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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.65 / 5 (252 votes)

Prep time:
1 hr
Cook time:
20 min
Makes 12 cupcakes

Everyone will be impressed when they see Santa’s legs popping out of Celia Plender’s chocolate chimney cupcakes
View more cupcake recipes


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4.

2. Put the cocoa powder in a bowl, then gradually stir in the boiling water until you have a smooth, thick paste. Leave to cool.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light, fluffy and pale.

4. Gradually mix in the beaten egg alternating with the flour and cocoa mix until everything is incorporated. Finally, stir through the milk.

5. Place 12 paper cupcake cases into a muffin tin and divide the mixture between them.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

7. For the Santa legs: add red food colouring to three quarters of the marzipan and knead until it is evenly coloured. Dust the surface with a little icing sugar if the marzipan gets sticky. Now use the black food colouring to colour three quarters of the remaining marzipan. Leave the last part natural.

8. Roll the red marzipan into one long sausage, around a centimetre thick, and then cut into 24 legs. Next roll the natural marzipan into 24 pea sized balls and flatten them into little round disks just over a centimetre in size and press onto the tops of the legs. If they don’t stick very well, you can use a little water to help you. Finally, shape the black marzipan into 24 feet and press these onto the tops of the disks. Leave to one side until needed.

9. For the frosting: In a mixing bowl beat the butter with a spoon or spatular until smooth, then start to sift in the icing sugar, stirring regularly. Add the vanilla extract and milk. The frosting should be light and creamy.

10. Once the cupcakes are totally cool, peel off the cases and slice the cakes into three pieces. Then sandwich the pieces back together with frosting, making sure that it oozes out of the sides slightly.

11. Spread more frosting onto the tops of the cakes so that it hangs over the edges slightly like snow, then sprinkle with icing sugar and place the Santa legs on top, pushing them in a little.


  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
  • 150 g butter, softened
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 150 g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the Santa legs:

  • 300 g natural marzipan
  • black and red food colouring
  • icing sugar, for dusting

For the frosting:

  • 200 g butter, at room temperature
  • 250 g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk

Tips and suggestions

Home-made marzipan
If you use food colouring pastes you can get a much stronger colour without having to add too much liquid to your marzipan.

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Latest Comment


brilliant idea for a christmas party or to leave out for santa claus

EvieD80103 EvieD80103  Posted 24 Sep 2012 5:59 PM

Hello Sasha. You can make the legs well in advance, because shop marzipan lasts a long time. And just store them in an airtight container to stop them from drying out.

Charlotte - Good Food Charlotte - Good Food  Posted 30 Nov 2011 4:07 PM

How long in advance can you make Santa's legs and what is the best way to keep them until needed? Tnx

SashaW94468 SashaW94468  Posted 29 Nov 2011 7:13 PM

I made the chocolate cupcake part of these, they were easy to make but not very chocolatey, not much flavour at all in fact. Wouldn't make again.

FionaK19500 FionaK19500 Posted 26 Feb 2011 4:19 PM