These adorable reindeer cupcakes are surprisingly easy to make! All you will need is chocolate cupcakes, chocolate buttercream, pretzels, vanilla wafers, and red M&M'S.
These chocolate cupcakes are moist, fluffy, full of rich chocolate flavor, and come together in one bowl. These chocolate cupcakes taste amazing with our chocolate cream cheese frosting and our chocolate buttercream frosting.
We love making Christmas and holiday-themed recipes, you should check out our Christmas sugar cookies with easy icing, oreo balls, chocolate thumbprint cookies, and french hot chocolate.
Why this recipe works
- Made in one bowl cupcakes!
- Extra moist cupcakes that stay moist for 3 days!
- Made with simple ingredients.
- The perfect easy Christmas-themed dessert!
Before you start to make this, measure and prepare your ingredients so the baking process will go smoothly and easily.
Full measurements are in the recipe card below.
For the chocolate cupcake:
Flour– we used all-purpose flour for this recipe, self-rising flour, and cake flour will work great as well.
Dutch cocoa powder– we like to use Dutch-process cocoa powder for our chocolate cake because we like the deep and rich chocolate taste, but the natural cocoa powder will work great as well!
Baking powder and baking soda – to help the cake rise.
Granulated sugar– we like to use granulated sugar, also the most common sugar used in baking. Caster sugar will work great as well.
Vegetable oil – we used vegetable oil for this recipe. canola oil will work great for this recipe.
Eggs– To give the cake a good structure. Make sure you’re using room-temperature eggs.
Hot coffee– our secret ingredient. Gives the cupcakes an amazing chocolate flavor. Don’t worry, you can’t taste the coffee at all! Make a strong hot coffee, you can use espresso or instant coffee, both will work.
Vanilla extract– Vanilla extract Is an essential ingredient for chocolate cake.
Salt– We used kosher salt for this recipe. Salt doesn’t give the cake a salty taste, it helps to enhance the chocolate flavor.
For the chocolate frosting:
Butter- make sure you are using room temperate butter.
Powder sugar- is known as confessional sugar. For a smoother buttercream, sift it before adding it to the butter.
Cocoa powder- we used Dutch cocoa powder. You can use natural cocoa powder as well.
Dark chocolate- melt the dark chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop (bain-marie) and let it cool completely so it won’t melt the butter.
Pinch of salt- to balance the sweetness.
For the reindeer cupcakes design:
Pretzels- You can use either salted or unsalted pretzels. you will need the small kind.
Red M&M's- you will need red M&M's. you can use anything that looks like red M&M's as well.
Vanilla wafers- we used nilla's vanilla wafers, but you can use any kind of round vanilla wafers, or you can make your own!
Eye candy- we used these adorable eye candies for the reindeer eyes. Here's a link for the eye candy we used.
Preheat an oven to 350f (180c) and prep a cupcake pan with liners.
In a big mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar and mix with a whisk until well combined.
Add the hot coffee, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well until combined and smooth.
Use an ice cream scoop to fill out the cupcake ⅔ full (do not overfill) and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely (don’t frost warm cupcakes).
Make the chocolate frosting: into a large bowl add room temperature butter and mix with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy.
Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth.
Add the powder sugar, cocoa powder, pinch of salt, and vanilla extract and mix well until smooth.
How to make reindeer cupcakes design:
To make a reindeer cupcakes design, you will need simple ingredients: chocolate cupcakes, chocolate buttercream, pretzels, vanilla wafers, and red M&M'S.
First, you will need to frost the cupcakes with chocolate buttercream (as seen in the video) and smooth out the tops with a spatula.
Now everything basically comes together fairly quickly for these reindeer cupcakes, you will need to place two pretzels on top of the cupcakes, and place the vanilla wafer under the pretzels.
To place the eye candy and red M&M, I dipped each piece in frosting to help it stick. So stick the eyes in place and the nose.
- Don’t skip the coffee in the chocolate cupcake, you can’t taste the coffee, it simply enhances the chocolate flavor.
- Use room temperature ingredients. It is important that you use room-temperature ingredients like eggs and butter. This step ensures that your mixture mixes into a homogenous mixture and bakes perfectly. you don’t want to place cold batter into the oven.
- Don’t overmix the batter, you don’t want to develop the gluten in the flour. This step ensures you have moist cupcakes and not dense and dry cupcakes.
- Make sure that your butter is at room temperature. An hour or two before making these cupcakes, take the butter out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. The butter should be soft to the touch. If your butter is too cold, it will be harder to mix and there will be lumps of butter in the dough.
- Measure your flour correctly! When measuring your flour, avoid scooping it with a measuring cup. Instead, stir the flour with a spoon to create as many air pockets as possible, and spoon it into your measuring cup. Finally, level it with a back of a knife.
