Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reindeer Cupcakes

Can't believe it's already mid-December. My last baking post seems like yesterday. My apologies to those who have been checking back this space but find no updates. I have been pretty tied up with all the crafts-making for Christmas and itineraries planning for the holiday trips that I hardly had the time to bake these days. >,<

Fortunately or unfortunately, it was a stay-at-home over the last weekend since my husband was still recovering from his flu. Hence, I'm turning weekend shopping time to weekend baking time! This reindeer cupcake idea triggered by my non-stop-pretzels-snacking of late (a good snack find recommended by a friend during my Washington D.C. trip over the last Thanksgiving holiday) which very much resembled the horns of a reindeer has been in my head for awhile (although a quick search online found that it's nothing new actually). However, I'm glad it pulled off well and tasty as imagined after putting all my flavour ideas into one cupcake. ^_^ 

Reindeer Cupcakes

But wait, perhaps they look more like bears? Haha! Well, up to your imagination then...

Reindeer Cupcakes
The Dream Baker's Creation

makes 20

Ingredients Required

Recipe referenced and modified from: The Cupcake Diaries by Katherine Kallinis and Sophie Kallinis

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature

Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Recipe referenced and modified from: The Cupcake Diaries by Katherine Kallinis and Sophie Kallinis

1/3 cup milk, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 dark semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled to room temperature

Peanut Buttercream Frosting
Recipe referenced and modified from: Allrecipes.com

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk, or as needed
1 cup confectioners' sugar


Horns: 40 mini pretzels (chocolate-coated or non-chocolate coated as desired)
Eyes: 1/2 cup whipped cream and 40 chocolate morsels
Nose: 20 red M&M's® peanut chocolate candies (or any red-colorer candies)

Bakeware Used

Two standard 12-cup muffin pans

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using an electric mixer for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
  5. In a large measuring cup, add vanilla and vanilla beans seeds to the milk.
  6. Add one third of the dry ingredients followed by one third of the milk, and mix thoroughly. Repeat in two more additions alternately. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix slowly until well incorporated.
  7. Scoop the batter into each paper liner using a standard-sized ice-cream scoop and bake in preheated oven for 16 to 18 minutes (start checking at the 15th minute) or until toothpick comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler. Be careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Set melted chocolate aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the milk, confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, butter, vanilla extract and salt and beat using an electric mixer until light and airy, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Slowly add the cooled melted chocolate and continue beating until well incorporated.
Peanut Buttercream Frosting
  1. Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium-szied bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. 
  2. Gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar, and when it starts to get thick, add milk and continue beating until frosting is thick and fluffy and of spreadable consistency. Add more milk, a teaspoon at a time if frosting is too thick.
Assembling the Reindeer cupcakes

Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before spreading the frosting.
Spread the dark chocolate buttercream frosting over the cupcake using a spatula.
Stick two mini pretzels as horns of the reindeer into the chocolate buttercream.
Pipe a good amount of peanut buttercream frosting in the lower middle portion of the cupcake.
Stick the red-coloured chocolate candy by pressing it slightly into the peanut buttercream frosting.  
Pipe two small rounds of whipped cream above the reindeer's nose.
  Alternatively, use mini marshmallows.
Stick the chocolate morsels by pressing each slightly into the whipped cream.
If using mini marshmallows, slightly warm the bottom of the chocolate morsels
to stick the chocolate morsels onto the marshmallows.

I probably need to pipe a larger amount of peanut buttercream frosting and stick the mini pretzels nearer to the eyes to form a better reindeer-looking cupcake than one that looks like a bear. ^_^

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I used large eggs weighing approximately 59 grams each (with shell on), 2% reduced fat milk and omitted the vanilla bean seeds in my experiment.
  2. I filled approximately 1/4 cup of batter in each muffin pan cavity. 
  3. I placed the muffin pans on the middle rack of the oven and baked for exactly 18 minutes.

Presenting Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeers!
(Apologies for the poor photo quality)

Just by looking at these cupcakes, it felt so much like Christmas although Christmas is still two weeks away~~ And because Christmas is a season of giving and sharing, I'm extremely thrilled to share this baking post with the following baking theme events, a record-breaking number of baking theme events I've shared for one blog post so far... ^_^

AlphaBakes (December 2014: Letter "X" for Xmas) hosted by Caroline of Caroline Makes and Ros of The More than Occasional Baker;

Treat Petite December 2014 theme, Merry Christmas hosted by Kat of The Baking Explorer and Stuart of Cakeyboi;

Cook & Celebrate: Christmas 2014 organised by Yen of Eat Your Heart Out, Diana of Domestic Goddess Wannabe and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids;

Family Foodies (December 2014: Festive Family Food) hosted by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash and organised by Louisa of Eat Your Veg;

Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily of A Mummy Too;

Foodie Friday, All things Christmas organised by Helen & gang of Casa Costello and Otilia of Romanian Mum

and last but not least, CookBlogShare hosted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes.

Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas in advance. May your festive season be filled with lots of joy, happiness and goodies! Hohoho~

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker


  1. These reindeer cupcakes are super adorable! Thanks for linking to our Christmas event. :) -Yen

    1. Hi Yen, I totally agree with you. ^_^ Both adults and kids love it! My pleasure to link up with Cook & Celebrate Christmas event. Merry Christmas! :)

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Grace, thank you! I'm glad you share my sentiments..Merry Christmas! :)

  3. These look so cute and those pretzel antlers are a fab idea. Brilliant entry for our festive #FamilyFoodies challenge. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Hi, thank you for that. ^_^ It's my pleasure to share with #FamilyFoodies! Have a Merry Christmas! :)

  4. You are right the cupcakes with the brown nose looks like bears to me :p but they are all so cute :D


    1. Haha you're so right that they look like bear, Zoe! Actually I bought two packs of M&M's® chocolate candies but being lucky or not, one of the packs had only one red and tons of browns. Well, I guess I should be thankful that there's at least one red anyway.. ^_^ Have a Merry Christmas!

  5. Replies
    1. Hee thanks Karen! I agree they are.. Have a Merry Christmas!

  6. So gorgeous! Such cute little bakes - and love the detailed instructions too - I will need them. Saying bonjour via #recipeoftheweek too

    1. Hi, thank you! :) Thanks for leaving such lovely note. Go on try them and hope you like it! :) Have a Merry Christmas!

  7. So cute!! Thanks for entering into Treat Petite!

    1. Hi Kat, thank you! The pleasure is mine. :) Have a Merry Christmas!

  8. These are really cute - I made something similar last year but forgot about them until I saw your post! Thanks for sharing with Alphabakes.

    1. Hi Caroline, thank you! I bet yours were just as cute. And it's my pleasure to share. :) Have a Merry Christmas!

  9. So cute! Perfect Christmas treats. Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    1. Hi Lucy, thank you! As always, it's my pleasure to share with #CookBlogShare. :)

  10. Oh these are just delightful and so cute! Who cares whether they look like bears or reindeers! Thanks so much for joining in with #FoodieFriday x

    1. Hi Helen, thank you! Haha..indeed - who cares as long as they are cute and tasty! I'm glad they made it to #FoodieFriday! :)