Easy Buttercream Reindeer Cupcakes

Christmas is a time for snow, reindeer, and PB&J cupcakes?! Yes, that’s right. When I was trying to think of the right flavor for these reindeer cupcakes, peanut butter was the front runner…and whenever I use peanut butter, jam usually follows suit. These cupcakes taste just as delicious as they look, and are sure to be a big hit at whatever holiday party you’re baking them for!! The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Peanut Butter Cupcake Batter (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction):

  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup your favorite peanut butter (chunk or smooth)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Filling: A jar of your favorite jam

Peanut Butter Buttercream:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Additional Decorations:

  • 12 tootsie rolls (antlers)
  • 12 pairs of eyes (can be eye sprinkles or homemade from fondant!)
  • brown and red M&Ms
  • brown sprinkles (mouth)
  • leave frosting tip
  • piping bags
  • brown gel food coloring

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Bake Time: 25 minutes

Decorations: 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake holders.

Begin by making the peanut butter cupcake batter. Cream together the peanut butter, butter, and brown sugar at a medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix in half the flour mixture, then add in the buttermilk.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, until just combined. Be careful not to overmix!! The batter should be pretty thick.

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Use a cookie scoop to divide batter evenly between 12 cupcake tins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Place the muffin tins into the freezer for 20 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture of the cupcakes.

While the cupcakes cool, make the peanut butter buttercream! Beat the butter and peanut butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until combined. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Place 1/3 of the frosting into a piping bag, and cut a 1.5 cm opening. Add a few drops of brown gel food coloring to the remaining frosting, and place into a piping bag, cutting a 1 inch opening.

Next, prepare the antlers! To make each pair of antlers, heat 2 unwrapped tootsie tolls in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, until they just being to melt. They should be warm to the touch and easy to mold. If they are to hot to handle. Let them cool for 30 seconds – 1 minutes, then try to handle them again. Shape the tootsie rolls into two logs, about 1.5 inches long. use a small knife to cut into the logs, to shape the spikes of the antlers. Set aside on parchment paper to cool.  Be sure the antlers are fully hardened before inserting into the cupcakes.

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Once the cupcakes are full cooled, remove the centers with a knife and fill with your favorite jam. Place the top of each cutout on top of the jam, then pipe a swirl of brown peanut butter frosting onto each cupcake.

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Using the lighter peanut butter frosting, pipe a small circle on one side of the cupcakes to be the reindeer’s snout. Use an offset spatula to smooth the buttercream.

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Place a red or brown M&M on top of the snout, and a brown sprinkle to be the mouth. Add on the eyes just above the snout, and then insert the antlers into the top of the cupcakes.

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Use some of the remaining brown frosting and a leaf tip to pipe small ears. Freeze the ears, then quickly place them on the sides of the antlers. Then the cupcakes are ready to enjoy! While these cupcakes may be cute, they’re even more fun to eat 🙂

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Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Around the holidays I’m always inspired by all the beautiful pies I see on social media! While I am by no means a pie expert, these cupcakes help satisfy my pumpkin pie aspirations, through a different medium. They’re made with a pumpkin cupcake batter, filled with a no-bake pumpkin pie filling, and frosted with a buttercream “crust.” The recipe and a quick tutorial are included below:

Pumpkin Cupcake Batter

  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Pumpkin Pie Filling: 

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients: 

  • 4 sticks or 2 cups (434 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups (907 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 grams) heavy cream
  • 3 tsp (12 grams) vanilla
  • yellow and brown food coloring

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Place the flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice into a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Add in the oil and pumpkin, and stir until incorporated. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add a squirt of orange gel food coloring, and stir until the batter is evenly colored.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the pumpkin pie filling. Pour one cup of cold heavy cream into a medium sized bowl, and whisk in 1 package of vanilla pudding mix. Whisk until the mixture is smooth, then add in 1 cup of pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and cinnamon. Mix until fully incorporated. Add a small squirt of orange gel food coloring if desired, to achieve a more vibrant shade of orange. Chill in the fridge.

Next, make the “pie crust” frosting! Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.  Add in a tiny bit of brown and yellow food coloring, to achieve a tan shade that resembles a pie crust. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Once the cupcakes are baked and fully cooled, use a small knife to remove the centers of the cupcakes. I cut out a large portion of the cupcake, so that I could fit in a lot of the pumpkin pie filling, but this is a matter of preference.

