I am sooooo excited about the Winter Olympics! I feel like they were the one reason I was able to muster up some excitement after Christmas ended. I never like it when Christmas ends. But, when I get to look forward to the Winter Games, it makes the end of the holidays a little easier to bear. 🙂
We need some festive food to cheer on Team USA, so I thought these Winter Olympic Cupcakes with Candy Snowflakes would be a perfect way to celebrate the Winter Olympics and give me an excuse to share them with folks who come join us to watch them! 🙂 They’re so fun with the “coconut snow,” the snowflakes, the Olympic Rings, and the American flag!
You can use any cupcake recipe you’d like to make these, but I’m going to include my recipe to my lemon cake at the bottom of this post. That lemon cake is SO GOOD. Follow along with me to find out how to make these festive.
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When I got out my baking materials to start making these cupcakes for my blog, I realized I was going to have to go to the store to get more cupcake liners. I could’ve sworn I had plenty of white ones on hand. After a few minutes, though, I realized, “What am I thinking?! GOLD! I need to use gold cupcake liners!” I was glad I didn’t have the white ones in my stock after all; otherwise, I may not have thought to make these with the gold liner, and I mean, how perfect is that to complete a GO USA Olympic cupcake?!
I used these gold liners from Hobby Lobby. (They worked VERY well – I will use these again for cupcakes. I hadn’t ever used this brand before, but I’m really glad I found them! They were incredibly durable; they didn’t buckle when I poured my batter into them, and they kept a perfect shape while baking.) But, if you want to want to buy gold cupcake liners in bulk, I found a bunch of options on Amazon.
I also got the adorable flag toothpicks at Hobby Lobby, but I checked and you can also find them on Amazon. These are so fun! I love watching all of the competitors at the Olympics, but I can’t wait to cheer on Team USA!
The recipe for the lemon cupcakes is at the bottom of this post. Once you finish making the cupcakes & icing, then follow this tutorial for the fun topping.
Here are the materials you need to make the candy snowflakes and Olympic rings:
- Sheet of paper with snowflake and Olympic ring shapes (you can find this in my Resource Library)
- Flat baking sheet (one that’s small enough to fit in your fridge or freezer for a few minutes)
- Wax paper
- Plain M&Ms (or any M&Ms that are the same shape and size as the plain ones)
- 6-8oz of white baking bark (this is what I always use when I’m doing any kind of candy coating, but if you don’t have this brand in your store, just try to use white baking bark rather than white chocolate chips. I think it melts a lot easier.) Also, that amount assumes you’re making 24 cupcakes. If you’re making more, you’ll probably need more candy bark than that.
- Small microwave-safe dish
- Zipper sandwich bag
- Pair of scissors
Let’s get going! First, place the sheet of paper with the snowflake & Olympic Ring shapes on the baking pan, and then cover the sheet of paper with a sheet of wax paper.
Place the baking bark into the dish and microwave for 45 seconds. Remove from microwave, stir, and place back in the microwave for another 45 seconds. This process is IMPORTANT. You need to stir between microwave sessions.
You shouldn’t need to microwave more than 2-3 times to get the baking bark completely melted.
Let the melted bark sit in the dish for about 5 minutes – not too much longer than that. Just enough to let it not be soooo runny. Then, cut a small hole in one of the tips of the plastic baggy, and use a spoon to scoop in a little bit of the baking bark into the baggy. I forgot to take a picture of this, but you can see what I’m talking about in the photos below:
Then you just start tracing the snowflakes with it. You might need to do a few before you get comfortable with the bag, so don’t get too frustrated at first! It takes a second to get used to holding the bag and tracing the snowflakes. And just keep going! If you mess up, no big deal. Just change out the wax paper and start over!
Once you’re finished with the round of snowflakes, you’ll start working on the rings.
Use those thick black dots as guides, but you don’t need to be exact. See pictures below:
You just need to make the dots large enough that when you press down the M&Ms, they’ll push out enough candy coating to connect from one dot to the other. See?
See how when I pushed them down, the dots connected?
This is pretty fun once you start going!
After you press all 5 of the M&Ms down, you’ll go back over and put a white dot in each one so they look more like the Olympic Rings.
Look how fun and festive! I am so excited for the Winter Olympics!!
Here’s a note: If your baking bark begins to get a little stiff in the baggy, place the baggy in the microwave (with the baking bark inside) for about 5 seconds. It’ll soften it right up. You can see below how clumpy the rings turned out when the bark got too cold. Unless you’re working in a really cold environment, this shouldn’t happen too quickly. You should be able to work quite a bit with the baking bark before you need to give it a quick zap in the microwave.
Once you’ve finished that sheet of snowflakes and rings, you’ll place the baking sheet in your freezer for about 5 minutes or your fridge for about 10. You may not even need to do it for that long, but go ahead – it doesn’t hurt. Then you’ll remove the pan and begin taking the elements off of the wax paper and setting them on a different pan (or right into the cupcakes if you’ve already made and frosted them).
Sometimes the snowflakes break, so be aware of that and make some extras. I made several extra – it hardly takes any time – so I’d have plenty for topping off my cupcakes.
Then, depending on how many cupcakes you’re making, do however many more rounds you need to make enough snowflakes and Olympic Rings. Just keep using that same stencil – no need to print more than one, and you probably don’t even need to replace the wax paper since the candies come right off! You should be able to reuse it.
Again, if you need that snowflake/Olympic flag stencil, you can access it here in my resource library.
These are just so fun and festive! I can’t wait to watch the Olympics with my family! We’re planning to have people over to hang out with us periodically to watch the Games. Other than figure skating, I never was much into the Winter Olympics as a kid, but I got totally hooked on them 4 years ago – especially on the more unfamiliar sports!
Like I mentioned, you can use any cupcake recipe you’d like for these, but if you want to use my lemon cake recipe below, you will not be disappointed! I got that recipe from my Aunt Cheryl (who is like the master home cook!), and it is AMAZING. I cannot tell you how much attention this cake gets anywhere I bring it! 🙂
Happy gathering with folks and watching the Games! Go Team USA!
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 5.1 oz box instant or Cook & Serve vanilla pudding
- ½ c vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- ½ c whole milk
- 8 oz sour cream
- 6 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 c powdered sugar
- 4 tbsp lemon juice (juice from about 2-3 lemons)
- Zest from 1 lemon
- FESTIVE TOPPING:
- ½ c sweetened shredded coconut
- 4-6oz white baking bark
- Plain M&Ms
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Using a stand or a hand mixer, blend cake mix, pudding mix, and oil together.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing between additions.
- Pour in milk and continue to mix.
- Add sour cream, lemon juice, and zest.
- Mix until everything is thoroughly blended together, but DO NOT over mix.
- Pour cake batter into gold cupcake liners in cupcake pan, and place pan oven for 20 minutes.
- (check middle-ish cupcake with a toothpick; if it comes out clean, remove the pan from the oven, but if not, let them bake a couple more minutes.)
- Remove cupcakes from oven. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the pan. Place cupcakes on a cooling rack, and then make the second half of the cupcakes using the remaining batter.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, you can go ahead and prepare the icing.
- For the icing, cream together the butter and powdered sugar in a stand or a hand mixer. Add lemon juice and zest.
- Once you're finished mixing the ingredients together for the icing, pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes, sprinkle on the coconut, and then follow the instructions in this post for making the candy snowflakes and Olympic Rings. Top 'em off with an American flag, and enjoy watching the Games with family and friends!
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