Reindeer Cupcakes

Looking for some easy Christmas cupcake ideas? These all-frosting (no fondant necessary) reindeer cupcakes have you covered!

  • Author: Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Units Scale

For the cupcakes and decorations:

  • 12 cupcakes
  • Black and brown food gel coloring
  • 2 ounces chocolate

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 10 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the vanilla buttercream:

  • 8 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Make or purchase 12 cupcakes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for the chocolate buttercream frosting.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the baking cocoa, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat on low until smooth.
  4. Repeat the same steps for the vanilla buttercream. Set a few tablespoons of white frosting aside and coloring the remaining vanilla buttercream a light brown.
  5. Melt the chocolate.
  6. Spoon the chocolate into a piping bag, snip a small hole in the bottom and pipe antler shaped pieces of chocolate onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make sure to pipe extras.
  7. Refrigerate chocolate until ready for use.
  8. Spoon the chocolate buttercream into a piping bag with a large, round tip.
  9. Pipe a large dollop of frosting onto the cupcakes, keeping the tip about 1/2″ from the surface. The frosting should cover the middle half of the cupcakes.
  10. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  11. Gently place the cupcakes frosting side down, rolling slightly and pressing until the frosting evenly covers the top of the cupcakes.
  12. Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, or until they cleanly peel away from the parchment.
  13. Spoon the light brown frosting into a piping bag, snip a medium size round hole in the tip, and pipe the lower half of the face on in a heart shape.
  14. Repeat the same technique with the parchment paper to smooth and distribute the light brown frosting.
  15. Using a warm butter knife or offset spatula, cut a line down the middle of the light brown frosting, stopping about 1/4″ from the edge.
  16. Tint some of the remaining frosting black, and use the black and white frosting to pipe on eyes, noses and spots.
  17. Use a leaf shaped piping tip, pipe ears onto the deer using the light brown frosting.
  18. Add the chocolate antlers.


  • The secret to smooth, air-bubble free frosting: Once the frosting has come together, turn your stand mixer down to low and continue beating for about 5 minutes. This should work out most of the air bubbles.
  • Using a different kind of frosting: This recipe makes a traditional American buttercream frosting. If you’d like something a little less sweet, feel free to swap it for a Swiss meringue or Italian meringue buttercream at a one to one ratio. I don’t recommend using pre-fab, store bought frosting for these cupcakes.
  • Fill that piping bag like a pro: Spoon your frosting onto a large piece of plastic wrap, roll and twist the ends. Trim one end so there’s about ½” in length, drop your frosting into the piping bag (short end first) with the tip already on and pipe!
  • Using a cookie cutter to create a guide for piping the nose/mouth area: A heart shaped cookie cutter creates a great guide for where the light frosting should go. For these cupcakes, I used a cookie cutter that was 2.75″ across at the widest point.
  • Getting the perfect dots of frosting as reflections in the eyes: Sometimes it can be difficult to get the dots of white frosting small enough. An easy trick: Use a toothpick to pick up a little bit of frosting and gently swirl it into the black frosting.
  • Storing frosted cupcakes: While cupcakes are always best when eaten the same day they’re made, these can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1-2 days.

Keywords: christmas cupcake ideas, reindeer cupcakes, cupcakes to make with kids