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Christmas Cupcakes

A light and fluffy but deeply chocolate-y sponge topped with a simple and sweet vanilla buttercream. I share my tips below on how to get your icing bright white (as appose to a regular more yellow-y buttercream). I top mine with holly decorations but these look great with snowflakes, gingerbread men, Santa hats - anything!

Check out these step-by-step Masterclass videos:

How to pipe a buttercream rose, here

Everything you need to know to get the best buttercream and my favourite recipe, here

How to fill a piping bag, here

Total time to make : 1 hr (with frosting) Time to prep : 10 minutes

Time to bake : 18 - 20 minutes

Servings : 12


Chocolate cupcakes

105g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

75g brown sugar

75g white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla essence or paste

60ml light olive oil (can use other baking oils)

90ml buttermilk

1 egg

90ml boiling water

1 tsp instant coffee

I used these decorative holly toppers

Vanilla American Buttercream

My go-to recipe and step-by-step video cookalong here

* see my tips below to create a snow-white coloured frosting (rather than a yellow-y tinged one)


  1. Preheat oven to 165C and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners

  2. Put the kettle on to boil and mix 1tsp instant coffee in with 90ml freshly boiled water, stir and leave aside

  3. In a large mixing bowl, sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda together

  4. Add in the brown and white sugars and salt, mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined

  5. Add in the oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla, mixing well into a thick batter

  6. Pour in the coffee to the batter and mix again, your batter will be quite thin and runny but this is what we are looking for!

  7. Pour the mixture into the cake liners, filling them up about 1/2 way full, I pour my batter into a use a measuring jug with a lip so it gives me a little more control over pouring them

  8. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a clean metal skewer or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the bake, if it still has wet batter on - they're not ready just yet

  9. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before icing

  10. Pipe a rose on top of each cooled cupcake and top with a holly decoration (or any!). I like to put them just where the buttercream rose tail finishes, or on top of any imperfections.

Achieving White Buttercream

  • The first thing you want to do when you cream the butter by itself is beat it for a good 5 minutes at high speed. This not only creates a fluffier, light consistency but also creates a paler yellow shade.

  • Either skip the vanilla extract (which can add a brown/yellow tinge) or use a clear coloured one.

  • A tiny amount (like, half a toothpick dipped in) purple food dye balances out yellow hues and creates a brighter, whiter frosting - just like purple rinses help yellow blondes be more platinum blonde. This is by far my favourite tip but you have to be really careful because just a smidge too much and you'll end up with a weird, grey shaded buttercream batch.

Nutritional Information

(per fully-iced cupcake, with about 4 tbsp buttercream per cake)

394 calories

3g protein, 50g carbs, 16g fat

Good to know:

  • Cupcakes freeze incredibly well, make in advance, cool completely then wrap tightly with cling-film and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months

  • Once mixed to your desired consistency, icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge or 2 months in a freezer, defrost fully before using

  • Store iced cupcakes at room temperature (or in the fridge in warmer climates or months) for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before eating

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