Starting in 2020, with each book I publish (for all my pen names), I’ve been creating custom “character cupcakes” (Nailed It style – I am not a master cupcake decorator, lol). These are cupcakes designed to go with a specific book and reflect the characters in that book.
Are you ready for Snowball’s Christmas cupcakes!?!?
These are devil’s food cupcakes with a cherry center and vanilla buttercream frosting.
Why those combinations, you ask?
This book really has three main characters, so I tried to go with flavors and a look that covered all three.
First, Snowball the kitten, who tells a little bit of each chapter from her POV, is a little bit the star of the series. In addition, the book is set at Christmas at a Victorian Inn in the mountains with lots of snow. So I wanted my cupcakes to look like snowballs. Hence the vanilla buttercream frosting with sugar sprinkles (which I did my best to form into snowball-like balls).
The hero, Lukas, is a travelled photographer and also a bit of a tease. In fact, he and Snowball, who is quite precocious, are a hoot together. For both of them I loved the idea of devil’s food cake (a particularly rich and moist chocolate cake)–because of that spark of mischief.
Finally, the heroine, Emily, is an incredible baker hoping to open her own bakery soon. In the book she prepares many German desserts, pastries, and foods because her German grandmother taught her. Which is why I added the cherry center to the cupcakes. Many German desserts center around fruit, and the combination of the cherry and chocolate reminds me of Black Forest Cake, which is a German dessert.
This is my recipe. After looking through a gazillion different recipes out there, as well as my mom’s (she’s an awesome baker), I came up with up with my own ingredients and measurements combos. Share as you like!
DEVIL’S FOOD CUPCAKES
- 3/4 cup cake flour (sifted)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 cup butter)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Set 12 cupcake wrappers into a cupcake baking pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sifted dry ingredients: cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In separate bowl, beat together the eggs, vegetable oil (or butter), sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla.
- Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture until the batter is smooth.
- Add the buttermilk a little at a time (I did it in 1/3rds) beat until blended smooth. (Will be soupy.)
- Scoop batter into cupcake wrappers (about 1/2 full).
- Bake for 16 to 21 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool, then using a small scoop (apple corer, round 1/2 teaspoon, etc.) scoop out a pocket from the top of each cupcake.
- Fill with chosen filling (I used sour cherry preserves).
The recipe really fluffs up while baking, so only fill the cups 1/2 way full (rather than the more standard 3/4). Seriously, y’all. It fluffs up big. LOL.
Makes closer to 15 cupcakes. 16 minutes was perfect.
I used sour cherry preserves for the filling, but also great with all sorts of other fillings including caramel, chocolate ganache, more buttercream, other fruit.
I was really trying to make these light and fluffy which is why I used cake flour instead of all-purpose, vegetable oil instead of butter, added the buttermilk, and sifted the flour. I have to say it worked great!
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM ICING
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (room temperature) (1/4 cup if you want stiffer frosting)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
- In a large bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer.
- Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat to blend evenly.
- Add vanilla extract and 2 more cups powdered sugar and beat to blend evenly.
- Add salt and cream and beat to blend evenly.
- Pipe frosting onto the cooled cupcakes (forming to look like snowballs).
- Sprinkle with decorative sugar.
Super easy frosting, and super tasty!
Use a lighter colored butter for a whiter frosting. (I was aiming at snowballs and got a more butter color, lol.)
If needed, add more cream until the frosting is the consistency you want. OR to thicken, add more powdered sugar.
Because it was Christmastime, the stores were out of white decorative sugar so I used silver and sugar pearls. I do NOT recommend the sugar pearls. They are really hard. LOL.
Don’t forget to check out Snowball’s Christmas! The Purrfect holiday awaits…
Snowball–an aptly named bundle of feline fluff–is thankful to be spending her first Christmas in the comfort of Weber Haus, the Victorian B&B run by Miss Tilly. Emily Diemer, who cooks for the guests, dotes on Snowball, but she’s not thrilled about another new arrival at the B&B: Miss Tilly’s nephew, Lukas. Which is odd, because Snowball’s animal instincts tell her that Lukas and Emily should definitely be friends.