Sift the dry ingredients (including the sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.
Add the wet ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Whisk until smooth and combined.
Distribute batter evenly into the cupcake papers and bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow time to cool.
For the Vanilla Buttercream:
In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
Sift the confectioners' sugar into the creamed butter.
Add 1 tsp vanilla, 1/4 tsp salt, and milk.
Separate into 3 bowls. One will remain uncolored. One bright red and the other flesh colored. I used a touch of soft pink and orange but you can choose whichever color you'd like.
The white buttercream to a bag fitted with a 199 tip. Any medium-sized star tip will work though.
For the Assembly:
Use a small spatula or knife to smear and smooth some of the flesh toned buttercream across the centre of the cupcake.
Smear red buttercream onto the top third of the cupcake. I also spread another layer diagonally from the lower right to the upper left for the fold of Santa's hat.
Use a star tip to pipe a dollop of white buttercream for the end of Santa's hat. Now use the same tip and wiggle it across the cupcake to create the hat's trim.
Add the two mini chocolate chips pointy side down for the eyes.
Pipe the beard with the star tip using a loopy motion to give some gentle texture to the facial hair.
Use a red M&M (logo side down) for the nose.
You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
If you prefer your frosting to be less sweet then try whipping up a batch of Swiss or Italian buttercream. Silky smooth and delicious!
Don’t have a star tip? Just snip the end off a piping bag and it will work pretty well.
Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don't have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
If you want to whip ip an AMAZING batch of vanilla cupcakes for this instead try my moist vanilla cupcake recipe!
Adding 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract to the cupcake batter and or the buttercream will give a festive kiss of mintyness to this dessert!