One of my favorite things to do each Christmas is watch The Nutcracker. If I can’t get to a ballet performance, I always love watching a past performance online. This year, The New York City Ballet’s 1993 performance is available on Netflix, making it super easy to enjoy from home. This story always gets me in the most festive mood and also reminds me of when I played the Sugar Plum Fairy in a school Christmas play when I was little! #goals
I feel like when you watch The Nutcracker, it’s only right that you have a really cozy, festive treat with you like hot chocolate or a sparkling cocktail or, in this case, a sweet cupcake. I have a list going on holiday treats I want to bake this year and cupcakes actually weren’t on it until I saw this set of Nutcracker cupcake toppers and obviously had to have them.
To go with the toppers, I made my favorite cupcake combination: dark chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream frosting. I used the chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World and then made the frosting with real butter, although you can definitely use vegan butter if you prefer.
For some reason, I’ve always had trouble getting the perfect cupcake in the past. They tend to come out too dry or they sink in the middle, but this time they were perfectly moist and the frosting was incredible. As in, I would like to eat it with a spoon. The raspberry is sweet yet tart, which helps to give the cupcake a rich flavor rather than just saccharine.
A few tips for the perfect cupcake:
Once the oven has preheated, let it sit for a while. This ensures it’s getting to the right temperature, fully heated, and is ready for your batter.
Use room temperature ingredients. This is especially true for frosting. Using room temperature butter will help it to blend more smoothly and prevent lumps.
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. I find it helps to bake the cupcakes right before you’re going out for the day and then coming back to frost them when you get home.
Be precise. This is so important in baking! Everything from the measurements to how you measure them (it really does matter that you use dry measures versus liquid measures) to how much you fill the cupcake tins. Follow the recipe precisely for best results.