 minutes.
  • Use gel food coloring to create vibrant colors without throwing off the consistency of your frosting or batter.

Making These Poinsettia Cupcakes in Advance

You can make these cupcakes in advance! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for 2 days at room temperature or up to a week in the fridge.

These cupcakes can also last up to 3 months in the freezer. If you plan to freeze them, wait to frost them until they’re thawed.

You can also make your frosting ahead of time or save any leftovers. The buttercream frosting will last in the fridge for up to a month.

Be sure to give the frosting a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit at room temperature for a couple days or can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. However, like all baked goods these cupcakes taste best when they’re freshly baked!

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try making these poinsettia cupcakes, I’d love to hear what think of them! Please leave a rating and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment.

Also please tag me @chelsweets! Use the #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media.

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Yield: 12

Poinsettia Cupcakes

image of poinsettia cupcakes placed on a festive red cake stand

These poinsettia cupcakes are the perfect holiday cupcake! They're soft, fluffy and decorated with gorgeous buttercream poinsettias.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes

Ingredients

Peppermint Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (160 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (6 grams)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (125 grams)
  • 1/2 cup water (120 grams)
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted (56 grams)
  • 1 large egg, room temp (57 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract - optional (4 grams)
  • red gel food coloring - optional

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature (226 grams)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (8 grams)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (450 grams)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream) (75 grams)
  • red, green and yellow gel food coloring

Tools and Equipment Needed

Instructions

Peppermint Cupcakes

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.
  2. Add 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder into a large bowl and gently combine with a large spoon or whisk.
  3. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 large egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp of peppermint extract, and 1 squirt of red gel food coloring (optional). Whisk together until the ingredients are combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until just incorporated.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 way full. Bake for 18-19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, pop the pans into your freezer for about 30 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Beat 1 cup of room-temperature butter on a high speed for 30 seconds with a whisk attachment until smooth and lighter in color.
  2. Mix in 2 tsp vanilla extract on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Half way through add 1/3 cup of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix.
  4. Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. 
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
  6. Color 2/3 cup of frosting red with gel food coloring and place in a small piping bag fit with a small leaf tip.
  7. Color 1/2 cup of frosting green with gel food coloring and place in a small piping bag fit with a small leaf tip.
  8. Color 1/4 cup of frosting yellow with gel food coloring and place in a small piping bag fit with a small round piping tip.
  9. Place the remaining uncolored frosting in a large piping bag fit with a round frosting tip.
  10. Cover the top of each cupcake with the uncolored frosting, then pipe a poinsettia on top. Pipe the green leaves first, followed by two layers red petals. Fill in the center with small dots of yellow frosting.

Notes

This recipe can also be used to make mini poinsettia cupcakes! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, which only need to bake for 9-10 minutes.

Make these poinsettia cupcakes in advance!! If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for:

  • 1 day at room temperature
  • Up to a week in the fridge
  • Up to 3 months in the freezer

Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature overnight in an airtight container, but I find frosting them right before serving is best.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 489Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 82mgSodium 269mgCarbohydrates 62gFiber 1gSugar 49gProtein 3g

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