Is it Cup Cake or Cupcake?
The answer is both. Depending on the era is whether this delightful treat is referred to as a cup cake or cupcake.
In the 1700’s cakes were make in small pottery cups, hence the name cup cake was born.
It was not until hundreds of years later that the name changed to Cupcake. The name focused on the size of the cake rather than what the cake was baked in.
What is the difference between a muffin and cupcake?
Both muffins and cupcakes contain staple ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, butter, etc…..
Both muffins and cupcakes can be sweet, but the main difference is the topping. Some muffins have none where others might have a crumb topping and icing sugar drizzle.
Cupcakes usually have an icing. It it usually either butter cream, fondant, or ganache.
Cupcakes are frequently decorated with either edible or non-edible decor like candles, sprinkles, sugar flowers,cookies, and miniature items of interest ( cars, dinosaurs,baby dolls etc…) . Muffins are not decorated.
Cupcakes can also make up the structure to a themed cake. On the top it looks like a solid cake, but underneath there are many cupcakes that have been frosted to look like a solid cake. This is very convenient for serving guess. There is no cutting of the cake. The cupcakes pull apart into single servings.
Making the Christmas Cupcakes
To start, you need to a cake recipe that you like. Chocolate is always the fan favorite at my house.
I made a dozen cupcakes using half of The Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe. The cupcake tins were filled to about 3/4 full.
When the cupcake had cooled, I used a apple core remover and removed the center portion of the from each cupcake.The little plugs of cake need to be saved and replaced after filling the cupcake with frosting.
Using a knife, I streaked a piping bag with red food coloring to have the candy cane ( white and red) look to the frosting as it came out of the bag. Note: it does not take much red food coloring. The first bag I had to much food coloring and the icing came out almost solid red.
I added 1 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract to my butter cream icing recipe to make the peppermint buttercream frosting.
My Butter Cream Icing recipe can be found here.
This icing was placed into a piping bag. Notice how the food coloring really spreads inside of the bag.
Fill each cupcake to the top with frosting
Replace the cake plug. It will squish down, but if you want a taste of the cake,you can pinch off a little bit of the plug to enjoy.
Now your cupcakes are ready for decorating. The options are endless.
Four Different Christmas Decoration for Cupcakes
Snowman at Play- Skiing:
The snowmen are made out of gum paste. It was rolled into balls. The arms are small pieces from a pretzel stick and the face was drawn on with an edible mark.
The sled is 3 small candy canes lined up and adhered together with a small piece of red fondant on the end of the sled and a small piece of red fondant going across all three candy canes where the snowman sits.
The snowman was attached to the sled by slightly wetting the fondant before sitting the snowman down.
This is the fastest and easy christmas decoration for a cupcake that is cute. It is just 2 small candy canes placed into the icing.
I can see little helpers enjoying decorating cupcakes and being very pleased with their work.
Christmas Tree Cupcakes:
Another easy decoration for a cupcake, but there is drying time that make this not a quick project.
Place a pretzel stick onto a piece of parchment paper. Using Easy To Work With Royal Icing , draw green icing lines back and forth over the pretzel . Shape your drizzle lines like a christmas tree…wider on the bottom and narrowing up to a peak.
Decorate the tree with sprinkles.
Removing the christmas tree from the parchment paper is the tricky part. Royal icing is very fragile and will break easily. I made several more tree than what I needed knowing that I would break one or two.
I found that the easiest way to get the tree off the paper is to gently roll the paper on the edge of the counter. As you roll the parchment paper, the tree will detach from the paper as it passes the edge of the counter. Go slowly and be ready to have the tree meet the palm of your hand that is not rollin the paper.
The Gingerbread Man:
You will need a great gingerbread cookie recipe to start. My How to Make 3-D Christmas Tree Cookies link has a wonderful gingerbread cookie recipe. I would recommend cutting the recipe to being just 1/2 of the original recipe if you need just enough dough for decorating cookies.
To get the gingerbread in a sitting position, immediately after removing the cookies from the oven place the cookies in a pasta dish to obtain the needed sitting position. The pasta dish also provides support to the cookies as they cool.
I suggest making more than what is needed. These cookies are prone to cracking. Some cracking at the waistline of the gingerbread man is okay. Royal icing is a wonderful glue and it makes great repairs.
Decorate the gingerbread as desired. You can make them into either boys or girls. They will be ready to be cupcake toppers when the royal icing is dry.
I hope you enjoy these easy to make, but OH so adorable Christmas cupcakes.
As always, please share pictures of your cupcakes in the comments and let me know what you think
Cheers and Happy Baking..