There are many fun ways to celebrate Christmas or Easter, and one thing that makes these special celebrations feel complete is a table full of delicious, colorful desserts. (Preferably those shaped like eggs, trees and bunnies, of course.) And cupcakes are the perfect treat for dessert-lovers of all ages. They’re just the right size for someone looking for a small taste of something sweet, and they’re big enough for little kids whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs. Plus, they’re cute, easy to make, and are a crowd pleaser.
Whether you want to meticulously plan your cupcake decorations a week in advance or you’re looking for a last-minute recipe that will look like you had this planned all along, these Easter or Christmas cupcake recipes will have something that fits your holiday plans. These decadent (and adorable) Festive cupcakes are the perfect thing to serve after a big holiday dinner Looking to take your dessert spread to the next level? Try our irresistible Easter cakes and holiday treats.
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Source Woman’s Day
Lemon Butterfly cakes
These butterfly wings are made entirely from chocolate, and they're surprisingly simple to create. Makes Enough For 12 Butterflies Ingredients: 3 cups total (about 16 oz) candy melts in assorted colors (we used orange, pink, yellow and white; Wilton.com) Resealable plastic bags (a very small tip of one corner snipped off each), or pastry bags fitted with small writing tips Plastic teaspoons Step 1 Place 1/2 cup of each color candy melt in a separate glass bowl. Microwave the first color you’ll be using on high, stirring every 20 seconds, until just beginning to melt, 40 to 70 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag or a pastry bag. Step 2 For a dotted wing: Squeeze small dots of melted candy onto the bowl of a spoon. Place the spoon on a rimmed baking sheet, with the handle resting on the rim to keep the spoon level (so the dots don’t move); let set, at least 5 minutes. For a 4-color wing: Squeeze a small dot onto the center of the bowl of a spoon. Melt a second color candy, transfer to a bag and squeeze a larger dot of it onto the top of the spoon. Place the spoon on the baking sheet; let set. Melt a third color, transfer to a bag and squeeze to cover the center dot and nearly all of the top dot; let set. Step 3 To finish either a dotted or a 4-color wing: Melt (or remelt) desired color(s) for the wing base, transfer to a bag and squeeze on top of the designs, filling half the spoons about ¾ full to make small (bottom) wings and the rest completely for the larger (top) wings. Gently tap the spoon on the counter to remove any air bubbles and create an even surface. Place on the baking sheet; let set, at least 15 minutes. Step 4 When set, turn all the spoons over and, with your thumb on the base, gently pop the wings out. The spoons can be reused to make additional wings.
YIELDS: 12 servings TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 0 mins INGREDIENTS CUPCAKES 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 3/4 c. whole-wheat flour 3/4 c. brown sugar 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/3 vegetable oil 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 4 oz. crushed pineapple in juice (about 1/2 cup) 2 large bananas, mashed (about 1 cup) 1/2 c. toasted pecans, chopped FROSTING 1 (1.5-ounce) package freeze-dried pineapple 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temp 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature 3 c. confectioners’ sugar 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract PINEAPPLE FLOWERS 1 large pineapple, peeled and cored 12 large blueberries DIRECTIONS CAKE Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir in pineapple, bananas, and pecans. Fold into flour mixture until just combined. Divide evenly among the liners (about 5 Tbsp each) and bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. FROSTING In a food processor, pulse dried pineapple to make fine powder. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat on low speed to combine. Mix in pineapple powder and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until thickened, about 1 hour. Spread each cupcake with frosting. FLOWER PETALS Cut pineapple into 1/4-inch-thick rings; cut each ring into 8 wedges. Create a flower on each cupcake by placing a blueberry in the center and surrounding with 4 pineapple petals.
