Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Cooking like a star for Finn's Christmas Fair. Martha Stewart's Vanilla Cupcakes with a Christmas Twist

Because I am disorganised (and a little distracted by tough stuff at the moment) it took 'til Wednesday for me to realise that instead of helping Finn with his 'Busy Bee Book' this week I was on 'Baking for the Christmas Fair' duty instead. Panic. My week was already busy without added cupcake chaos but I would have felt a bit of a fraud if I had popped out to buy half a dozen when I am apparently someone who likes cooking and baking. And to be honest, the mixing of batter, the swirling of frosting and the shaping of holly berries was more therapeutic than I had imagined. Sometimes things happen for a reason, or so I am led to believe.
I had a mind to bake a la Martha Stewart as I was determined to take part in the December blog hop of Cook Like A Star which is hosted by Zoe over at Bake For Happy Kids. After asking some good friends I cooked a couple of Martha Stewart recipes in preparation and then as I discovered that I had cupcakes to create in short time, I decided that another chance to cook a Martha Stewart recipe. So, seeing as it's 1st December, I am blogging this in an attempt to get myself a little Christmas spirit.
The cupcake and frosting recipes are both from the Martha Stewart website, but the holly decoration is my own. I had a little green and red sugarpaste left over from my adventures with Angry Birds so with a craft knife and a steady hand I cut out some leaves and shaped some berries. Not difficult.
Anyway, these cupcakes provoked some very flattering comments at the school gate, and it was nice to be complimented, especially since these are not onerously difficult to make. I hope you will give these a try!
Vanilla Cupcakes with Basic Vanilla Buttercream
Makes 24 (though I made 18 big ones!)
For the cakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk
And for the vanilla buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
And the holly decoration:
A little red sugarpaste
About 50g green sugarpaste


Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl, beat in vanilla.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl to assure the batter is thoroughly mixed.
Divide batter evenly among liners, filling papers about 2/3 full.
Slightly domed! I just sliced the tops off to flatten them off!
Bake on the centre rack of the oven until tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.
Using a piping bag with a star nozzle, pipe a swirl onto the top of the cooled cupcakes.
Roll out the green sugarpaste onto a surface floured with icing sugar. Using a knife, cut out a holly leaf (or use a cookie cutter). Mark out the veins on the leaf and place them carefully onto the cupcake.
Finn - offering valauble cake decorating advice and all round moral support
Take the red sugarpaste and roll into tiny red balls. Place at the bottom of the holly leaves to create the holly sprig.
Please take the opportunity to visit the blog posts below, all of which contain some amazing Martha Stewart recipes!


  1. Yay! A lovely Christmas post - I have been dying for the first of December to do a few festive posts, yours look lovely, I'm sure they were well received. Sending some Christmas spirit your way :)

  2. Hi Stella,

    Your Christmasy cupcakes look very impressive! I see a very proud Finn standing next these cupcakes :D

    I have bookmarked too many MS recipes to bake and time seems passing too quickly for me to cook or bake these wonderful recipes before Xmas... Glad that you enjoy baking with MS recipe. Me too.


  3. Hello Stella, thanks for joining us in this bloghop. Lovely cupcakes and your kids are absolutely gorgeous!

  4. Hi Stella!

    The beautiful holly on the cupcakes really sets the mood for Christmas! I can't wait for the holidays to arrive!

    Thanks for joining the bloghop!

  5. These cupcakes are so festive with lovely frosting! I bet the kids enjoyed eating these yummy cupcakes. Your children are adorable. Have a nice day :)

  6. Stella you did a fabulous job on these! They look simply delicious and just right for the season!

  7. Hi Stella!

    Finn's adorable! and love the swirled tops of your cupcakes!

  8. Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!


    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick


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