| December 14, 2012

Christmas cookies are always popular this time of year but Christmas-themed cupcakes are just as fun to make.

With that in mind, we turned to Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne, founders of  Georgetown Cupcake and stars of TLC’s “DC Cupcakes” to learn how to make our cupcakes look like Christmas tree ornaments.

Decorate your favorite flavor of cupcakes or try Sophie and Katherine's chocolate cupcake recipe below.

To create the ornament toppings:

  • Dip your cupcakes into melted chocolate or chocolate ganache (two parts chocolate chips to one part heavy cream).
  • To create the base of the ornament, cut colored fondant into circles. Fondant is a dough-like icing found in your baking aisle that can be tinted with food color and molded into any shape you want. Roll out the fondant and sweep luster dust, a finely-ground edible sugar, over the fondant to get a more festive look. Place one fondant circle atop each cupcake.
  • Use holiday-shaped cookie cutters, paper-punches and stamps to cut out shapes like reindeer, snowflakes, Christmas trees, holly, or anything you desire. Sweep with luster dust and place atop the fondant base ornaments.
  • For the top of the "ornament," cut out small gold fondant rings and rectangles. Attach to the cupcake with a dab of melted chocolate or ganache.

“What’s fun about this is that every ornament can be different,” Katherine says.  So put on your holiday hats and get creative with your cupcakes!

Christmas Ornament Cupcakes

Cooking Method: 
18 cupcakes


  • 1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) European-style unsalted butter, such as Plugra brand, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar bourbon
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Valrhona cocoa powder, sifted (may substitute another good-quality cocoa powder)
  • FOR THE GANACHE FROSTING: 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 cup Callebaut semisweet chocolate chips (6.4 ounces; see headnote; may substitute other good-quality semisweet chocolate chips)


  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 baking cups, and a second pan with 6 baking cups.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
  3. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stop to add the sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
  5. Combine the vanilla extract and milk in a large liquid measuring cup.
  6. Reduce the speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add one-third of the milk mixture, beating until well incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the milk mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat just until combined.
  7. Add the cocoa powder, beating (on low speed) just until incorporated.
  8. Use a standard-size ice cream scoop to fill each cupcake paper with batter, so that the wells are two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. For the ganache frosting: Lay a large piece of wax paper on the work surface.
  10. Combine the heavy cream and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with an inch or two of water and place over medium-low heat. Place the bowl over the saucepan and let the mixture melt, stirring until it is shiny and smooth.
  11. Remove the bowl of chocolate ganache from the saucepan; let it cool slightly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Working with 1 cupcake at a time, carefully dip each cupcake top in the warm ganache, twisting your wrist as needed to make sure the cupcake top gets completely coated. To prevent drips, quickly turn the cupcake right side up and place on the wax paper. Allow the ganache to set for 5 minutes before serving.