Decorated cakes can be made up to one day ahead. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
200g unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
1 1⁄2 cups caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 3⁄4 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1⁄2 cup milk
400g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups icing sugar mixture
1 tsp milk
1 tsp cocoa powder
Green and peach food colouring gel
2 x 26g Curly Wurly chocolate bars
8 Jaffas, 16 Milk Choc Bits
16 large peppermints
FOR CHRISTMAS TREES
104 green M&M’s
8 yellow M&M’s
8 brown M&M’s
1⁄4 cup red sprinkles
32 mini white marshmallows
16 candy eyeballs
8 pink jelly beans
Line two 12-hole muffin pans (1/3-cup capacity) with paper cases.
2 To make cupcakes, place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down side. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute until pale and smooth. Divide among cases (about 21⁄2 tablespoons in each).
3 Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for about 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Cool on wire racks.
4 To make frosting, beat butter in bowl of electric mixer until fluffy. Beat in 1⁄2 cup sugar at a time until combined. Divide evenly among four bowls. Stir milk and sifted cocoa into one bowl. Tint one green, one peach and leave one white.
5 To make reindeer, spread cocoa frosting over eight cakes. Cut chocolate bars in half lengthways. Cut each piece crossways into quarters. Attach Choc Bits to peppermints using frosting. Decorate with antlers, mints and Jaffas.
6 To make Christmas trees, spread green frosting over eight cakes. Decorate with M&M’s, as pictured.
7 To make Santas, spread peach frosting over remaining cakes. Halve marshmallows crossways. Dip the top third of cakes in red sprinkles. Press in marshmallows. Using a disposable piping bag fitted with a star tip and white icing, pipe on moustaches. Press in eyeballs and jelly beans.