My best friend Emily has a Christmas party every year. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, desserts. Very fun, very festive. We go every year.
Almost every year I’ve brought a dessert to the party. Cookies one year, a cheesecake another. This year, I decided cupcakes were the best way to go.
Cupcakes are great for these type of meet and mingle parties. I went with small, bite-sized cupcakes instead of the regular size, so that guests who are standing and trying to balance a plate and a glass can down them in one or two bites. I made the cakes using Paula Deen’s chocolate cake recipe. Surprisingly, there is no butter in this cake mix; it’s an oil cake. There is, however, a good amount of sour cream for texture and to add a nice bite to the sweet chocolate. I also added a little peppermint extract to go with the candy cane marshmallow meringue frosting.
They were scrumptious. I topped them off with a few pearl sprinkles for Christmas ornaments and a vanilla meringue star (I used my meringue recipe from here, but removed the candy cane and added about 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract). The stars began to droop a bit as the night wore on, but they were yummy nonetheless.
Emily’s dessert table. She made brownie/strawberry Santa hats that were adorable and delicious! She also did a hot chocolate bar, which I indulged in quite a bit. So fun.
I’ll be spending my Christmas gorging on crab, fondue, mountains of cookies and apple cider. I’ve always been a big fan of spending the last week of the year stuffing my face with anything that isn’t nailed down. Next week I’ll be posting some of our Christmas recipes that will work just as well for any New Year’s dinners or brunches you may be holding as well.
To each and everyone of you, happy happy holidays! THG
Chocolate Peppermint Christmas Cupcakes
(adapted from Paula Deen’s recipe here)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup instant espresso, cooled
3 large eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line small cupcake tins with paper liners and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients well. Add oil, espresso and eggs. Mix well until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in sour cream, vanilla extract and peppermint extract and mix until well combined and smooth.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake tins, about 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven until toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool in tins about 10 minutes, and transfer out of tins and onto cooling rack to completely cool.
Candy Cane Marshmallow Meringue
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
large pinch of cream of tartar
green food coloring
1/2 cup crushed candy cane
In a double boiler, heat egg whites and sugar over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to mixer and add cream of tartar. Whip egg whites with whisk attachment on high speed until soft peaks form. Add food coloring to desired shade and whip egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold in candy cane pieces.
Spoon meringue into pastry bag and pipe in a swirled, Christmas-tree like pattern on top of cooled cupcakes. Top with sprinkles and meringue stars.
Makes approximately 40 cupcakes