- Before you start to make this recipe, measure and prepare your ingredients so the cooking process will go smoothly and easily.
- Be patient! I know it’s extremely tempting to eat and frost these cupcakes as they are pulled out of the oven, but let these cupcakes cool for at least 30 minutes so they will be more firm and won’t crumble up. We suggest letting these cupcakes cool for 5 minutes and then transferring them to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 more minutes. This step ensures that the frosting won’t melt off the cupcakes. You never want to frost warm cupcakes or cakes.
- Cool the melted chocolate before adding it to the chocolate frosting! This step is a must, if the melted chocolate will be hot, it will melt the butter and the chocolate frosting will be ruined.
No! you can’t taste the coffee. By adding the coffee, simply enhances the chocolate flavor. So, don’t skip the coffee in the cupcake!
These cupcakes will last for up to 5 days in the fridge. This cupcake tastes amazing the day after.
We use all-purpose flour for this cupcake, self-rising flour, and cake flour will work great as well.
These cupcakes will last up to 5 days in the fridge (dairy needs to be stored in the fridge). Cover them with plastic wrap or foil to prevent them from drying out. They stay moist for at least 3 days!
Freeze these cupcakes after they cooled completely in an airtight freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months, some people find the cupcake tastes better after freezing it.
Our tip is not to freeze it decorated or covered with frosting, because it can ruin the decorating on the cupcakes, we suggest freezing the cupcake and decorating it when you defrost it.
Cocoa powder- We like to use Dutch prosses cocoa powder, because it gives the cake a deeper rich chocolate taste, and natural cocoa powder will work! It’s just a personal preference.
Frosting- You can use any kind of your favorite chocolate frosting on this cupcake, it's really important that you will use chocolate frosting and not vanilla frosting or any other kind of frosting in this recipe keep the cupcakes in theme.
Cupcakes- you can make vanilla cupcakes instead of chocolate cupcakes. The most important thing is the that the frosting is chocolate.
Cake mix- you can make these cupcakes easier and use a cake mix instead of making chocolate cupcakes from scratch!
- Mixing bowls- best glass mixing bowls.
- Whisk set- our favorite copper whisk set.
- Cupcakes tins- our favorite Wilton cupcake tins.
- Open star piping tip- our favorite Wilton piping tip for cupcake decoration.
- Eye candy- our favorite eye candies from amazon that we use for all kinds of cute treats.
More Christmas desserts:
White chocolate cranberry cookies- These white chocolate cranberry cookies are soft, chewy, have crispy edges, and are the perfect cookies for Christmas and the holiday season.
No-bake cookies- These no-bake cookies are probably the easiest cookies to make, they are made with the best chocolate and peanut butter combo, and have the most amazing chewy and fudgy texture.
Chocolate crinkle cookies- Chocolate crinkle cookies are soft and fudgy chocolate cookies covered with crispy powder sugar outer layer.
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Reindeer Cupcakes (Rudolp Cupcakes)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cups Granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- ⅓ cups Cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅓ cups Vegetable oil
- 1 cups Hot coffee
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 340 g Butter
- 2 cups Powder sugar
- ½ cup Cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 Pinch of salt
- 150 g Dark chocolate
For the reindeer design:
- 24 Ranch Pretzels
- 12 Red M&M's
- 12 Vanilla wafers
- 24 Eye candy
For the cupcakes:
- Preheat an oven to 350f (180c) and prep a cupcake pan with liners.
- In a big mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and mix with a whisk until well combined.
- Add the hot coffee, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well until combined and smooth.
- Use an ice cream scoop to fill out the cupcake ⅔ full (do not overfill) and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes and transfer them into a cooling rack to cool completely (don’t frost warm cupcake).
For the chocolate buttercream frosting:
- Make the chocolate frosting: into a large bowl add room temperature butter and mix with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until the butter is light and fluffy.
- Add half of the powder sugar and the cocoa powder and carefully mix until combined.
- Add the other half of the powder sugar and mix until smooth.
- Melt dark chocolate or semisweet chocolate and let it cool completely to room temperature.
- Add the melted chocolate to the mixture and mix until well combined and smooth.
How to make reindeer cupcakes design:
- To make a reindeer cupcakes design, you will need simple ingredients: chocolate cupcakes, chocolate buttercream, pretzels, vanilla wafers, and red M&M’S.
- First, you will need to frost the cupcakes with chocolate buttercream (as seen in the video) and smooth out the tops with a spatula.
- Now everything basically comes together fairly quickly for these reindeer cupcakes, you will need to place two pretzels on top of the cupcakes, place the vanilla wafer under the pretzels.
- To place the eye candy and red M&M, I dipped each piece in frosting to help it stick. So stick the eyes in place and the nose.
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