20 min

Delicious cupcakes that are soft and moist transformed into seasonal Christmas trees. They are a whole lot of fun to make and you could go to town on the tree decorations. Here I chose to show a little restraint as I made them for a Charity cake sale.

Chocolate & Cranberry Cupcakes


For the Cupcakes

  • 175g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225ml buttermilk
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
For the Frosting
  • 180g unsalted butter, softened
  • 360g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Green food colouring gel
  • Plus 16 Maltesers
  • Silver cake decorating pearls
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan. Line one 12 hole-muffin tin and one 6 hole-muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. For the cupcakes, sift into a bowl the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until soft and creamy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla essence.
  4. Stir in half of the flour mixture then beat in the buttermilk followed by the remaining flour mixture.
  5. Gently stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips until just combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. The cakes should be well risen and feel firm to the touch.
  7. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. To make the buttercream frosting, place the butter, icing sugar, vanilla essence and about a ¼ tsp of the green food colouring into the bowl of a stand mixer or use a large bowl and an electric hand whisk, and gently mix everything together until combined. At this stage you may want to add a little more green food colour to make it the right shade for a pine tree. Turn up the speed and beat until light and fluffy.
  9. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Place a dot of the frosting into the centre of each cake and top with a Malteser.   Pipe around and up the chocolates to make a tree shape and decorate with the silver pearls.

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