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Fill the centers with the chilled pumpkin pie mixture, the smooth the tops using an offset spatula. Place half of the frosting in a piping bag with a wilton 103 tip, and the rest into a bag with a small round opening.

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Pipe a variety of lattice designs and crusts onto the cupcakes. Below are the designs I made!

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You can pipe your favorite pie decorations, and also can modify this recipe to make different pie flavored cupcakes 🙂

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Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes

I know, red wine AND dark chocolate?? WHAT?? This is one combo you’re just going to have to trust me on. The deep flavors of the dark chocolate and red wine pair surprisingly well together, and it’s just an added bonus that you can pour yourself a glass of the leftover red wine while making these. This recipe is perfect for these chilly fall evenings, and for the Holiday season! The full recipe can be found below:

Chocolate Red Wine Cupcake Batter (inspired by Sally’s amazing chocolate cupcake recipe):

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup your favorite red wine (I used a bottle of cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Red Wine Buttercream:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp red wine
  • red and black gel food coloring

Dark Chocolate Red Wine Ganache:

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp red wine

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 19-20 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line cupcake tins with 12 liners.

Begin by making the red wine chocolate cupcake batter. Add dry ingredients into a bowl, and whisk together. Combine buttermilk, eggs, wine, and oil in a separate bowl, and mix into the dry ingredients in two installments. Stir until the ingredients are fully combined, then scoop equal amounts into liners using a cookie scoop (fill about 1/2 way, they will rise!). Bake for 19-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack.

While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the red wine frosting. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the cream and red wine during this process.  Once fully mixed, add in the

salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. Add a few squirts of red gel food coloring, and the smallest drop of black gel food coloring. Mix until the color is evenly distributed, and is a deep red shade. Place into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip.

Next, prepare the red wine chocolate ganache. Place chopped dark chocolate and heavy cream into a heat proof bowl, and heat in microwave for 30 seconds at full heat. Stir, then heat for an additional 30 seconds. Stir again, then heat for 15 seconds. Let the mixture sit for about 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Add in the red wine, then set aside.

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Remove the centers from the fully cooled cupcakes using a 1 inch circle cutter or cupcake corer. Fill the center fully with a spoonful of red wine chocolate ganache.

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Frost with a large swirl of red wine frosting. Warm up any leftover ganache for 30 seconds to make it more fluid, then drizzle the leftover ganache over the top of the cupcakes.

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I also added a wine shaped pipette into the cupcakes, filled with wine. Because you can never have too much wine 😛

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Cinnamon Fireball Cupcakes

I had my first taste of fireball when I was 19, and it had a lasting impression. It’s a flavored whiskey liquor that tastes just like a liquid red hot. For some reason I’ve always associated fireball with the Fall, so it seemed like the right time to whip up some fireball-inspired cinnamon cupcakes! There’s fireball in both the cupcake batter, and the buttercream frosting, and the cupcakes are topped with a fireball pipette. The full recipe can be found below:

Fireball Cinnamon Cupcake Batter:

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup fireball

Fireball Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fireball
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • optional: yellow and orange gel food coloring

Yield: 12-14 regular cupcakes, about 40 mini cupcakes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 17 minutes for regular cupcakes, 9-10 minutes for mini cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. Next, add in the fireball, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Next, mix in the egg until well combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 way full, and bake for 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Once cooled, poke holes into each cupcake using a fork, and drizzle fireball (1/2 – 1 tsp per cupcake) over each cupcake.

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While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the vanilla frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the fireball half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in some additional fireball (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

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Color 1/2 of the frosting yellow, 1/4 orange, and leave 1/4 of the frosting uncolored. Place into piping bags fitted with a Wilton 1M tip (open star), and pipe swirls of each color onto the cupcakes. I matched the color pattern of  candy corn, but you can pipe them however you want!!

