Holly Berry Cupcakes

There’s nothing special about these cupcakes, except that I made them. I love baking and decorating cupcakes, but it’s really hard to find time for this hobby (and it’s not super good for my waistline). We had a family party this weekend, so I took advantage of the opportunity to break out the mixer and whip up a batch of these delicious chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and the cutest little holly berry sprinkles.

This post is also a confession: I don’t make my own cakes. Years ago, I attended a Wilton Methods cake decorating class at my local Michael’s and the instructor told us she always uses box mixes for a couple reasons:

  1. It’s always right. There’s nothing worse than spending hours decorating a cake and then it tastes awful. Follow the instructions on the box and it will turn out fine.
  2. It’s fast. If you don’t waste time baking the cake, you can spend more time decorating the dessert.

I made cupcakes out of Betty’s Original Recipe Scratch Cake Mix. The “Chocolate Joy” flavor was calling out to me. The mix required three eggs, 1.5 cups of milk, and a stick of butter. After baking for 20 minutes, they turned out just right. Not too dry. Not too moist. I was done baking the cupcakes within 30 minutes. Easy peasy.

After the cupcakes cool, you can work on the most important part: frosting them.

I made my homemade frosting in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. The beater whips the frosting up in a few minutes. I put a couple sticks of room temperature butter in the bowl, whip it, add a couple cups of powdered sugar, whip it, pour a teaspoon of vanilla extract in, whip it, and splash a little heavy whipping cream in, whip it good.

I piped the frosting onto the cupcakes with a 1A round decorating tip, but you could also just cut the tip off a plastic bag and get the same results. Afterwards, I dipped them in a bowl of white sanding sugar. These sprinkles came in a kit, but you could easily use regular granulated sugar. Then I topped each cupcake with a little red berry and two holly sprig sprinkles from this Wilton Holly Mix. Perfection!

And I usually try to keep a few “bad ones” off to the side for tasting.

Best wedding gift we received was this cupcake carrier from Crate and Barrel. Cupcakes are always so messy to transport and this contraption makes it easy to deliver them places without smashing the frosting or crushing the cake. The greatest part is the bottom is actually a cupcake pan! So practical. They don’t sell this one anymore, but this carrier is pretty close. 

Our new kitchen countertops and backsplash look great, don’t they? We replaced our builder’s special laminate with this natural granite stone a few weeks ago. We wanted white, so Stonecrafters showed us this slab of white river granite. It’s got this beautiful charcoal veining giving the counters nice flow. There are sparkles of white and red specks throughout with lots of texture and color. They are truly beautiful and such a difference from our previous grey laminate. We installed a white subway tile backsplash and we’ll paint the rest of the kitchen a beautiful light shade of March Wind grey from Sherwin-Williams.

If you’re looking for new countertops, check out Stonecrafters in Lakemoor, Illinois. They sold us a slab at a great price and they let us pick the layout of the pieces before they cut so we got exactly what we wanted. Great service!

Hope these holly berry cupcakes inspire your holiday baking!

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