Reindeer Cupcakes

These super cute Reindeer Cupcakes are perfect for Christmas baking, especially if you want to get the kids involved! They will love creating the cute face of Rudolph, and love eating the chocolate cupcake even more! The cupcake and buttercream are an easy chocolate based recipe, and the decorations for the face are made from pretzels snapped in half for antlers, candy eyes, chocolate buttons for the snout and red fondant circles for the nose. If you can find any suitable red sweets or candies for the nose you can use those instead. I think Santa would love a Reindeer Cupcake left out for him on Christmas Eve!

Step by step…

To start I made the sponge by creaming together butter and sugar, whisking in eggs and milk, then whisking in cocoa powder and self raising flour.


I divided the mixture between cupcake cases and baked them for 20 minutes, then left to cool.


To decorate the Reindeer Cupcakes, I made a chocolate buttercream which I piped onto the sponge. I smoothed it out using a palette knife, then added pretzels for antlers, candy eyes and a chocolate button and red fondant for the nose.

I made all of my Reindeer Cupcakes into red nosed Rudolphs, he is the best reindeer after all!

Tips for making the Reindeer Cupcakes:

  • If you don’t want to make the red noses out of fondant, you can use a small red sweet like a Jelly Tot or a Mini Smartie.
  • If you have any trouble snapping the pretzels (sometimes they can be a bit fiddly) you can use a whole pretzel for each ear instead.
  • The pretzels will eventually go soft from being in the buttercream, so if you are making them in advance, wait until you’re almost ready to serve before adding the pretzels.

Recommended equipment & ingredients*

Cupcake tin Electric hand mixer Piping bags
Round piping nozzle Brown cupcake cases Round fondant cutters
Red fondant Candy eyes

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Reindeer Cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes, chocolate buttercream, cute reindeer face made from pretzels, candy eyes, chocolate buttons and red fondant
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Cupcake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: thebakingexplorer


For the sponge

  • 175 g Butter or baking spread
  • 175 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 150 g Self raising flour
  • 25 g Cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder

For the buttercream

  • 200 g Butter or baking spread
  • 350 g Icing sugar
  • 50 g Cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Milk

For decoration

  • Pretzels
  • Red fondant or red sweets
  • Chocolate buttons
  • Candy eyes


  • If you are making the nose from fondant, do this first so they can dry and harden. Roll out your red fondant on a smooth surface dusted with icing sugar, and cut out circles using a 10mm round fondant plunger
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a cupcake tin with paper cases
  • To make the cupcakes, cream together the butter and caster sugar until smooth
  • Add the eggs and milk, and whisk in
  • Add the self raising flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and whisk in
  • Divide the mixture between the cupcakes cases, and bake them for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Put them on a rack to cool completely
  • To make the buttercream, mix together the butter and icing sugar with a spoon or electric hand whisk, when it starts to come together, add the milk and mix until smooth
  • Pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake using a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, then smooth out the top with a palette knife. Or spread on with a spoon
  • Snap the pretzels in half and stick in the top for the reindeers antlers
  • Add the candy eyes, then add the chocolate button and stick the red fondant circle or red sweet on top of the button using a little buttercream to make it stick
  • Store in an airtight container in a cool place, eat leftovers within 3 days
Made this recipe?Share on Instagram with me @TheBakingExplorer or tag #thebakingexplorer!


The pretzels will go a little soft from contact with the buttercream after a day or so, so if you're making them the day before, wait to put the pretzels in to keep their crunch!

If you like this, check out more of my Cupcake recipes!

Or you might like my Christmas recipes!

Reindeer Cupcakes

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I’m linking this recipe up with Cook Blog Share hosted by Casa Costello, and Fiesta Fridays hosted by Frugal Hausfrau and Everyday Healthy Recipes.

23 comments / Add your comment below

    1. Thanks Anca! I’ve seen people use full pretzels but I think they look better snapped in half!

  1. These look amazing. So much fun and nice and easy! I absolutely love the antlers, they work perfectly!

  2. 5 stars
    These turned out really well, big hit in the office. Used curly wurlys for the antlers instead 😉

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