The Santa and his reindeer cupcakes are eggnog cake with eggnog frosting, and the decorations are made of royal icing. To make royal icing decorations like these, create your decorations on a piece of wax paper in the same way you would frost a cookie with royal icing (if you don't know how to do that, wait for my upcoming post about sugar cookies!), let them dry completely, then carefully pick them up with a spatula and transfer them to your cupcakes.
To make eggnog cake, I used my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe and just substituted the milk for eggnog. The cake had a decent noggy flavor, but using eggnog instead of milk made the cake much more dense. For the frosting, I decided on a cooked flour buttercream because that type of frosting uses a lot of milk. (If you'd like more info about cooked flour buttercream, I suggest Pioneer Woman's tutorial on the subject.) The frosting didn't seem to like the substitution and had a bit of a strange texture, but the taste was spot-on. I don't think I can get such a strong noggy flavor with another type of frosting. Next year I will have to experiment some more, though, and see if I can create a frosting with a similarly great flavor, but that is more pipe-able. I also made some alcoholic frosting, and of course that just made it worse--consistency-wise only of course! ;)
I also made some gingerbread latte cupcakes using this recipe from Cupcake Project.
The only difference in my cupcakes is that I only made coffee frosting, no gingerbread frosting. These cupcakes were delicious!!! I love, love, love gingerbread, and the coffee frosting was simply phenomenal. They were a great dessert, but if you're going to eat cupcakes for breakfast (and you know you want to), this one would be a great start-of-the-day cupcake. I topped them with mini gingerbread man sprinkles from my local cake supply shop.
Next up: Chocolate peppermint cupcakes!
The last Christmas cupcakes I made were classic red velvet with cream cheese frosting.
As you can see, I decorated them with wreaths and poinsettias. It's a bit harder to pipe decorations with cream cheese frosting than with buttercream, since cream cheese doesn't get as stiff, but they came out very cute :)
I'm already excited for Christmas this year and am thinking of which cupcakes I can make, and how I can decorate them!