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The last step is to add a pipette of fireball into the side of each cupcake. Then it’s time to enjoy (responsibly!) 😛

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Halloween Cupcake Ideas: Round 2

I had so much making my last batch of Halloween cupcakes, I decided to make another!! This batch features a couple iconic cupcake designs, including an homage to Frankenstein, and the classic shattered glass cupcake (inspired by this recipe). These decorations don’t require fancy tips or difficult techniques, but you will need a bit of gel food coloring, and a candy thermometer! I made them using a super moist spice cupcake recipe, and frosted them using my american buttercream frosting! The recipes used can be found below, along with a quick tutorial:

Spice Cupcake Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup (162g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (212g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Vanilla American Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Orange, yellow, black and green gel food coloring

Edible Glass Shards:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • candy thermometer

Additional Supplies:

  • Tootsie Rolls
  • piping bags
  • brown and red sprinkles
  • candy eyes
  • Halloween sprinkle blend
  • strawberry jam
  • red food coloring

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) and place cupcake liners in baking pans.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and gently mix. Add the buttermilk, and gently stir until just combined. Next, add in the water, vanilla, and  vegetable oil, and mix until the batter comes together. Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Next, stir in the egg until well combined.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter on medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add the heavy cream half way through. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

To make the edible glass shards,  mix 1 cup water, 1/2 cup corn syrup, sugar, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan or pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Use a candy thermometer and boil sugar syrup until temperature reaches 300 degrees, stirring constantly. It’s super important that you get the mixture to exactly 300 degrees, and immediately remove from the heat one it does. If it doesn’t reach this temperature, it won’t fully harden, and you won’t be able to smash it into smaller shards. If it gets hotter than this, or if you don’t stir if constantly, the mixture can begin to caramelize and gain a yellowish hue. When sugar reaches 300 degrees, quickly pour onto a metal baking pan. Cool until completely firm to the touch. Break into “shards” using a hard object (I sterilized a hammer for this, but a meat mallet would work too!).

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For the shattered glass cupcake design, remove the center from each cupcake. I like to use a 1 inch circle cutter. In a medium bowl, mix together strawberry jam with 1 squirt of gel food coloring. Fill each cupcake with strawberry jam, and pipe white frosting over the jam. Stick glass shards into the frosting, and then drizzle some of the remaining red jam between the shards.

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To make the candy corn swirl cupcake, color a portion of the frosting yellow, and orange. Fit three piping bags with a Wilton 1M (open star) tip, and fill bags with the yellow, orange and white buttercream. Pipe the first, largest frosting swirl with the yellow buttercream. Add a second, smaller swirl with the orange frosting, and add a small finishing swirl on top with the white buttercream.

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To create the Frankenstein cupcakes, frost cupcakes with a mound of bright green buttercream. Dunk into chocolate jimmies, and leave one side of the frosting uncovered by sprinkles. Add candy eyes, a red sprinkle stitch, and a brown sprinkle mouth. Cut each tootsie rolls into 8 equal pieces, and shape small neck bolts. Stick into the sides of the frosting.

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To make the gothic halloween swirl cupcakes, pipe a mound of white buttercream onto each cupcake. Dunk into a Halloween sprinkle blend. I love using blends from Neon Yolk Shop.  Pipe a swirl of black frosting on top of the sprinkles, using a wilton 1M tip. Top with some orange sanding sugar.

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And that’s how you make all four designs!! I had a hard time picking my favorite, but I think I like the shattered glass cupcakes the best 🙂

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Halloween-Inspired Pumpkin Cupcakes

It’s finally October, and I couldn’t resist whipping up some easy Halloween cupcakes!! These decorations don’t require any fancy tips or difficult techniques, but you will need a bit of gel food coloring! I made them using a super moist pumpkin cupcake recipe, and frosted them using a cream cheese buttercream frosting! The recipes used can be found below:

Pumpkin Cupcake Batter

  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp  vanilla
  • Orange and green gel food coloring

Additional Supplies:

  • Tootsie Rolls
  • piping bags

Bake time: 17 minutes

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Place the flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice into a large bowl. Gently stir to combine. Add in the oil and pumpkin, and stir until incorporated. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add a squirt of orange gel food coloring, and stir until the batter is evenly colored.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, and bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can also place the cupcakes in the freezer for 15 minutes.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). To watch a full tutorial on how I make my frosting, you can click here.

Color 1/6 of the frosting green, and color the remaining portion orange using gel food coloring. Place both colors into piping bags. Trim a 1 cm opening for the orange frosting, and 1/2 centimeter opening for the green frosting.

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Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, pipe orange panels onto the top of the cupcake. Cut tootsie rolls in half, and create score marks on the sides of the tootsie rolls using the edge of an offset spatula. Press them into the top edge of the cupcake, to be the pumpkin stump.

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Use the green frosting to pipe vines and leaves around the base on the pumpkin stump.

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I also used this recipe to also make a few other types of spooky Halloween cupcakes!

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You can watch the full tutorial here: