I’m Dreaming of a (Sugary) Sweet Christmas

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I was showered with oodles of baking-related gifts yesterday. I was spoiled beyond words. As I opened my new cupcake carrier, baking utensils, baking pans, and cupcake corer, all I could do was dream about the tasty treats I couldn’t wait to bake. It took all of the self-control I possess to resist baking on Christmas Day–not because I couldn’t but because I had already devoured so many treats that I knew I would be sick if I ate one more sugary thing.

But when I woke up this morning, it was a new day. And new days call for new adventures.

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The holidays are filled with delicious flavours. These cupcakes were inspired by one of my personal favourite Christmas treats–candy canes! I made classic chocolate cupcakes, filled them with a chocolate-mint ganache, and piped each with candy cane speckled buttercream. The chocolate pairs nicely with the peppermint, preventing it from overpowering the cupcake.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the cocoa and hot coffee until smooth. Set aside. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Also set aside. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the cocoa mixture and beat until combined. Add half of the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing just until combined. Add the sour cream. Add the second half of the dry mixture. Do not overmix the batter. Spoon into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes and remove when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tins, and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips and peppermint extract in a small bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan and immediately pour over the chocolate. Stir until all the chips are melted. Mix in the butter, continuing to stir until combined. Place in the fridge to cool. Be sure to stir it every 15-20 minutes until it thickens.

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Cut a small hole in the top of each cooled cupcake. Fill each with a spoonful of ganache filling. Replace each hole with the piece of cupcake you removed.

For the candy cane speckled buttercream, beat 3/4 cups of softened butter. Bit by bit, add 2 cups of icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add a pinch of salt, 3 tablespoons of milk, 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract, and a 1/4 cup of crushed candy canes. Beat until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a desired tip and swirl over cooled cupcakes.

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I hope you all had an incredibly blessed Christmas. I can’t wait to share even more of my baking adventures in the new year. Now enjoy every last bit (and flavour) of Christmas while you can!

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