This Christmas have fun decorating Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes decorated with Reese's Cup reindeer with bright red candy noses and candy cane antlers. These cupcakes will be a hit with kids and adults.
How much are you loving these sweet Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Cupcakes? They will surely make your friends and family smile.
Then, they are decorated with a super cute Reese's Peanut Butter Cup reindeer with candy cane antlers, candy eyes, and a big red candy nose.
They are so darling and delicious that they will be the hit of any Christmas celebration. They'll also be the biggest seller at your holiday bake sale or craft show along with all of my other cute Reese's Cup Cupcakes like my Christmas Mouse Cupcakes.
So, let's make some Rudolph cupcakes!
- Reese's Cups - I used the 1.4-ounce-sized peanut butter cups.
- large red candies - I used Mega M&Ms (update: no longer available) but red candy melt wafers or sour cherry candies would work well. You can also use red modeling chocolate or fondant.
- candy eyes - I used ½-inch candy eyes which are larger than the eyes you find at craft stores. I have to order them from Amazon. But, they look so cute that I don't mind.
- malted milk balls - Grab some Whoppers. They make perfect arms for the reindeer.
- small candy canes - I think the candy cane antlers look so sweet. You could use pretzels if you prefer.
- melted light cocoa candy melts or milk chocolate - You'll use this to "glue" the candy to the Reese's cups.
Chocolate Cupcakes - This recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated.
- semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate - The chocolate is the star of the show so be sure to use your favorite chocolate bars or chocolate chips.
- Dutch-processed cocoa - A little cocoa added to the recipe will enhance the chocolate flavor.
- hot coffee - If you use strong coffee, the cupcakes will have a slight mocha flavor. If you use weaker coffee, you won't taste the coffee in the chocolate cupcakes at all.
- vegetable oil - This will make your cupcakes nice and moist.
- eggs - It's always best to use room-temperature eggs. I like to place my eggs in their shell in a bowl of hot tap water for 5 minutes to warm them up before mixing them into my cake batter.
- white vinegar - A little acid will help to activate the Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
- vanilla extract
- granulated sugar
- bread flour - This will add structure to your cupcakes.
- baking soda
Chocolate Ganache frosting
- semi-sweet chocolate - You want to use semi-sweet chocolate to make the ganache frosting so it isn't too intensely flavored.
- heavy whipping cream - This will make fluffy and creamy frosting.
12 cupcake wrappers - I used black wave cupcake wrappers.
cupcake pan with 12 cavities
optional: food processor to make the chocolate ganache
pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or just snip a hole off the tip of the pastry bag)
Decorate your Reese's Cup reindeer.
Use melted light cocoa candy melts to attach two ½-inch candy eyes to each Reese's Cup. Then attach a red candy nose.
Unwrap your small candy canes and have 2 Whopper malt balls ready for each reindeer.
Make the chocolate cupcakes.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° C). Reduce the temperature to 325° F (163° C) if you are using dark cupcake pans.
Line a cupcake pan with 12 large cupcake wrappers.
Make the chocolate cake batter.
- Pour finely chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate and Dutch-processed cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl.
- Pour in the hot coffee and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Place the cake batter in the refrigerator to cool for about 20 minutes so it can cool slightly.
- Once cooled, whisk in the vegetable oil, eggs, white vinegar, and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Add it to the chocolate bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Divide the chocolate cake batter equally among the 12 cupcake wrappers.
- Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until they are set around the edges and puffed in the middle.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool completely.
Make the chocolate ganache frosting.
I like to use a food processor to make homemade chocolate ganache. I find you'll get the smoothest ganache without any fuss. See the recipe card for an alternative method.
- Place chopped chocolate in the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse until the chocolate is fine crumbs.
- Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir often until it just comes to a boil.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, put the lid on the food processor bowl, and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
- Pulse for 3 seconds.
- Remove the lid and scrape down the sides and bottom of the food processor.
- Pulse 1-2 more times.
- Spoon the ganache into a mixing bowl and cover directly with plastic wrap. Push the plastic wrap directly onto the ganache.
- Set the ganache aside for about 1 hour until it cools DO not refrigerate.
Whip the ganache into frosting.
Beat the cooled chocolate ganache using an electric mixer or whisk just until it is fluffy. Do not overmix or it will be stiff.
Assemble the cupcake reindeer.
Pipe a swirl of chocolate frosting on one cupcake then attach a Reese's Cup reindeer to the front of the swirl. Insert two candy cane antlers behind the Reese's Cup and two malt balls on either side in front of the peanut butter cup.
Repeat, decorating all 12 of your cupcake reindeer.
- 12 chocolate peanut butter cups
- 2 ounces melted milk chocolate or light cocoa candy melts
- 24 candy eyes (½ inch round)
- 12 large red candies - candy melt wafers or mega-sized candy-coated chocolates
- 24 small candy canes
- 24 small malted milk balls
- 3 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 ounce (⅓ cup) Dutch-processed cocoa
- ¾ cup hot coffee
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup 4 ⅛ ounce bread flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Unwrap the Reese's Cups and set them on your work surface.
Unwrap the candy canes. Have 2 candy canes and two malted milk balls for each reindeer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 for dark cupcake pans)
Line a cupcake pan with 12 wrappers.
Add hot coffee and stir until chocolate melts.
Place in the refrigerator to cool for about 20 minutes.
Once cooled, whisk in oil, eggs, white vinegar, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add it to the chocolate bowl and whisk until smooth.
Equally divide the batter among 12 cupcake wrappers.
Bake the cupcakes for 20-22 minutes until they are set around the edges and puffed in the middle.
Allow them to cool completely.
Pulse until chocolate is fine crumbs.
Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Stir often until it just comes to a boil.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, put lid on the food processor bowl, and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
Pulse for 3 seconds.
Remove lid and scrape down the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl.
Return the lid and pulse for 5 more seconds until smooth.
OR you can pour your heavy whipping cream and finely chopped chocolate into a saucepan and set it over LOW heat. Stir often until 75% of the chocolate has melted then remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes before stirring until smooth.
Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool for about an hour.
Beat using an electric mixer until fluffy.
Spoon into a pastry bag.
Pipe a big swirl of chocolate frosting over one cupcake.
Attach one Reese's Cup reindeer to the top of the frosted cupcake.
Attach two small malted milk balls to the cupcakes just above the wrappers and on either side of the peanut butter cup.
Insert two candy canes into the frosting behind the peanut butter cups to create antlers.
Repeat, decorating all 12 of your reindeer cupcakes.
These cupcakes will stay fresh for 3 days if stored at room temperature.
More Reindeer-themed recipes.
If you like these Chocolate Reindeer Cupcakes, you might also like these adorable Reindeer-themed Christmas treats.