Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes

Decadently rich chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate ganache frosting decorated to look like adorably cute reindeer for Christmas.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: christmas desserts, reindeer cupcakes
Cupcakes: recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 1 ounce 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup 4 1/8 ounce bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Chocolate Ganache frosting:
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 ounces melted milk chocolate or light cocoa candy melts
  • 12 chocolate peanut butter cups
  • 12 large red candies candy melt wafers or mega sized candy coated chocolates
  • 24 candy eyes 1/2 inch round
  • 24 small malted milk balls
  • 24 small candy canes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for dark cupcake pans)
  2. Line a cupcake pan with 12 wrappers.
  3. Pour finely chopped chocolate and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add hot coffee and stir until chocolate melts.
  5. Place in the refrigerator to cool for about 20 minutes.
  6. Once cooled, whisk in oil, eggs, white vinegar, and vanilla extract.
  7. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Add it to the chocolate bowl and whisk until smooth.
  9. Equally divide batter among 12 cupcake wrappers.
  10. Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until they are set around the edges and puffed in the middle.
  11. Allow them to cool completely.
Chocolate ganache frosting:
  1. Place chopped chocolate in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Pulse until chocolate is fine crumbs.
  3. Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Stir often until it just comes to a boil.
  5. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, put lid on the food processor bowl, and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Pulse for 3 seconds.
  7. Remove lid and scrape down the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl.
  8. Return lid and pulse for 5 more seconds until smooth.
  9. Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool for about an hour.
  10. Beat using an electric mixer until fluffy.
  11. Pipe in big swirls over cooled cupcakes.
  1. Use melted chocolate to attach two jumbo candy eyes and a red nose to each peanut butter cup.
  2. Attach to the top of the frosted cupcake.
  3. Attach two small malted milk balls to the cupcakes just above the wrappers and on either side of the peanut butter cup.
  4. Insert two candy canes into the frosting behind the peanut butter cups to create antlers.