Red Velvet Holiday Cupcakes...Yum! - December 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Holly
For the holidays this year I thought I'd amp up my attempt at "Martha Stewartness" and make some holiday cupcakes. Cupcakes, just make me happy because they are these little works of compact art and yummy to boot!

I got the design idea from an office neighbor (thanks Misty!) who brought in these beautiful chocolate cupcakes with "holly leaves" on top of them. Honestly, when I saw them, I was just giddy, because I knew I would have to try to make them. And a big thanks to Misty for lending me the very cool holly leaf gum press.

Here's my interpretation of them with a Red Velvet Cupcake - perfect for the holiday season!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Holly Leaves and Berries

Makes 30 (1 cupcake) servings. Prep Time: 20 minutes; Cook Time: 20 minutes

Cupcake Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened - yikes, I know...these aren't exactly healthy...but they are worth it!
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 bottle (1 ounce) McCormick® Red Food Color
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)


1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

Mix the Dry Ingredients
2.  Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Beat in Eggs
3.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla.

Add the Sour Cream

Mix in the Red Food Coloring
4.  Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not over beat.

5.  Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

Be Careful to Not Fill Too High!
6.  Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. 

Ready for Frosting
6.  Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting


Beat 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened, 2 tablespoons sour cream and 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 box (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Note: I used a frosting decorating bag - I sooo recommend this - it makes your cupcakes look pretty darn professional. This was my first try at it and after a few missteps, I was a cupcake decorating addict!

Source: McCormick®. Nutritional Information (Per Serving) : Calories: 272; Fat: 12 g; Carbohydrates: 38 g; Cholesterol: 63 mg; Sodium: 178 mg; Fiber: 1 g; Protein: 3 g

Fondant Holly Leaves and Berries

Note: You can make these ahead and put in the refrigerator to set.

What you'll need:
  • Green fondant
  • Red fondant
  • Edible sparkle dust
  • Fondant roller
  • Holly leaf cookie cutter/sugar press

1.  For the holly leaves: Place the green fondant on a cookie sheet or hard, clean surface. Use a fondant roller to roll out the fondant to the desired thickness. Hint: don't make it too thin or the "leaf" will be to flimsy to work with and it may break.

2. For the berries: Do the same above with the red fondant and roll 3 little balls for each holly leaf.

Red Fondant (Rolled Out)
Holly Berries
3.  To assemble the holly leaves and berries: Gently press the 3 holly berries above so that they stick together.

4.  Take a small amount of the frosting and put a it on the center of the holly leaf.

5.  Place the berries on top of the frosting so that it is "glued" to the holly leaf.

6. Voila! Pretty realistic and festive holly leaves with berries!

Holly Leaves with Berries
7.  With the frosting, holly leaves, berries and final cupcake, I did everything via an "assembly line" - just makes it easy.

Cupcakes...Cupcakes...Cupcakes Everywhere...Oh My!
8.  To give the cupcake a little extra holiday "sparkle", I sprinkled edible gold sparkle dust over each cupcake.

So the final cupcake, I think came out pretty darn good...don't you think?

Festive Holiday Treat...Yum!

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