Christmastime Cupcakes

Early this year I was lucky enough to score a sweet Scoopon for a Cupcake Masterclass with Jennifer Graham of Crabapple Cupcake Bakery. Always being an enthusiastic baker, I jumped at the opportunity to learn the art of cupcake decorating from a pro. Prior to this workshop I was more of a cookies and cakes kinda gal. I had made cupcakes and muffins before but never really moved past the old icing sugar + water combo for the icing and the application tended to be pretty pathetic.

Thankfully, I learnt some great tips and tricks from Jennifer in the workshop and I left with my hands full of cupcakes, my very first piping bag set and the fabulous ‘Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook’ (which I highly recommend you run out and buy ASAP).

My Cupcake Bible

It is from this wondrous book that I bring you the Christmastime Cupcake recipe that I recently tried out on my family. These cupcakes have a mocha spice flavour and literally taste like Christmas. The recipe suggests you decorate with Royal Icing and green and red fondant holly leaves and berries. Unfortunately my local baking supplies store ran out of holly leaf cutters so I had to improvise and ended up making red buttercream frosting with white fondant snowflake cupcake toppers. I recommend making the cupcake toppers first to allow them enough time to dry, then the cupcakes and then start on the icing while the cupcakes are cooking.

White Fondant Snowflake Cupcake Toppers


  • 250 grams white fondant (I bought mine pre-made from my local baking supplies store)
  • Cup of water
  • Edible Glitter
  • 2 small paintbrushes
  • Rolling pin
  • Small snowflake cutter


  1. Sprinkle clean bench top with icing sugar
  2. Massage fondant for a couple minutes to soften
  3. Roll out fondant to 3-5mm thickness
  4. Cut out 26 snowflakes
  5. Dip first paintbrush in water and lightly coat snowflakes
  6. Dip second paintbrush in edible glitter and flick bristles over snowflakes (there is no need to completely cover the snowflakes with glitter – just a touch will look beautiful)
  7. Leave on bench to dry out for an hour or more before transferring to cupcake

cut out snowflakes

be sure not to drown your snowflakes in water

finished snowflakes ready for cupcakes!


Christmastime Cupcakes

Makes 26


  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 150 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup instant coffee granules
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 200 grams softened unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line muffin trays with large cupcake cases
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, mixed spice and salt and set aside
  3. In a heavy based saucepan, combine the chocolate, coffee and boiling water over low heat. Stir continuously with a flat-bottomed spoon until chocolate has melted. Do not boil. Set aside once combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add half of the sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has mostly dissolved.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition or until mixture is light and fluffy.
  6. Add the vanilla and beat until combined
  7. Add a third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
  8. Add half of the sour cream and beat until combined.
  9. Repeat this process
  10. Add the remaining third of the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly combined; do not over-beat as this will toughen the mixture.
  11. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the mocha mixture a third at a time. Be gentle and do not over-stir. The mixture will be quite thin.
  12. Spoon mixture into cases, filling to about two-thirds full (no more as it rises a lot)
  13. Bake for 15-18 min and cool in pan for 5 min before removing to cooling rack.

flour mixture and mocha mixture

be careful not to over mix when folding in mocha mixture

baked cupcakes ready for icing!

Buttercream Frosting

Again, this recipe is from Jennifer Graham’s The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook.


  • 200 grams softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 cups icing sugar


  1. Cream the butter for 1-2 minutes
  2. Add the milk, vanilla extract and half of the sifted icing sugar (4cups)
  3. Beat for at least 3 minutes or until light and fluffy
  4. Add remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until light and fluffy and of a spreadable consistency
  5. Add extra milk if too dry or extra icing sugar if too wet
  6. Add food colouring/flavour (for my cupcakes I chose to use pillar box red food colouring)


Once cupcakes have cooled, icing is made and fondant cupcake toppers are hardened it is time to complete your cupcake! I chose to use a large star tip piping nozzle but you can choose what you like best. Pipe icing onto each cupcake and place fondant snowflake on top. If you like, you can use silver cachous (those edible little balls) to decorate further. I used 3 per cupcake and a sprinkle of glitter.

the finished product!

Feel free to ask any questions, good luck!

Eleanor x