- 2 1/2 oz. natural marzipan
- Orange food coloring paste
- Black food coloring paste
- 1 quantity Buttermilk Cake (see below)
- 1 quantity Marshmallow Frosting (see below)
- 10 oz. desiccated coconut
- 16-20 colored sugar-coated candies
- 8-10 large chocolate buttons
- Licorice sticks, cut into 8-10 x 1/2-inch lengths
- Muffin pan, lined with 8-10 paper or silver cupcake liners
- Mini-muffin pan, lined with 8-10 paper or silver liners in the coordinating size
- 8-10 toothpicks
- Narrow festive ribbon, cut into 8-10 x 10-inch lengths
1. Make the noses, mouths, and eyes the day before you make the snowmen. Tint three-quarters of the marzipan orange using the food coloring paste. Break off small nuggets of the marzipan and roll into carrot shapes. Tint the remaining marzipan black and roll into tiny balls, allowing roughly 4 for each snowman’s mouth and 1 for each eye. Set aside on baking parchment in an airtight box to dry out overnight.
2. The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F.
3. Divide the Buttermilk Cake between the paper liners, filling them two-thirds full. Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 12-25 minutes, depending on the size of the cakes – take them out when they are well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Spread the Marshmallow Frosting onto each cold cupcake, right to the edge. Scatter the desiccated coconut over the top. Press the marzipan noses into the middle of each smaller cake and arrange the tiny black marzipan balls as the eyes and mouths. Press the sugar-coated candies down the middle of each larger cupcake to make buttons. To make the hats, dab a tiny amount of frosting in the middle of each chocolate button and stick the licorice onto it. Lay each large cupcake on its side with the coconut facing you and the buttons in a vertical line. Carefully push a toothpick into what is now the top of each cake so that there is still 1 inch of the toothpick exposed. Push a mini-muffin onto the toothpick to make the head. Tie a length of ribbon around the neck of each snowman and balance the hat on top of his head.
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the side of the mixing bowl from time to time. Add the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and add to the mixture in alternate batches with the buttermilk. Mix until smooth, then turn to the relevant recipe.
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 egg whites
- A pinch of salt
Put all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk slowly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is foamy. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches at least 140°F on a candy thermometer. Immediately pour the frosting into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use an electric whisk and mixing bowl) and beat on medium speed until it will stand in stiff, glossy peaks – this will take about 3 minutes. Use immediately.
Credit: Holiday Cupcakes by Annie Rigg. Ryland Peters & Small, $15.95. Photo credit: Kate Whitaker