Rose Petal Cupcakes
INGREDIENTS 1 box French vanilla cake mix 1 1/2 c. light unsweetened coconut milk 3 large eggs 1/4 c. canola oil 1 1/2 tsp. each coconut and vanilla extract For Rose Petal Cupcakes: canned vanilla frosting; red liquid or gel food color; pastry bag with large star tip; light corn syrup; clean artist’s brush; small fresh pink roses, rinsed and patted dry; granulated sugar DIRECTIONS Heat oven to 350°F. You'll need 24 regular-size muffin cups lined with paper or foil liners. Beat cake mix, coconut milk, eggs, oil and extracts in large bowl with mixer on medium speed 2 minutes or until blended and smooth. Divide among muffin cups. Bake 20 to 22 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes before removing cupcakes to rack to cool completely. Plan ahead: You can bake cupcakes up to 2 days ahead; store covered at room temperature. Decorate, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day ahead. Rose Petal Cupcakes: Tint frosting pastel pink and pipe a swirl on top of cupcakes. Thin some corn syrup with water; lightly brush on rose petals. Toss in sugar. Arrange petals on top of frosting swirl as shown.
Spring Animal Cupcakes
Hide a sandwich cookie at the bottom of these cute-as-can-be cupcakes to add an extra bite of fun! Note: Total time does not include cooling or decorating. YIELDS: 12 servings TOTAL TIME: 0 hours 55 mins INGREDIENTS CUPCAKES 1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar 2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 2 large eggs 1 c. milk 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 12 regular Oreos 24 mini Oreos BUTTERCREAM 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar 1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature 2 tbsp. heavy cream 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract Gel food coloring DIRECTIONS Make cupcakes: Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan and a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed 1 minute or until well blended. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes or until fluffy. Beat in milk and vanilla (batter may look curdled), then flour just until blended. Place 1 Oreo in the bottom of each regular-size muffin cup and 1 mini Oreo in the bottom of each mini muffin cup. Spoon batter over tops, filling each about ⅔ full. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make buttercream: Sift sugar into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add sugar, alternating with heavy cream. Mix in vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Tint and decorate cupcakes as desired. DECORATE THE CUPCAKES Chick: Frost cupcake with yellow buttercream, then roll in yellow sprinkles to cover. Use buttercream to attach 2 brown mini M&M eyes, then pipe on white buttercream highlights. Use buttercream to attach an orange Cry Baby Tears beak. Trim 2 yellow Necco wafers and press into cupcakes for wings. Lamb: Frost cupcake with white buttercream, then roll in white nonpareils to cover. Remove cream from a chocolate sandwich cookie and discard. Trim sides of cookie to make a tapered head. Cut one of the small pieces in half to make ears. Use buttercream to attach 2 brown mini M&M eyes, then pipe on white buttercream highlights. Use buttercream to attach trimmed cookie, then pipe small brown buttercream dots for nostrils and small white buttercream dots for wool. Press pointed ends of the small pieces into cupcakes for ears. Rabbit and bunny: Frost cupcakes with plain buttercream, then roll in desiccated coconut to cover. Use buttercream to attach 2 brown mini M&M eyes, then pipe on white buttercream highlights. Snip a marshmallow crosswise into ⅛-in.-thick slices to make ears. Insert 2 thin pretzel sticks at top edge of cupcake and use buttercream to attach marshmallow ears; pipe pink buttercream inside. Use buttercream to attach a pink jellybean nose and press in chocolate sprinkle whiskers. Pig and piglet: Frost cupcake with pink buttercream, then roll in light or bright pink sanding sugar to coat. Use buttercream to attach 2 brown mini M&M eyes, then pipe on white buttercream highlights. Use buttercream to attach a pink Necco wafer or a small circle of pink fruit chew for the snout, then pipe small brown buttercream vertical lines for nostrils. Cut a mini pink marshmallow on a diagonal and use buttercream to attach to cupcake for ears.
