Recipe: Candy cane cupcakes

Friday, 8th December, 2017

Try these candy cane cupcakes this Christmas.

NUMEROUS legends are wrapped around the origins of the famous red and white, peppermint-flavoured candy canes.

According to one story, it was an elder of Cologne Cathedral who had candy canes first made in the 17th century to give them to children, as a reward if they served at the altar or had behaved well in church. The canes are modelled after a shepherd's crook to remind people of the shepherds who came to pay homage to Jesus at Bethlehem.

This is also why candy canes were traditionally shared out during nativity plays. Both nativity plays and candy canes spread across Europe and eventually also to the United States, where candy canes are still an important Christmas symbol even today.


Makes 8

For the dough:

  • 150 g (5½ oz/1 cup) flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 100 g (3½ oz) butter
  • 30 ml (1 fl oz) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g (3½ oz) caster 
  • (superfine) sugar

For the frosting:

  • 50 g (1¾ oz) butter, softened
  • 150 g (5½ oz) cream cheese 
  • (full fat)
  • 350 g (12 oz) icing sugar 
  • (confectioner's sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 3-4 candy canes, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas mark 4). For the dough, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the milk and allow to cool. Beat the eggs and sugar in another bowl until foamy. Whisk in the melted butter and then fold in the dry ingredients.

2. Line an 8-hole muffin tray with paper cup liners. Fill the liners about three quarters with dough and bake in a preheated oven for about 18 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness! Allow the muffins to cool completely.

3. For the frosting, combine butter and cream cheese in a bowl. Gradually add the icing sugar. Stir in the vanilla extract. Spread the frosting over the cooled cupcakes with a knife; alternatively, use a piping bag to pipe it on. Decorate with chopped candy cane.

  • Extract from New York Christmas by Lisa Nieschlag and Lars Wentrup (Murdoch Books RRP $39.99).

NewYork Christmas CVR jacket

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