Christmas Cupcakes

The lights are twinkling, the tree is up and all the presents are wrapped and underneath! (I was super organised this year.) This is the first christmas in many years that I have not been working which means that i’ve been very relaxed and able to thoroughly enjoy the lead up to the festive season. Decorating the tree was something I could spend time doing without being zombified from lack of sleep or worried sick that I was meant to be spending that time doing something else. I particularly enjoyed putting up my favourite ornament…

It’s how I imagine I would look if I had a bob… and wings…

she says ‘life is short eat dessert first’

some wise words, don’t you think?

Another great thing about being on Christmas holidays is that I have time to do some Christmas cooking. I try to do this every year but this year I can enjoy it properly. Yay! Ive been doing a big of cooking for gifts which I will post about in the next few days, but first I want to show you some quick and easy and delicious Christmas Cupcakes. I got this recipe from Nigella Lawsons How to Be a Domestic Goddess (recipe can be found here) to make for my friend’s annual christmas party. The recipe is very straightforward but makes the most deliciously light and christmassy cupcakes with chocolate and spices. The chocolate is not overpowered by the spices and it was good to find something christmassy without ginger (as the mothership has a great aversion to ginger). These were definitely a winner!

and you can decorate them to look like christmas puddings!

I know that holly leaves are a much darker green but hey, you can only work with what you have! If you  have a darker green food colouring feel free to use it

So they are pretty straightforward to decorate but here are some tips if you have not used fondant before. I baked my cupcakes in red and green paper patty pans and iced them with white royal icing. You want your icing spreadable but not too runny or it will slide off the cupcake, or too thick as it will not stick properly. Remember that royal icing starts to set as soon as you finish mixing so you will want to work quickly.

To make the holly berries and leaves you will need:

1. 1 quantity of fondant (I use Orchard White Icing from any supermarket but you can use any fondant you like. Im just too lazy to make my own or go to a specialty store to get some)

2. Red gel food colouring (use gel as liquid food colouring will make your fondant too slippery and sticky. You don’t want it to be too wet!)

3. Green gel food colouring

4. a rolling pin (I find a small plastic rolling pin is best for rolling out small quantities of fondant

5. A small holly leaf cookie cutter

6. an implement to make leaf vein indentations on your holly leaves (I use the scalloped end of a fondant shaping tool. Pictured below)

7. Some icing sugar to dust your work surface and stop your fondant from sticking (the fondant will be quite soft in the summer heat so its good to have some icing sugar on hand in case it becomes too soft or sticky)

Now that you have your ingredients, you can begin!

Firstly you need to colour your fondant.

Dust your work surface with icing sugar and add a little green food colouring to your fondant to make the holly leaves.

Knead your fondant until the colour is evenly distributed. Wash and dry your hands, and repeat with a new piece of fondant and the red food colouring for your holly berries.

You will end up with two smooth coloured balls of fondant. You will need more green than red but you can always make up some more if you run out.

Roll your green fondant out to a thickness of about 5mm. I bought this little Wilton rolling pin in Melbourne and its fantastic because of the little rubber rings on the end. They allow me to consistently roll the fondant out to an even depth. Cool hey!

Use your leaf cutter to cut two leaves from the fondant

This is the tool I use to create the veins in my leaves. I like it because it looks a little crinkly and interesting.

Dot a vertical line from the bottom of the leaf to about 3/4 of the way up. Then dot some diagonal lines from the center of the leaf outwards to the pointy edges.

Like so! You can be a bit rough as it just adds to the charm of the finished product. When are leaves ever perfectly identical?

Roll three small balls out of the red fondant and attach in a cluster like holly berries. And there you have it!

It is easier to attach them to the cupcakes as you go so that the royal icing doesn’t set. Therefore it is important that you make the leaves before hand as they can be a little time consuming. You can make the berries as you attach them to the cupcakes.


So, my lovelies, what do you enjoy baking for christmas? And were my instructions ok? Any tips?

By Katie

What can I say? I love sweets, in all shapes and sizes! You only live once, so why not indulge once in a while? Or, in my case, most of the time...


  1. I agree… Dessert is best eaten first!

    The cupcakes look great Katie. I reckon you should make some shortbread! I have 2 great recipes… one of my favs is jamie oliver’s one.

    I’ve been making loads of stuff. Mini christmas puddings, chocolate shortbread, fruit mince pies, caramel slice… all yummy!!

    I love the sound of those cupcakes… I might have to try them out!

  2. oh… i disagree on the colouring for fondant icing. I used regular food colours on the orchid icing and had no problems at all. I was icing a big cake and it dried out a bit when i used it…

  3. oh super cute! I need to get myself a leaf cutter.. I also use cornflour to dust my surfaces/rolling pin because it doesn’t stain the fondant or dry it out. Too much icing sugar will change the consistency of the fondant. And I also love baking cupcakes at Christmas 🙂

  4. Thanks Kimberley! I know everyone uses cornflour but I just hate the squeaky feeling of it, its like nails on a chalkboard for me. I find icing sugar is a viable alternative, particularly in this heat as it seems to stop the fondant getting too sticky. And, seeing as fondant is mostly icing sugar anyway I figured it cant hurt! I loved your little santa cupcakes by the way!!

    Catrin, yes you can use liquid food colours but once you try gels you wont go back to liquid. It also depends on what colour you are using, because darker colours require more colouring to achieve and make the fondant more wet. I also find that the gels come in a greater variety of colours and give more vibrant colours in anything I use them in.

  5. I’ll have to try cornflour next time I use fondant icing. Katie… I’m too cheap to buy colour gels!!

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