Morphos Butterflies Cupcakes
Just like spring, butterflies are symbols of new life, making these sweet cupcakes the perfect dessert for the season. YIELDS: 12 INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 c. dark cocoa melting wafers 1 1/2 c. blue candy melting wafers 2 tbsp. yellow nonpareils 3/4 c. dark chocolate frosting 1 1/2 c. Vanilla Frosting 12 vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners 3/4 c. white coarse decorating sugar 24 brown M&M's DIRECTIONS Pairs of wings and antennae: Place templates for wings and antennae on baking sheets; cover with wax paper. Put 1 cup each dark cocoa and blue candy melting wafers into separate ziptop bags; do not seal. Microwave 10 seconds to soften. Squeeze, return to microwave and repeat until smooth. Press out excess air and seal. Snip a tiny corner from each bag. Working on one wing at a time, use melted dark cocoa to outline template on wax paper. Go over outline to thicken. Fill in with melted blue candy. Then, following the shape of the wing's outer edge, pipe a line of dark cocoa on the blue portion of the upper and lower wings. Tap the pan slightly to flatten. With toothpick, pull dark cocoa into blue to make the design. While candy is still liquid, sprinkle top and bottom wing tips with yellow nonpareils. Repeat, melting additional wafers several seconds in the microwave as needed (be careful not to overheat). Chill baking sheets until set, about 5 minutes. Repeat for antennae, using melted dark cocoa. Spoon chocolate frosting into a ziptop bag, press out excess air, seal and set aside. Spread vanilla frosting on top of cupcakes; roll edges in white decorating sugar. Carefully peel chilled wings and antennae from wax paper. Place 2 brown M&M's, 1/2 in. apart, on top of cupcakes to support wings. Press inside edge of a pair of wings into frosting about 1/4 in. apart, leaning wings on M&M's. Gently press antennae into frosting at head of butterfly. For body, snip a small corner from the bag with chocolate frosting. Starting at antennae, pipe 4 or 5 beads of frosting down the length of body, drawing frosting into a small point on the last bead. Plan Ahead: You can make wings and antennae up to 2 days ahead; store loosely covered at cool room temperature.
Desert Bloom Cupcakes
Build an edible garden on top of delicious cupcakes with this recipe, featuring marvelously rich buttercream icing. YIELDS: 12 servings TOTAL TIME: 0 hours 50 mins INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 3/4 c. granulated sugar 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp 2 large eggs, at room temp 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 3/4 c. whole milk 2 c. confectioners’ sugar 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 1/4 c. heavy cream 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract Crumbled graham crackers, gel food coloring, marshmallows, and candy pebbles, for decorating DIRECTIONS Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Make cupcakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat granulated sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium and add eggs 1 at a time, beating until incorporated before adding the next. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beating just until incorporated. Divide batter among muffin-pan cups (about 1/4 cup each) and bake until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. To make buttercream: Using an electric mixer, beat confectioners’ sugar, butter, and salt on low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, slowly add cream. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Spread about 2 Tbsp frosting over each cooled cupcake and top with crumbled graham crackers for “sand” if desired. Tint remaining frosting and use, with marshmallows and candy pebbles, to decorate as desired. For buttercream decorations, pipe and freeze until firm; transfer to cupcake. For the cactus: Using a leaf tip, pipe stripes over a marshmallow, then pipe on white dots and colored “flowers.” For each succulent: Using a leaf or star tip, pipe short spikes on a parchment-lined flower nail. For each rose: Using a petal tip, pipe concentric petals on a parchment-lined flower nail.
With lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey in the batter and icing, these fresh spring cupcakes are not to be missed. YIELDS: 24 PREP TIME: 0 hours 30 mins TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 0 mins INGREDIENTS CUPCAKES 2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 3/4 tsp. each baking powder and baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 c. reduced-fat sour cream 1/4 c. milk 1 1/2 tbsp. grated lemon zest 4 tbsp. lemon juice 3/4 c. unsalted butter 3/4 c. honey 1/4 c. sugar 3 large eggs LEMON-HONEY FROSTING 1 c. unsalted butter 1/4 c. honey 1 1/2 tbsp. grated lemon zest 4 c. confectioners’ sugar 7 tsp. to 8 tsp lemon juice Few drops yellow food color BUMBLEBEE Tootsie Roll 2 piece of string Yellow peanut M&M Brown food marker Clear spice drop candies Small cookie cutter DIRECTIONS Heat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sour cream, milk, lemon zest and juice in a small bowl until well mixed. Beat butter, honey and sugar in large bowl with an electric mixer 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. With mixer on low speed, beat in half the flour mixture, then the sour cream mixture. Beat in remaining flour mixture until just combined. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove cupcakes from pan to wire rack to cool completely. Beat butter, honey and lemon zest in large bowl with an electric mixer until creamed, about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in confectioners' sugar until blended. Beat in lemon juice and a few drops food color until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow. Spoon into a large ziptop freezer bag, snip off one corner and pipe onto cupcakes, or just spread frosting onto cupcakes. Tear off a piece of a Tootsie Roll and roll between the palms of your hands to make a thin string. Wrap two pieces of string around a yellow Peanut M&M for body of bee. Using a brown food marker, draw two dots for eyes. To make wings, roll out clear spice drop candies and cut out a 1⁄2-in. circle using a small cookie cutter. Cut circle in half; attach each half by pressing into the front band of Tootsie Roll on the body of the bee.
