A Festive Cupcake Selection for your Holiday Dessert Table

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

My KitchenAid® stand mixer gets a workout!  It’s pretty rare that a day goes by where I don’t use it for something.  Cookies, cream puffs, macarons, breads, fillings, brownies, you name it!  I’ve had it for over 15 years, and it’s the cornerstone of my kitchen.

At no time is this more true than during the holiday season.  The highlight of our year is a big cozy get-together with friends and family, with a roaring fire, an endless stream of nibbles, cocktails and mocktails, gifts, and a fabulous dessert table with a whole assortment of tempting treats.  I love to offer all sorts of festive and seasonal flavors.  It’s so much fun to have a little taste of everything!

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

Cupcakes are a great way to do this, they’re small and portable, everybody loves them, and the flavor combinations are infinite!  This holiday season, I’ll be offering three varieties of cupcakes, each one with a unique flavor profile.  They are all so different, yet so wintry and nostalgic!

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

Between all the cakes, fillings, and toppings, a stand mixer comes in pretty handy!  Mine comes with two different sized bowls, and I used both, as well as the whip and flat beater attachments, for each cupcake variety.

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

Speaking of which, what you see here are Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling and Whipped Cream, Eggnog Cupcakes with Rum Custard Filling and Nutmeg Buttercream, and Cocoa Cupcakes with Whipped Peppermint Ganache Filling and Swiss Meringue.

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

Gingerbread and lemon curd are a classic combination, and you are going to love the way the spicy ginger contrasts with bright lemon.  The whipped cream is stabilized with gelatin, so it will last on your buffet into the wee hours!

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

The eggnog cupcakes are so festive, and the boozy rum filling and nutmeg buttercream really come together for a very authentic cupcake take on your favorite winter tipple.

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

Without a doubt, my favorite thing about the colder months is curling up with a steaming cup of hot cocoa.  I love to add a little kick of  peppermint, and a big dollop of marshmallow cream.  These are hot chocolate in cupcake form, and the meringue topping is loaded with sticky marshmallow goodness.

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

All three cake recipes utilize the reverse creaming method, which I love because it only uses one bowl, and you don’t even have to wait for your butter to soften!  With this method, you can knock out a dozen cupcakes in just 10 minutes, plus bake time.

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

The smaller bowl is really useful for the fillings, and you’ll definitely want to use the whip attachment for the fluffy toppings too.  It makes everything so smooth and airy!

Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

Your guests are going to love sampling each of these sweet darlings!  They are all so different from one another, but they complement each other so well.  Each one is unmistakably “holiday,” and they look just gorgeous on the dessert table!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Curd Filling and Whipped Cream Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For the lemon curd filling

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon

For the gingerbread cupcakes

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2  teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses (not blackstrap)
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

For the whipped cream

1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon gelatin powder
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Garnish

Approx. 3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger

DIRECTIONS

Make the lemon curd filling

Cream the butter and sugar in the smaller bowl of the stand mixer (with the whip attachment).

Mix in the eggs and then the lemon juice.  (Mixture will look curdled.)

Transfer to a small pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 15 minutes.)  The curd should coat the back of a spoon and register 170 degrees F on a thermometer.  Do not allow it to boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.  Transfer to a heat safe vessel, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cooled.

Make the gingerbread cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the flours, sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt in the larger bowl of the stand mixer, and mix on low speed (with the paddle attachment) to combine.

Add the cold, cubed butter, and continue to mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Stir in the eggs until incorporated.  Mixture will resemble cookie dough.

Add the Greek yogurt, molasses, and fresh ginger, and continue to mix until combined.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat for about 90 seconds to aerate the batter and develop the cake’s structure.

Fill each well of a paper-lined cupcake pan with 1/4 cup of batter, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Cool completely, fill with lemon curd, and top with whipped cream.

Make the whipped cream

Place 2 tablespoons heavy cream in a small bowl, and sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the surface.  Allow to stand for 5 minutes.  Stir gently and warm slightly in the microwave (about 15 seconds).  Stir again to ensure that the gelatin has dissolved.  Allow to cool slightly.

Place the remaining cream in the smaller bowl of the stand mixer, and whip on high speed (with the whip attachment), until slightly thickened.

Add the sugar, and continue to whip until the soft peak stage.

