Christmas Cupcakes for the Family

Going home for Christmas is the perfect opportunity for any online pastry student to show off the skills they’ve been cultivating all year. Holiday meals are practically expected to be both preceded and concluded with sweets and treats.

Show off your baking and decorating skills by whipping up a batch of these Christmas pastries for your family:

Holiday cupcakes

Cupcakes are a simple dessert that any budding pastry chef has likely mastered. What makes them great is what you do with them – they’re like tiny edible canvases on which you can let your imagination run wild. First, you’ll need the cupcakes, though.

Begin with a basic cupcake recipe, like this one from Real Simple. Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. For chocolate cupcakes, add cocoa powder and reduce some of the flour. Finally, whisk in some milk – chocolate cupcakes will call for a bit more than vanilla

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Let them cool for about 15 minutes, then take them out of the pan. Once fully cooled, you can begin decorating without fear of melting your frosting.

Santa hat cupcakes

A Santa reference always goes over well at a Christmas dinner. To make Santa hat cupcakes, you’ll need a batch of strawberries. First, frost your cupcakes with white frosting. Then, cut the stems off your strawberries and position them upside down atop your cakes. Using a frosting bag, add a white border around the base and a white dollop on top of the berry.

Hot chocolate cupcakes

These pro-level cupcakes are perfect for a mid-winter treat. Start with chocolate cupcakes, then mix a batch of marshmallow frosting, such as this recipe from Bakerita. In a heatproof bowl set in simmering water or a double boiler, combine sugar, light corn syrup, egg whites and water and stir frequently. Once the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, beat it until it forms glossy peaks, then beat in vanilla extract.

The timing is essential with this topping; you’ll need to use the frosting right away, so be sure your cupcakes are cooled. Frost your cakes, then use a kitchen torch to lightly toast them.

Wreath or tree cupcakes

Have you ever noticed that spherical sprinkles look like tiny Christmas ornaments? Play this up by sprinkling a few atop your frosted cupcakes! Using a frosting bag, pipe green frosting into a Christmas wreath or tree shape, then decorate with sprinkles.

Decorate cupcakes for the holidays.Use spherical sprinkles as mini ornaments on wreath or Christmas tree cupcakes.

White chocolate holiday bark

Highlight the colors of the season with a batch of white chocolate holiday bark accented by cranberries and pistachios. This recipe from Food Network gives the details:

Use a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set into a pot of simmering water. Melt a pound of chopped white chocolate stirring slowly. Once it holds a temperature between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit consistently, remove from heat and quickly stir in oil. If the chocolate reaches a higher temperature, remove it from heat right away and whisk it quickly to cool it down.

Once the oil is completely blended in, the chocolate is tempered and ready to use, but it needs to remain at a temperature between 82 and 86 degrees. If it starts to fall below, return it to your double boiler. Now, stir in your pistachios and dried cranberries. Turn the mixture out onto a foil-lined baking sheet. The chocolate should be about a half-inch thick at this point. Let the bark cool in the pan at room temperature until set. Once completely cooled, break into irregular pieces and store in the fridge.

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