Inspired by bunnies' favorite snack, these cupcakes are the perfect ending to Easter dinner. PER CUPCAKE 377 CAL, 21 G FAT (5 G SAT FAT), 54 MG CHOL, 290 MG SOD, 5 G PRO, 44 G CAR, 1 G FIBER YIELDS: 12 PREP TIME: 0 hours 30 mins TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 0 mins INGREDIENTS FOR THE CUPCAKES: Parchment paper 1/2 c. walnuts 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 1/2 c. dark brown sugar 1/4 c. granulated sugar 2 large eggs 1/2 c. canola oil 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice 1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and grated (about 1 3/4 cups) 1/2 c. golden raisins 1/4 c. dried apricots, roughly chopped FOR THE FROSTING: 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature 1/3 c. sour cream 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar 2 tbsp. honey Orange and green gel paste food colors, for decorating DIRECTIONS Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut out twelve 5-inch squares of parchment and arrange in the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin. Spread the walnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; once cool, roughly chop. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, eggs, oil, and orange juice. Add the flour mixture to the eggs and mix to combine. Fold in the carrots, raisins, apricots, and walnuts. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups (about 1/4 cup each). Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Using and electric mixer on low, beat the cream cheese and sour cream to combine. Add the confectioners sugar and honey and beat until smooth. Chill until ready to use, at least 45 minutes or up to 3 days. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes. For carrot decorations: Tint some of the frosting orange and some green, place in a resealable plastic bag, snip off a small corner and pipe carrots and tops.
Serve these plant-like sweets in mini terra cotta pots to turn them into a cute Easter gift idea. YIELDS: 18 PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 20 MINS TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 45 MINS INGREDIENTS 1 box vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened 4 c. powdered sugar 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1/4 c. heavy cream Pinch of kosher salt Green, brown, blue, yellow, and violet food coloring GET INGREDIENTS Powered by Chicory DIRECTIONS Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350° and line two muffin tins with 18 liners. Prepare vanilla cake batter according to package instructions and fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake until slightly golden on top and a toothpick inserted into middle of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile make frosting: In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment), beat butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined, then add vanilla, heavy cream, and salt and beat until combined. Divide buttercream into three bowls. To make forest green, use 5 drops green and 4 drops brown. To make teal, use 3 drops blue and 1 drop yellow. To make purple, use 3 drops violet. Transfer buttercream into three piping bags fitted with the leaf tip. Peel off cupcake liners and place cupcakes into flower pot cupcake molds, then pipe leaves around edge of cupcake, slightly overlapping each other. Move in one layer and pipe another circle of leaves, letting them slightly fall over the first layer. Continue until cupcake is frosted.
Sweet Potato Pie Cupcakes
Sweet potato pie is a Thanksgiving favorite, but there's no reason it can't be morphed into an Easter or Christmas classic, too. And who doesn't love the idea of transforming a pie into a cupcake? YIELDS: 12 PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 20 MINS TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 30 MINS INGREDIENTS FOR THE CUPCAKES 1 box yellow cake mix 1 (15-oz.) can sweet potato puree 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. nutmeg FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST 1 c. crushed graham crackers 4 tbsp. melted butter 2 tsp. granulated sugar Pinch of kosher salt FOR THE MARSHMALLOW FROSTING 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened 1 (7.5-oz.) container marshmallow crème 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract Pinch of kosher salt Chopped toasted pecans, for garnish Cinnamon sugar, for garnish GET INGREDIENTS Powered by Chicory DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350° and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. In a large bowl, mix cake mix with canned sweet potato, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined. Make crust: In a large bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Press about 1 tablespoon of mixture into bottom of each cupcake liner. Scoop batter on top of crusts, filling 3/4 full. Bake until cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in middle of a cupcake comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Let cool completely. Meanwhile, make marshmallow frosting: In a large bowl, beat together butter and marshmallow crème until combined. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip and pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with pecans and cinnamon sugar.