The classic holiday flavours of chocolate and gingerbread combine in these soft and delicious vegan cupcakes, finished off with a festive poinsettia piped in buttercream. Let me show you how easy it is to make these decorative little cakes!
If you’ve been a follower of this site for a while, you’ll know that cupcakes are one of my favourite things to bake. I love how simple and easy they are to make, as well as just how versatile they can be, both with flavours and decorating options. With just a few simple tools and tricks it’s so easy to let your creativity run wild and create something pretty that’s also delicious.
To create festive themed cupcakes you’re going to need a few things on hand; cupcakes, food colouring, piping bags & tips, and sprinkles.
To get started you are going to need a delicious cupcake base to decorate! For these poinsettia cupcakes I decided to make a chocolate gingerbread flavour, combining the richness of chocolate with warming spices to create the ultimate Christmas time treat.
I also like the dark coloured cakes with this design as it gives a nice contrast to the vibrant colours of the poinsettia.
These cupcakes are based on my vegan chocolate cupcakes with a few tweaks. To get that delicious sticky gingerbread flavour, these cupcakes use both golden syrup (or molasses if you can’t get golden syrup) and dark brown sugar which make the end result super soft and rich so I don’t recommend deviating from the recipe.
I’ve also loaded up on the spices like in my vegan gingerbread loaf cake, using a combination of ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. If you don’t have all of these spices or really don’t like cloves, just leave those out and stick to the combination of ginger and cinnamon, the flavour won’t quite have that level of complexity but it will still taste delicious.
Decorating the cupcakes
While these cupcakes are super delicious, the thing that makes them stand out is the decorations. When thinking about how I wanted to decorate these cupcakes for Christmas a few ideas came to mind but I couldn’t go past the striking red and green of the poinsettia.
I also don’t discount the fact that this recipe allowed me to combine my love of cupcakes with my love of plants and Christmas decorations. It’s winning all round really.
These cupcakes are super pretty and fun and are made easy with the help of one specialist tool – the leaf piping tip. Turns out I had one hiding in the bottom of my baking box for years but had never used it. I am not sure what size it is exactly but if you’re looking for one a #66 or #70 will do the trick.
I pulled out my Americolor student kit which has been one of the best investments to my baking toolbox, and got the leaf green and super red colours to tint my favourite vegan vanilla buttercream. I love these gel food colourings because of how rich the colours turn out. To get the red super bright, you do need quite a few drops and it does develop over time, so let sit aside for a little bit for an even richer colour.
Create the poinsettia by first adding three green leaves to the top of the cupcake. Next, using the same tip pipe red leaves in a circle around the outside of the cupcake. Add another layer around the inner circle, overlapping the first.
You’ll also need some sprinkles to finish off your poinsettia. I used some chocolate jimmies and gold balls for the centre which are perfect for that finishing touch.
Cupcakes are such a good option for smaller get-togethers and are so much quicker and easier than making a full cake. They are also a great option to take to parties as they transport well and are already portioned meaning you can just place them on a plate and let people help themselves.
If you do make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below! And tag any of your creations on Instagram with #eightforestlane as I would love to see.
Poinsettia Christmas Cupcakes (Vegan)
For the chocolate gingerbread cupcakes:
- 1 cup dairy-free milk room temperature
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the buttercream:
- ½ cup (125 grams) dairy-free butter
- 3-4 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free milk
- pinch of salt to taste
- red and green food colouring
- sprinkles optional
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with 12 patty cases, and a second tin with 2 patty cases.
- In a small bowl combine white vinegar and dairy-free milk. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and spices.
- In a large bowl, whisk together canola oil, brown sugar, golden syrup and vanilla until combined. Add a bit of the milk mixture and whisk until combined.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture, alternating with the rest of the milk until cupcake batter comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Spoon mixture into patty cases ensuring they are only 1/2 full before placing them in the oven for 18 minutes or until lightly springy to touch. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Make the buttercream frosting. Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat dairy-free butter and vanilla for 1-2 minutes until creamy. Add in 3 cups of icing sugar and beat on medium until combined. As mixture thickens, add in the dairy-free milk a little at a time until the mixture is smooth and creamy but still thick enough to stand up on its own.
- Separate out some of the buttercream into a smaller bowl and add a few drops of green gel food colouring until the desired colour is reached. To the rest of the buttercream add red colouring.
- Decorate the cupcakes. Add the green food colouring to a piping bag with a leaf tip (such as a #66 or #70) attached and pipe 3x leaves onto each cupcake. Use the same tip in another piping bag with the red buttercream and pipe leaves around the edge of the cupcake, followed by more around the inner circle so you have 2 layers of overlapping leaves. Add a few chocolate jimmy’s to the centre and optional gold sprinkle for festive flair.
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