A simple technique for making beautiful Poinsettia Cupcakes will wow everyone!
Back in September, when I created these cupcakes for a KitchenAid/Susan Komen, Cook for the Cure campaign, I couldn’t help think that they looked like poinsettias. They actually seemed a little out of place for fall baking, despite them being perfect for this worthy breast cancer fund raiser.
I didn’t realize how popular this technique would be until I started getting all kinds of emails from readers who were having fun re-creating these pretty little cakes. One letter was from a high school teacher who utilized the technique with her students. The teenagers run a weekly “café” that feeds 400 members of the community each week. She sent pictures of her proud students with their beautifully decorated creations. Another email was from a grandmother with pictures of the cupcakes her young granddaughter had made for her volleyball team.
I decided to resurrect the easy, cupcakes several weeks ago over on Facebook as “Poinsettia Cupcakes”, since they really do favor the beloved flowering Christmas plants. They almost immediately went quite viral. I thought you might enjoy them too this holiday season. They’re a really fun project for kids and make a festive holiday dessert as well.
Think I’m spoofing you that this decorating technique is also easy? I’m not! But since “seeing is believing”, we put together a quick video showing you step-by-step instructions:
Not only is the decorating technique super easy, if you like chocolate, we’ve got an incredibly moist and delicious, one bowl cupcake recipe for you today too.
I call them my Easiest, Best Ever Chocolate Cupcakes, because that’s exactly what they are. What the title doesn’t say is that they’re beautifully domed, one-bowl and come together in minutes. Check out the video below, then pull out the ingredients, a big bowl and a sturdy spoon or spatula and you’ll be ready to roll!
Scroll down for the complete recipe and written instructions for the cupcake decorating technique. Have fun and happy holidays from The Café!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder*
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup coffee**, cooled
- Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and whisk to combine.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed to combine, then increase speed to high and mix for 1 minute. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for another 10-15 seconds. The batter will be thinner than most cake batters, but don’t worry; it’s just the way it should be!
- Fill cupcake liners just a little over half full***.
- Place in the oven and bake 23-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool completely. Decorate as desired.
** Don’t worry, if you don’t like coffee, you don’t taste it in these cupcakes. Coffee just enhances the flavor of the chocolate. You could use decaf coffee but, if you divide it up, there’s so little caffeine from the coffee (about 4mg) in each cupcake, it’s quite negligible.
*** This batter rises significantly and produces lovely domed cupcakes. Just don’t fill the cups too high. You will have a small amount of extra batter. If you try to use it all, the cupcakes will rise over the top edges of the cupcake liners. Either discard the leftover batter (it’s not much) or bake it in a small ramekin or baking cup.
Recipe Adapted from Add a Pinch
- colored sugar(s)
- buttercream icing
- marshmallows, about 16-18 for each cupcake
- cooking spray or oil
- sprinkles, non pareils,
- Frost 1 cupcake at a time with a fairly thick layer of buttercream icing. It doesn't have to be fancy but try to keep a nice shape and cover to the edges with the icing.
- Place colored sugar in a medium-size shallow bowl.
- Place a small amount of sprinkles in a small bowl.
- Spray the blades of a clean scissors with cooking spray or wipe lightly with a paper towel that's been dipped in oil. Wipe off any excess oil. (If blades of the scissors begin to get sticky at any point, just wash the scissors with hot water, dry well and repeat oil.
- Cut about 16-18 marshmallows in half, diagonally and add them to bowl with sugar. Stir to coat sticky, cut side of marshmallow halves with colored sugar.
- Cut 1 marshmallow in half crosswise and place sticky side down into sprinkles (or non pareils). Push down on marshmallow half to enlarge it to a circular "button". Remove from sprinkle bowl and set aside. Repeat with other half.
- Beginning at the outer edge of the frosted cupcake, place marshmallows all the way around the cupcake. When you apply them, pinch the end facing outwards for the "poinsettia look". When the outer circle is complete, move in and do the same thing again. The last circle of petals should be right around the "button". (I use 14-16 "petals" around the outer edges. 10-12 around the middle circle and 6-7 around that surrounds "the button.)
- With your hands slightly cupped, gently shape the flower so that it's circular and some outer petals aren't sticking out.
- Repeat procedure for remaining cupcakes.
- The video in the post above demonstrates all these steps.
Use any colored sugar you like or multiple sugars. It would be pretty to do the petals in different shades of the same hue for an ombre effect.
You can color your own sugar! Just fill a small jar about half full with regular granulate sugar. Add a drop of food coloring at a time and shake, shake, shake! Add more food color to achieve a darker color, drop by drop. If you used gel food color, stir the mixture with a spoon instead of shaking. Keep pushing the sugar against the walls of the glass jar as you stir, till all the gel food color has been distributed.
It's fine to make all the marshmallow "petals" before you get started with the decorating but frost each cupcake as you go. If the icing hardens with will be more difficult for the marshmallow "petals" to adhere.
If you pinch the outer tips of "the petals" as you're placing them on the cupcake you'll get a different looking flower than if you keep them rounded.
This would be a really fun project to do with kids!