3 in 1 Holiday Cupcakes

Okay. I'm seriously late to the party with these cupcakes but that's a given with the holiday season. I was planning on posting before Christmas but the perfectionist in me demanded white chocolate decorations on the frosting. After 3 failed attempts to melt white chocolate, I gave up (oh lookee there... the chocolate expired last year...slick) and went to bed. They were given out to office but I held onto these guys for posterity. 

The magic of these cupcakes are their versatility. 12 cupcakes split into 4 peppermint trees, 4 snowflakes, and 4 cranberry cinnamon! The base is a perfect vegan chocolate cupcake. I've made it before and really loved the flavor! Make sure to use good quality chocolate, especially with vegan and gluten-free cakes because there are no other rich ingredients to distract the taste buds.

Now the frosting is one recipe split into 3. It's a very basic vanilla butter cream- straight sugar and unsalted butter. With a dash of food coloring, spices, and extracts, you can create as many variations as the imagination can hold. Split into three bowls and get creative!

For the little green tree, I added a DROP of peppermint extract. Now careful with that peppermint- it's some potent stuff so literally use a drop at a time. I used the green food coloring on hand but honestly, I would like something a little more earthy like Cupcakeando's Italian Meringue version. Again, go a drop at a time since it's not a lot of frosting in the bowl. The tree-spiral is from a 1M tip (wilton) with little sugar pearls as decorations.  The star is white chocolate. Who knows, maybe next year there will be a little bit of ganache under the tree!

The snowflake is now stranger to this blog; it's one of the first cupcakes I posted! It's simply the buttercream with a drop of blue food coloring. I was thinking about keeping it natural with blueberries but they tend to be more purple. I tested blackberry jam mixed with the buttercream and that too was (delicious) purple. The snowflake is white chocolate melted and piped onto a snowflake pattern drawn on parchment paper. If you want your white chocolate to stay strong, you can dip the snowflakes in ice water (which makes me nervous because they're fragile) or use white melting chocolate.

Then my favorite... the cinnamon cranberry. Candied cranberries are beautiful but must be planned in advance. They sit in simple syrup overnight, rolled in sugar, and then must dry for a couple of hours. The result is a lovely cake topping! For this frosting, I simply added cinnamon. Feel free to sneak in a drop of almond extract?

I apologize again for the tardy post! Save it on your pinterest for next year! Happy Holidays!

What You Need:

1M Wilton Tip
Your favorite chocolate cupcakes, might I suggest: Chocolate Vegan Cupcakes
101 Cookbooks: Sparkling Cranberries
Vanilla frosting, this one works well: Basic Vanilla Buttercream