We have always had a tradition in my family of making a birthday cake for Jesus at Christmastime. We even had candles and everything! It was always a white cake with white icing. One of my favorite parts of Christmas baking was when my mom would let me write out the Happy Birthday part on top. This year I decided to switch it up a little bit and do cupcakes instead. I found a great recipe for Sugar & Spice cupcakes from My Baking Addition and decided to give it a try. These still have the traditional white cake look to them but with a little extra flavor!IMG_8247

Christmas Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:IMG_8170

1 box Yellow Cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice (the same amazing one that you put in the crockpot pumpkin spice lattes)
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cupcake Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin tin cups with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Beat together the cake and pudding mixes, pumpkin spice, sour cream, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.IMG_8277

3. Pour batter into muffin tins.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes (mine did best at 20 min) or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.

5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Frost when cupcakes are completely cool.

Icing Ingredients:IMG_8176

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1.5 pounds (about 5 3/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Icing Directions:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter medium-high speed for about 6 minutes. You can also do this with a hand held mixer, but its a long time to hold. Recruit help as needed!

IMG_82222. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in pumpkin spice and vanilla. Mix until 2. Turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until it is completely incorporated. Add in pumpkin spice and vanilla. Mix until IMG_8224incorporated. Gradually add in the heavy whipping cream and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the mixture for about 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add additional heavy whipping cream as needed to reach desired consistency.

3. Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and if desired, garnish with a sprinkling of coarse sparkling sugar.

Notes: Adding the pudding packet into these cupcakes makes them very moist! This is extremely helpful when you need to make them ahead of time. Also, when making this recipe, I found that it made way more icing than I could possibly need. I saved the remaining icing for decorating cookies, but you could probably get away with halving the recipe if you want.

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Just for fun:

Check out the Christmas Archives for more history on traditional Christmas cakes.

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