Christmas light cupcakes made with an embellished cake mix recipe and the best vanilla butter cream recipe ever. This cake recipe works for any kind of mix you like, just make sure to match your pudding to the mix.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line two muffin tins with 18 paper liners.
Add cake mix ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat well, about 3 minutes, scrapping the bowl occasionally.
Divide batter evenly between muffin tin. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Using a large round tip, pipe butter cream in a swirl onto the cupcakes. Draw a black line around the surface of the frosting. Stick M&Ms vertically into the side of the cupcakes.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until the butter is pale, very smooth, and makes a slapping sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. This takes about 30 seconds if you butter is really soft, a bit longer if the butter is cooler.
Add the sugar one cup at a time. Mix until it is incorporated before you add the next cup.
When all of the sugar has been added, scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and salt, beat on low speed for 15 seconds.
Increase the speed to high (or just high enough so that it doesn't make a mess). Beat until whipped, light, and perfectly smooth, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl once or twice. The frosting will look like it is getting really soft, but it will stiffen and increase in volume.
You can use this right away, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.