These reindeer cupcakes are so much fun and so easy to make. You'll love the chocolate sponge, rich chocolate frosting and the simple toppings that come together to make the cure Christmas reindeer faces.
Put the caster sugar and softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat them with an electric mixer or by hand until creamy.
Crack the eggs into the bowl. Add the milk. Beat again until just combined.
Sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Fold everything together until the batter is smooth and even.
Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases. Divide the batter evenly between them, making sure to level off so that the cupcakes rise evenly.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until risen and firm. A skewer pushed into the centre of a cupcake towards the middle of the tray should come out clean.
Transfer to a wire rack and leave them to cool completely.
Make the buttercream
Put the softened butter in a large bowl and whisk until creamy.
Sift in the icing sugar, cocoa powder, then add the milk and hot water.
Start whisking them together, starting slowly at first and then building speed once the icing sugar is incorporated. It will take several minutes of whisking to get a light and smooth frosting.
Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a French tip or open star nozzle.
Pipe tall swirls on top of the cake, retaining a little frosting to use as glue in the final steps.
Add the reindeer details
Place a giant chocolate button on top of each cupcake, just below the centre.
Dab the back of each red Smartie with a little frosting and fix each on to the centre of a chocolate button.
Position two candy eyes about each chocolate button.
Finally, break one side of each of the pretzels (or leave the whole) and push two into the frosted tops of each of the cupcakes to form antlers.
It's best to keep your Reindeer cupcakes in an airtight container somewhere cool and dry as the buttercream frosting can spoil if it gets too warm.If you have a very warm kitchen, they might be better off in the fridge but this can alter the texture of the sponge. If chilled, leave your cupcakes in a sealed container on the counter for an hour before serving them so they return to room temperature. Make sure to keep your cupcakes in a single layer within your container so as not to squash the frosting.Your cupcakes should keep for 2-3 days if properly stored.