These reindeer cupcakes always sell out fast at school bakes sales during the holidays. Start with my best chocolate cupcake and frosting recipe and add pretzels, vanilla wafers, and candy to create these adorable guys.
I also have more dessert recipes here.
The Best Recipe for Reindeer Cupcakes
When my kids were in school we would make a big batch of these for holiday bake sales and they would sell out instantly.
The secret is not only their cuteness—treats with smiling faces tend to sell very well at school events—but the cupcakes themselves are really really good.
They are moist and chocolately—topped with the best chocolate icing—and, once you try them, you will wake up in the night craving more!
How to Make a Reindeer Cupcake
It all starts with the best chocolate cupcakes and frosting: I have included the recipe below.
Creating the reindeer faces is pretty simple when you have the right supplies. You will find all of the ingredients listed in the recipe.
We used vanilla waffers, M&Ms or Smarties for the nose and eyes, pretzels for the antlers, and colored icing for the details including the whites of the eyes and smile.
Have fun with the supplies and follow your own creative whims. When the basic cupcake is this delicious, the decorations are just the icing on the cake!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
- 2 large Eggs
- 1¼ cups White sugar
- 1 cup Buttermilk or 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ⅔ cup Vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1½ cups Flour, white, all-purpose all-purpose
- ½ cup Cocoa powder
- 1¼ teaspoons Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ⅓ cup Butter unsalted, softened
- 3 cups Icing sugar
- ⅓ cup Cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup Milk
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Combine eggs and sugar in electric mixer.2 large Eggs, 1¼ cups White sugar
- Add buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.1 cup Buttermilk, ⅔ cup Vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Gradually add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt until everything is well combined.The batter will be fairly liquid-y but don't worry—this is just right for baking.1½ cups Flour, white, all-purpose, ½ cup Cocoa powder, 1¼ teaspoons Baking soda, 1 teaspoon Salt
- Fill muffin tins ⅔ full, leaving room for cupcakes to expand in oven.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before icing.
- If you want to make your reindeer look like mine, first mix the icing without the cocoa, Set a tablespoon of this white icing aside, and then mix the 1/3 cup cocoa powder in the remaining icing. The white icing is used for the eyes.
- Combine butter and icing sugar in electric mixer.⅓ cup Butter, 3 cups Icing sugar
- Gradually add milk and vanilla.⅓ cup Milk, ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Set aside tablespoon of white icing for reindeer eyes.
- Gently blend cocoa powder into icing.⅓ cup Cocoa powder
- When well-combined, increase speed until nice and fluffy.
- Set aside heaping tablespoon of chocolate frosting for attaching decorations.
- Frost cooled cupcakes and apply vanilla wafer muzzles as you go before icing dries.
- Create the faces first and add ears and antlers last.
- Use extra chocolate icing to attach noses (red m&ms).
- Draw smiling mouth with black soft gel.
- Add dabs of white icing and attach brown m&m eyes.
- Use chocolate sticks as ears.
- Insert pretzels as antlers.
- Store in airtight container in fridge up to 7 days.