Add the cooled gelatin mixture and whip until the stiff peak stage.

Pipe onto Gingerbread Cupcakes, and sprinkle on chopped candied ginger for garnish.

\Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

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Eggnog Cupcakes with Rum Custard Filling and Nutmeg Buttercream

Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For the rum custard filling

2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk (whole, 2%, or 1%)
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

For the eggnog cupcakes

3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2  teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup prepared eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the nutmeg buttercream

3 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened but cool
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Garnish

Approx. 1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

Make the rum custard filling

Place the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the cornstarch in the smaller bowl of the stand mixer, and mix on low speed (with the whip attachment), until incorporated.

Heat the milk, remaining sugar, rum, and salt in a pot until just barely simmering.

Pour about ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, mixing on low speed to combine.  Continue to stir the hot milk into the yolks, stirring, a little at a time, until the outside of the mixing bowl feels very warm to the touch.

Pour the tempered egg yolks into the pot with the remaining milk mixture.

Cook over low heat, whisking continuously, until thickened.

Place the thickened cream back in the mixing bowl, add the butter and vanilla bean paste, and mix on low speed until completely incorporated.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a heat safe vessel, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cooled.

Make the eggnog cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the larger bowl of the stand mixer, and mix on low speed (with the paddle attachment) to combine.

Add the cold, cubed butter, and continue to mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Stir in the eggs until incorporated.  Mixture will resemble cookie dough.

Add the eggnog and vanilla extract, and continue to mix until combined.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat for about 90 seconds to aerate the batter and develop the cake’s structure.

Fill each well of a paper-lined cupcake pan with ¼ cup of batter, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Cool completely, fill with rum custard filling, and top with nutmeg buttercream.

Make the nutmeg buttercream

Place the egg whites and sugar in the larger bowl of the stand mixer.  Set over a pot of simmering water, whisking continuously until the mixture is hot (160 degrees F), opaque, and the sugar is completely dissolved (should not feel gritty when rubbed between your fingers).

Attach the bowl to the mixer, and whip on high speed (with the whip attachment) to the stiff-peak stage.

When the meringue is completely cooled, add in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, whipping well after each addition.  If the mixture looks curdled, continue to whip until it comes back together, before adding the remaining butter.

Stir in the vanilla and nutmeg, pipe onto eggnog cupcakes, and sprinkle on more nutmeg for garnish.

\Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

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Cocoa Cupcakes with Whipped Peppermint Ganache Filling and Swiss Meringue

Makes 12 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For the whipped peppermint ganache

3 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
1/4  cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the cocoa cupcakes

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the swiss meringue

3 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Garnish

Approx. 3 tablespoons crushed candy canes

DIRECTIONS

Make the whipped peppermint ganache filling

Chop the chocolate finely and place in the smaller bowl of the stand mixer.

Heat the cream in a small pot until just barely simmering.

Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, add the peppermint extract, and allow to stand for five minutes.

Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and fully combined.  Refrigerate for two hours or until solidified.

Whip the ganache on high speed (with the whip attachment) until fluffy.

Make the cocoa cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the sugar, flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the larger bowl of the stand mixer, and mix on low speed (with the paddle attachment) to combine.

Add the cold, cubed butter, and continue to mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Stir in the eggs until incorporated.  Mixture will resemble cookie dough.

Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract, and continue to mix until combined.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat for about 90 seconds to aerate the batter and develop the cake’s structure.

Fill each well of a paper-lined cupcake pan with 1/4 cup of batter, and bake for 16 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Cool completely, fill with whipped peppermint ganache filling, and top with swiss meringue.

Make the swiss meringue

Place the egg whites and sugar in the larger bowl of the stand mixer.  Set over a pot of simmering water, whisking continuously until the mixture is hot (160 degrees F), opaque, and the sugar is completely dissolved (should not feel gritty when rubbed between your fingers).

Attach the bowl to the mixer, and whip on high speed (with the whip attachment) to the stiff-peak stage.

Stir in the vanilla, pipe onto cocoa cupcakes, and sprinkle on crushed candy canes for garnish.

\Holiday Cupcakes Recipes

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*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*

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  • Zainab @ Blahnik Baker

    What beautiful cupcakes Allie!! So festive and I love how different each are.

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