Santa Cupcakes

These delicious chocolate cupcakes topped with cute little Santas made with buttercream will bring holiday cheer to the table and delight your guests!

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My little Santa cupcakes are decorated with buttercream, two mini chocolate chips for the eyes and a red M&M for the nose. SO simple, easy and best of all, NO FONDANT!! They taste even better than they look!

PRO TIPS FOR THE BEST SANTA CUPCAKES

  • You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
  • If you prefer your frosting to be less sweet then try whipping up a batch of Swiss or Italian buttercream. Silky smooth and delicious!
  • Don’t have a star tip? Just snip the end off a piping bag and it will work pretty well.
  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
  • If you want to whip ip an AMAZING batch of vanilla cupcakes for this instead try my moist vanilla cupcake recipe!
  • Adding 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the cupcake batter and or the buttercream will give a festive kiss of mintyness to this dessert!

A close up phot showing a santa cupcake surrounded by Christmas lights

Who could say no to this face?!? Using mini chocolate chips for eyes is a wonderfully simple way to make faces on desserts without things looking creepy. Check out my Easter bunny cupcakes if you don’t believe me 🙂

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CAN I MAKE THESE CUPCAKES WITHOUT A PIPING TIP?

YES! Snip the tip off of a piping bag or plastic bag then pipe the white buttercream. You can either sprinkle some sugar onto the white parts or use a fort to add some texture.

WHAT KIND OF COCOA POWDER SHOULD YOU USE?

I love using a high-quality Dutch processed cocoa powder. Dutch processed cocoa powder is darker, less acidic and fudgier in baked goods. You’ll usually get less rise out of it though. My go to company is Valrhona but there are lots of great brands out there, including Callebaut, Ghirardelli and lots of organic and fair trade options too!

WHAT’S THE BEST FROSTING FOR THESE CUPCAKES?

I think American is the easiest to work with when making these cupcakes but you can definitely use Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream for them. The meringue-based buttercreams will be less sweet, a bit creamier but also softer so dealing with them can be a challenge.

HOW TO MAKE SANTA CUPCAKES

Wet and dry ingredients for Santa cupcakes getting mixed separately.

1. For the cupcakes; preheat the oven to 350 degrees and add papers to a cupcake tin. Start off by sifting the dry ingredients with the sugar into a bowl and whisk together until combined.

2. Add the milk, sour cream  into a large bowl and whisk them together.

Wet and dry ingredients for Santa cupcakes getting combined.

3. Add the wet ingredients into the stand mixer with the dry ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth.

4. Distribute batter evenly into the cupcake papers and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow time for these cupcakes to cool before decorating.

Buttercream for Santa Cupcakes getting mixed.

5. For the vanilla buttercream; beat the butter until light and fluffy in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sift the confectioners sugar into the creamed butter and add the vanilla, salt, and milk.

6. Divide the buttercream into three batches. One will remain uncolored, one will be red and the other flesh tone (whichever color you prefer for that is fine!

Sana cupcakes getting decorated with buttercream.

7. Use a small spatula or knife to smear and smooth some of the flesh-toned buttercream across the centre of the cupcake.

8. Smear red buttercream onto the top third of the cupcake. I also spread another layer diagonally from the lower right to the upper left for the fold of Santa’s hat.

A star tip piping buttercream to make santa cupcakes.

9. Use a star tip to pipe a dollop of white buttercream for the end of Santa’s hat.

10. Now use the same tip and wiggle it across the cupcake to create the hat’s trim.

Chocolate chip eyes and a buttercream beard being added to a Santa cupcake.

9. Add the two mini chocolate chips pointy side down for the eyes.

10. Pipe the beard with the star tip using a loopy motion to give some gentle texture to the facial hair. Use a red M&M (logo side down) for the nose.

A photo of a Santa cupcake being dipped in sanding sugar

For a little extra sparkle try dipping the white trim of the hat in sanding sugar as seen above. I used a spoon full of sugar so I could control what parts of the cupcake got sanded. You could also try this step before the beard is piped on.

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If you’ve tried this Santa Cupcake recipe then don’t forget to leave a rating and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! 

Santa Cupcakes

Super-cute easy to make and DELICIOUS chocolate Santa cupcakes all decorated with buttercream!
Course            Dessert
Cuisine           American
Prep Time     20 minutes
Cook Time     25 minutes
Total Time     45 minutes
Servings          16 cupcakes
Calories           292kcal

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:

  • ¼ cup sour cream 57g room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk 118mL room temperature
  • 2 medium eggs
  • ¼ cup hot coffee 60mL
  •  cup veggie oil 79mL
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 10mL
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 180g
  • 1 ⅓ cup granulated sugar 265g
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder 20g nice
  • 1 tsp baking soda 6g
  • ½ tsp kosher salt 2.5g

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 1 2/3 lbs confectioners sugar 700g 900g
  • 1 lb butter 450g unsalted, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 5mL
  • 1 tbsp whole milk 15mL
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt 2g
  • food coloring

Instructions

For the Cupcakes:

  • Preheat to 350F. Add papers to a cupcake tin.
  • Sift the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
  • Add the wet ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  • Whisk until smooth and combined.
  • Distribute batter evenly into the cupcake papers and bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow time to cool.

For the Vanilla Buttercream:

  • In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
  • Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the creamed butter.
  • Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and milk.
  • Separate into 3 bowls. One will remain uncolored. One bright red and the other flesh colored. I used a touch of soft pink and orange but you can choose whichever color you’d like.
  • The white buttercream to a bag fitted with a 199 tip. Any medium-sized star tip will work though.

For the Assembly:

  • Use a small spatula or knife to smear and smooth some of the flesh toned buttercream across the centre of the cupcake.
  • Smear red buttercream onto the top third of the cupcake. I also spread another layer diagonally from the lower right to the upper left for the fold of Santa’s hat.
  • Use a star tip to pipe a dollop of white buttercream for the end of Santa’s hat. Now use the same tip and wiggle it across the cupcake to create the hat’s trim.
  • Add the two mini chocolate chips pointy side down for the eyes.
  • Pipe the beard with the star tip using a loopy motion to give some gentle texture to the facial hair.
  • Use a red M&M (logo side down) for the nose.

Video

Notes

  • You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
  • If you prefer your frosting to be less sweet then try whipping up a batch of Swiss or Italian buttercream. Silky smooth and delicious!
  • Don’t have a star tip? Just snip the end off a piping bag and it will work pretty well.
  • Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
  • If you want to whip ip an AMAZING batch of vanilla cupcakes for this instead try my moist vanilla cupcake recipe!
  • Adding 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the cupcake batter and or the buttercream will give a festive kiss of mintyness to this dessert!

Nutrition

Serving: 75g | Calories: 292kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 2.6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4.4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 261mg | Potassium: 203mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 30g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2.3mg