Candy Cane Cupcakes are the perfect festive treat for your Christmas dessert table. The pretty red and white swirl of the frosting is a perfect match for the red and white cupcakes. An easy recipe, this delicious cupcake uses a boxed cake mix for simplicity with a subtle hint of peppermint for a fun candy cane twist.
Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas day, and then New Years…well, it’s a busy time to say the least.
This dessert saves time by using a boxed cake mix, plus a few little tricks to make them taste and look fantastic.
Let’s get started.
Making Candy Cane Cupcakes
Grab your two muffin pans and drop the cupcake liners into place. I wasn’t sure what color I wanted, so I used two different reds, and one white.
The white cupcake liners showed the red stripe nicely, so that was fun.
The red liners were pretty and festive, although I had a problem with the red foil. They didn’t come out of the pan easily…they actually stuck to the bottom. Ugh! I won’t be using those again.
Anyway, make the cake mix as directed on the box. In other words, add the water, eggs, and oil.
In addition, add a teaspoon of peppermint extract.
I used a Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Classic White cake mix. Consistently delicious, and what a time saver.
Two ways of doing the red stripe.
#1 – Measure out 1 cup, split the rest
Take out 1 cup of the cake batter and add red food coloring to it. Add as much as you want to get the desired color.
Too little, though, and it will be pink, not red.
Pour half of the white batter into the liners. Set the 2nd half aside, as it goes in last. Not as simple as it sounds.
Pouring half the batter wasn’t something I could eyeball, so first I poured the white batter evenly into two bowls.
Ok, so as I said, pour one half, or one bowl, of white batter into the liners.
Spoon about 1/2 a tablespoon of the red batter around the edge of each liner. This insures the red will show through a white cupcake liner.
Add in the last bowl, or 2nd half, of the white batter, then bake.
#2 – Divide into 3
Another way to do this may be a little easier — you decide.
Make the cake, add the extract. Divide the batter into 3 bowls.
Add red food coloring to one of the bowls.
Pour a bowl of white batter into the liners. Pour the red bowl on next, then add the last bowl of white.
Either way you do it, it’ll taste the same, and both will look great.
My pictures are of #1 where I measured out 1 cup.
Bake the cupcakes per directions on the box, then allow them to thoroughly cool before frosting.
Candy Cane Frosting
Buttercream sounds like there should be butter, right? Yeah, there can be, but for this recipe I used shortening, and here’s why.
Shortening allows the white to stay white, whereas the butter adds a bit of yellow.
So, beat the shortening so it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar in batches with the milk.
Lastly, add the extracts (peppermint and almond) and a pinch of salt. Must say, these 2 extracts together are amazing.
Ok, now the fun part. Divide the frosting into 2 even batches. Add red food coloring to one half, and keep the other half white.
Have your piping bag ready with the tip in place. Pull out a sheet of clear plastic wrap, about 12 – 14″ or so.
Lay it down flat on the counter. Put a strip of red frosting down, about 9″ long or so. Put a strip of white right next to it, same thickness, same length, same Bat channel.
Now, bring the ends of the plastic wrap together so it’s tight around the frosting, and twist one end.
Drop the open end into the piping bag and pipe away.
Plan on doing this in about 4 batches. If you put too much frosting in the plastic wrap, it won’t fit into the piping bag.
Also, if you aren’t using a piping bag, you can still frost half of the cupcakes red, the other half white. You could display them in the shape of a candy cane alternating colors.
Cupcakes are wonderful.
They are the perfect serving size, or you can have seconds…thirds. You don’t have to get plates and forks dirty, plus a serving knife, which is always a good thing.
In addition, they carry easily; transport them in a box or cupcake carrier to wherever you’re going. I love cupcakes.
Check out these other cupcake recipes:
- Orange Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
- Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
- Brown Butter Pecan Cupcakes
- French Toast Cupcakes
Or, check out the Cupcakes section on my blog here.
Candy Cane Cupcakes
- 1 box white cake mix (15.25 oz.)
- 1 cup water
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. peppermint extract
- red gel food coloring
- 1 cup shortening
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 8 - 11 tsp. water, milk, or heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- pinch of salt
- red gel food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare muffin pans with cupcake liners.
- Make cake mix according to box directions. (Add water, eggs, and oil.)
- Add peppermint extract to cake batter.
- Remove 1 cup cake batter and tint with red food coloring.
- Pour half remaining white cake batter evenly into liners. Spoon the red batter around edge of each liner, approx. 1/2 tablespoon. Pour 2nd half of white batter on top.
- Bake per box directions. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Beat shortening until smooth. Add powdered sugar and milk in batches.
- Add extracts and salt, beat until thoroughly mixed, scraping the sides.
- Divide frosting in half. Add red food coloring to one half.
- On plastic wrap, lay a strip of white frosting about 8" long. Lay a strip of red frosting right next to it. Bring ends of plastic wrap together and tie one end. Drop open end into piping bag fitted with tip. Pipe dual-colored frosting on cupcakes.
- If not planning on piping, you can still frost one half of the cupcakes white, the other half red.
Candy Cane Cupcakes
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I hope you love these cupcakes and have fun baking them.
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