Elegance meets quirkiness in these Christmas tree cinnamon cupcakes. A winner in both taste and looks, they will win over children and adults alike, while being incredibly simple to make. Think fluffy cinnamon cupcakes, light-as-a-cloud vanilla buttercream, and crunchy pops of chocolate goodness from the colourful decorations. Christmas trees have never tasted so good.
This is the second recipe in the series ‘The Loopy Christmas 2016’ (all recipes in this series can be found in the recipe index under ‘Christmas’) – watch this space for more Christmas yumminess. Missed the first recipe? Check out these adorable Rudolph Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes!
I take making cupcakes incredibly seriously. Sometimes (okay, okay… often) too seriously – it’s either the perfectionist or the scientist in me (but probably both). Let’s just say that in making these beauties tweezers were involved. Yes, I’m sure (and hope) that the decorations on the buttercream Christmas trees look incredibly effortless.
Actually, picture this: me taking a few chocolate bean decorations and carelessly, but at the same time gracefully (duh), tossing them at the soft green buttercream, where they, by some strange stroke of luck, end up in the perfect position. Like there is some sort of cupcake fairy that ensures the decorations land where they were supposed (destined?) to with no effort on my part whatsoever. And definitely no tweezers. What tweezers? I’m sure they were just a hallucination. Nope, completely effortless. Just look at this spontaneously achieved elegance:
Here’s the thing: just because I have an innate Chemistry-education-induced compulsion to be annoyingly overprecise, there is no need for you to be. Especially not when making these Christmas tree cinnamon cupcakes. I mean, yes, do weigh out the ingredients precisely. And yes, do set the oven to the right temperature, and do bake the cupcakes for the appropriate amount of time. I’m not saying you should abandon all reason and re-discover the art of baking (or rather the art of what-the-holy-flying-hamster-are-you-doing?). I’m saying leave the tweezers alone. Seriously, put them down. Now. (Unless you’re plucking your eyebrows, in which case: sorry, and proceed. Also, how on Earth are you also reading this? I bow down to your amazingness.) Because there is beauty in the actually effortless effortlessness, and the imperfections it brings with it. You totally got this, trust me.
As before for the mint chocolate chip and the Rudolph Mexican hot chocolate cupcakes, we’re making the cupcakes by the throw-everything-together method. I know, how terribly time-consuming and complicated. The buttercream is no better, and how do I dare recommend to you such awfully long-winded and unrewarding recipes?
We’ll also be adding cinnamon. Lots and lots of it. Because if there’s one spice that simply screams Christmas, it’s cinnamon. This quintessential Christmas spice is all warmth and coziness, like sitting in front of a roaring fireplace, wrapped in a fluffy blanket and sipping a hot chocolate. With marshmallows. And sprinkled with cinnamon. Allow me a moment to savour this image, while you enjoy this lovely picture:
The best part of making these lovelies is, without doubt, the decorating. Go nuts. My decorations look like they do because that’s what I had on hand and what I like (and because tweezers, but we’ll be all hush hush about those). Want to go silver chic? Perhaps classic red-and-gold? Or are you in a ‘I-am-a-sparkly-unicorn-give-me-all-the-colour’ mood? You do you. Whatever you fancy, there are no rules. Because no matter how out-there the end result, they will still be Christmas tree cinnamon cupcakes, and people will love them (and you, if you’re willing to part with any). Because cupcakes. And cinnamon. And, somehow, also yummy Christmas trees.
CHRISTMAS TREE CINNAMON CUPCAKES
- 125 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 125 g caster sugar
- 125 g unsalted butter, softened
- 4 tbsp milk
- 2 large eggs
- 150 g unsalted butter, softened
- 250 g icing sugar, divided
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp green food colouring
- 12 white chocolate stars
- chocolate beans of different colours (Note 1)
Preheat oven to 340 ºF (170 ºC).
- Line a cupcake tray (for 12 cupcakes) with cupcake cases.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar into a large bowl.
- Add butter, milk, and eggs to the flour mixture.
- Whisk on medium to high speed for ~60 seconds (using either a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, or whisk beaters on a hand mixer), until a homogeneous batter forms.
- Use a spoon or an ice-cream scoop to fill the cupcake cases ~2/3 full with the cupcake batter.
Bake in the preheated oven at 340 ºF (170 ºC) for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before piping on the buttercream.
- Beat butter and 1/2 of the icing sugar for 5 minutes with either a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, or with whisk beaters on a hand mixer.
- Add 1 tbsp of milk and the other 1/2 of icing sugar. Beat for an additional 5 – 7 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add green food colouring, mixing for ~1 – 2 minutes, until evenly incorporated into the buttercream.
Assembling the cupcakes:
- Pipe the buttercream onto cooled cupcakes, with a medium size star nozzle. (Note 2)
- Decorate with the white chocolate starts, chocolate beans, or other decorations of choice.
- The cupcakes can be kept in a closed container in a cool dry place for ~3 days (good luck with that).
Note 1: Or use other decorations. Go crazy, and have fun!
Note 2: I used a 5-point star nozzle, but feel free to experiment with star nozzles with different numbers of points to get the effect you want.
Looking for more Christmas or cupcake (or both) recipes? Why not try:
… or mint chocolate chip cupcakes …
… or perhaps lemon thyme shortbread cookies?