Preheat oven to 190°C conventional or 170°C fan-forced. Line 2 x 12-hole muffin tins with paper cupcake cases (we like black or dark brown cases for this recipe).
Cream Tararua Butter and Chelsea Caster Sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift Edmonds Self Raising Flour into the mixture, then add Meadow Fresh Milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Spoon mixture into prepared tins to about two thirds full (for best results, don't overfill). The mixture will make 20-24 cupcakes, depending on the size of your tins.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cupcakes are golden and spring back when lightly pressed. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool while you prepare the icing.
Beat Tararua Butter until pale and fluffy. Sift in Chelsea Icing Sugar, add essence and beat until combined. Add Meadow Fresh Milk and beat on high speed until you have a light, fluffy buttercream, adjusting milk quantity as needed. For a whiter icing, beat in a few drops of white icing colour.
Transfer approximately one quarter of the buttercream into a small piping bag fitted with an open star piping tip.
Beat red food colouring into remaining icing, until you have a bright red buttercream. Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a large round piping tip.
Pipe swirls of red buttercream onto cooled cupcakes to form the main part of the hat (leaving space for the white trim). Pipe small stars of white buttercream around the base of the red icing, then pipe a slightly larger star on top of each hat.