Rudolph Cupcakes – easy, cute, kid-friendly and delicious. Adorable reindeer-decorated cupcakes made with chocolate buttercream, M&M’s, candy eyes, Nilla wafers, and pretzels.
Can’t wait for Christmas yet? You don’t have to, because by making these super cute chocolate Rudolf cupcakes you already get the Christmas feeling at home. Besides that they look so lovely, these reindeer cupcakes are also delicious and super easy to make!
Kids will absolutely love making and eating these cute reindeer cupcakes. The cupcakes will always turn out great and even kids can decorate them. They will be a real eyecatcher at your Christmas party.
For the cupcakes, I used my basic recipe for chocolate cupcakes, and for the buttercream of cupcakes, I used my chocolate buttercream recipe. The chocolate buttercream also fits perfectly with the taste of the chocolate cupcakes.
If you don’t feel like baking the cupcakes yourself, you can also buy 12 cupcakes and decorate them yourself. Perfect as a Christmas snack or Christmas dessert.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Sunflower oil: in the chocolate cupcakes recipe, sunflower oil is used instead of butter, because sunflower oil makes the cupcakes creamier and less dry.
- Chocolate: these cupcakes have a really intense chocolate taste, this is because both cocoa powder and pure melting chocolate have been used in the recipe. Use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, as it gives a more intense chocolate flavor. Grab good dark melting chocolate (from the baking department), so that the chocolate melts well in the oven when baking and makes the cupcakes extra creamy.
- Coffee powder: coffee powder is also added to the recipe. Coffee ensures that the chocolate flavor comes into its own even more. In the end, you can’t taste the coffee in the muffins.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: The recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda so the cupcakes can travel up perfectly. Note: baking powder is different from self-rising flour.
- Buttermilk: Also used in this recipe, because buttermilk reacts with baking soda, making the cupcakes fluffier. In addition, buttermilk provides an extra soft and creamy taste.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
Let’s walk through how to make these Holiday Cupcakes. For full ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card.
The recipe that I used for these reindeer cupcakes is my chocolate cupcake recipe. In my opinion, the best chocolate cupcakes ever. They are moist, fluffy, and delicious. But if you want to make it yourself easier during the Holidays.. you can also buy 12 chocolate cupcakes or make a cupcake bake mix.
The combination of the chocolate cupcakes with the chocolate buttercream is amazing. This will be the perfect Christmas frosting for these Rudolph cupcakes.
Decorate reindeer cupcakes
Now it’s time to make your most beautiful reindeer cupcakes. Look at the video on the recipe card to see exactly how to decorate the cupcakes.
Place a Nilla Wafer at the bottom of the cupcake. Place two sugar eyes on top and place them next to each other so that it becomes a face. Place two mini pretzels above the sugar eyes. Grab a red or a brown M&M. Spread a little chocolate buttercream on top and place it in the middle on top of the Nilla Wafer.
The equipment you need for making Rudolph cupcakes.
- Whisk, hand mixer, or a stand mixer
- Mixing bowl
- Cupcake pan (optional)
- Cupcake baking cups
- Kitchen scale
👩🏼🍳 Expert tips
- Bake in grams – Use a kitchen scale to weigh your ingredients instead of using measurement cups. A kitchen scale is more accurate.
- Don’t overmix the batter – If you overmix the batter it will result in a gummy and unpleasantly chewy cupcake instead of a light and airy cupcake.
- Don’t overfill your cupcakes – Fill the cupcake lines for a maximum of 2/3. It is no problem to underfill your cupcakes.
- Don’t overbake the cupcakes – If you put the cupcakes in the oven for a longer time than needed. They will dry out.
- Don’t open the oven door while baking. You can only do that at the end of the baking time to check the doneness of the cupcakes.
- Use room temperature ingredients
- Use an ice scoop to divide the batter into cupcake tins. Make the ice scoop wet under cold water before using it. Or use two spoons.
- Cool down – Make sure your bakings are completely cooled before you can put the topping on them. Otherwise, everything will collapse.
- Use a kitchen scale to properly measure your baked goods.
