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I was trying to come up with a fun, seasonal recipe to do this week and I decided I wanted to attempt to make Santa cupcakes. If you look on Pinterest, there are lots of examples of cute and festive cupcakes. I was hoping to come up with something similar, but I’m not a master baker by any stretch so I did the best I could without creating an utter Pinterest fail.
When creating these, I wanted to make them dairy free. Why? Most of the snacks we have around the house seem to be chock full of dairy. Milk, string cheese, yogurt,…all of those items are high in dairy and consuming too many of them tend to give us sick tummies. Luckily, I was able to find Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative at Walmart to use in my cupcake mix. I was kind of winging it because I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but I am so thrilled with the way they turned out.
When I was looking at mix recipes online and the boxed ones in store, I realized that there was no shortage of muffin mixes that didn’t require milk but the same was not true for cupcakes. Almost all of the cupcake mix I saw had lots of dairy in the mix. I was able to track down several choices of muffin mix where there was no milk in the mix but it asked you to add milk while baking. Some of the box mixes will ask you to add oil, eggs, and water. I avoided those and went for boxed muffin mix that asked you to add milk in the mixing process. I would link you to one, but I don’t want to confuse you because none of the mixes I’m referring to are “dairy free”- since it’s asking you to add milk. You’ll have to search the list of ingredients on the back at the grocery store to find one that avoids dairy. Most of the appropriate mixes are also gluten-free, so search those boxes!
The box I ended up with was a strawberry muffin mix box. Really, the difference between a muffin and a cupcake is only frosting, so once it was all said and done I didn’t even notice a difference in flavor. My specific box asked me to mix in 1/2 cup of milk. Since I was skipping dairy, I decided to add in Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt in the strawberry flavor. That came out to about exactly 1/2 a cup once measured. I was concerned that the mix wouldn’t dissolve with just yogurt, so I ended up adding about the equivalent to 1/3 cup of water on top. I whisked the yogurt and water together with a fork and then poured the mix into the muffin mix. Like I mentioned before, I was kind of winging it but it ended up mixing together well, and when the muffins came out of the oven, they were SO good and super moist. I would never have known that I subbed something in the recipe!
You can’t put frosting on top of a hot cupcake (oh believe me, I tried) so I purposely didn’t start my frosting until this step. My muffins needed about 30 minutes to cool completely before they were ready for this step so it was perfect timing. If you are going dairy free and can find pre-made dairy free frosting, it’s probably worth the extra cash to shell out for it so you don’t have to make it by hand. Of course, most frosting options you can find in store are loaded with dairy. But if you have to make it yourself, I found an excellent recipe at this blog worked great. I had bought piping bags and decorative tops as well as lots of little candies to play with to get started decorating. I also wanted to have pink and white frosting, so I added a little food coloring to some of my frosting.
My first Santa was a major fail but I got better and better at decorating each time I tried for a new Santa. I used cinnamon candies and a variety of little small sugar beads in different colors. I need some practice to become a pro at the piping bag but if you are a master baker these should be no problem. I found the fake eyes at Walmart as well.
These were fun to create and I think they would be a hit amongst kids. I’m also excited about discovering the Silk Yogurt, which is the perfect everyday yogurt for your life! It was surprisingly good and I think from here on out I am converted in the way I will be making muffins for my family. They taste SO moist and delicious with dairy-free yogurt instead of milk.
Have you tried creating a fun holiday recipe yet? Are you dairy-free?