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Red Velvet Santa Claus Cupcakes






Red Velvet Santa Claus Cupcakes
Ingredients:
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 2 large eggs 
* 2 tablespoons red food coloring
* 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
* 1 pound cream cheese, softened
* 2 sticks butter, softened
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

For the Santa Decorations:
* Brown and red M&Ms
* Mini marshmallows
* Red colored sugar
* Holiday themed cupcake liners
Method:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Decorate:
Cover the bottom half of the frosted cupcakes with mini marshmallows to form a beard. Place a single line of marshmallows on the on the top, about a 1/3 of the way down the cupcake to form the brim of Santa's hat. 2 brown M&Ms for the eyes, 1 red M&M for the nose and finally sprinkle the top 1/3 of the cupcake with red sugar to color Santa's hat.

Makes 24 cupcakes


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