Out of the refrigerator
Homemade chocolate cupcakes without topping or decoration can be stored for 4-5 days in an airtight container outside the refrigerator. Don’t refrigerate them, because they dry out in the fridge. The best way to store them is to store the cupcakes in a cool place.
You can keep cupcakes with a topping for a maximum of 2 days, but it is best that you decorate and eat them on the same day and eat them. Store the cupcakes in a cool place.
If you’re not using the frosting straightaway, you can cover it and refrigerate it for up to a week. Allow it to come back up to room temperature and beat again if necessary before using. It will take about 1 hour to come to room temperature.
Undecorated cupcakes can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then pack them airtight and possibly in small portions. Unfortunately, you cannot freeze homemade chocolate cupcakes with a topping. You can freeze a covered buttercream for up to six months.
⚖️ Baking in grams
The most accurate way to bake is by baking by weight. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can lead to baking failures. Therefore all of my recipes are posted in grams. I always bake with a scale, so I have a recipe card that automatically converts metrics to US customary, but it can have errors. So I advise you to bake with a digital scale. You can find them on Amazon for a small price.
⭐️ Did you make this? Please leave a star rating below or a review in the comments section.
Chocolate Rudolph Reindeer Cupcakes (video)
- 175 grams all-purpose flour
- 160 ml buttermilk
- 120 ml vegetable oil
- 180 grams light brown sugar
- 75 grams dark chocolate
- 50 grams cocoa powder
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 1,5 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 espresso cold
- 1 pinch of salt
- 125 grams unsalted butter room temperature
- 100 grams powdered sugar
- 30 grams cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 24 candy eyes
- 12 M&M's red or brown for noses
- 12 Nilla Wafers for muzzles or another round cookie
- 24 Pretzels for antlers
- Preheat the conventional oven to 165℃ / 330 °F. Position an oven rack in the center position. Prepare a muffin pan and place the muffin cups in it.
- Sieve all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix them together.175 grams all-purpose flour, 50 grams cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 pinch of salt
- Mix all the liquid ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with a ladle until solved.160 ml buttermilk, 120 ml vegetable oil, 180 grams light brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1 espresso, 1,5 tsp vanilla extract
- Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients with a whisk until solved. Chop the dark chocolate into little chunks and add it to the mixture.75 grams dark chocolate
- Divide the cupcake batter over cups with an ice cream scoop or two spoons. Make sure that the cupcake cups are 3/4 full with the cupcake batter. Don't overfill! Bake at 165℃ / 330 °F for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pan completely on a cooling rack before turning out of the pan and frosting
Chocolate Holiday Frosting
- Take the butter out of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before making the buttercream, and soften it at room temperature.
- Mix the butter (room temperature) on the highest setting for 5 minutes. The longer the butter is beaten, the fluffier the buttercream becomes.125 grams unsalted butter
- Gradually the powdered sugar. Mix everything well each time with a mixer on the lowest setting, until everything is well dissolved. Turn the mixing speed up to medium-high and beat for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and salt.100 grams powdered sugar, 30 grams cacao powder, pinch of salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Frost the cupcakes. Make sure that the cupcakes are cooled down completely before decorating!
Decorate the Rudolph Cupcakes
- Now it's time to make your most beautiful reindeer cupcakes. Look at the picture of the Rudolf cupcakes as an example. Place a Nilla Wafer at the bottom of the cupcake. Place two sugar eyes on top and place them next to each other so that it becomes a face. Place two mini pretzels above the sugar eyes. Grab a red or a brown M&M. Spread a little chocolate buttercream on top and place it in the middle on top of the Nilla Wafer.24 candy eyes, 12 M&M's, 12 Nilla Wafers, 24 Pretzels
- I hope this helps! Have a wonderful holiday season!
- Bake in grams. Use a kitchen scale to properly measure your baked goods.
- Don’t overmix the batter
- Don’t overfill your cupcakes
- Don’t overbake the cupcakes
- Don’t open the oven door while baking.
- Use room temperature ingredients
- Use an ice scoop to divide the batter into cupcake tins.
- Check doneness with toothpick test
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
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