For Christmas, I was very spoilt and received lots of lovely cooking and baking equipment from my loved ones, including a cupcake carrier (similar to the one above) from Neil. I always find transporting cupcakes a little difficult as I worry that the icing will get crushed! If only I had received my Christmas present earlier, as I made two lots of Christmas cupcakes in December; one for a bake sale at work and the others for my parents’ annual Christmas party however, these cupcakes would also make great gifts too!
Half Christmas cake, half cupcake, this recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery’s ‘Cake Days’ is fantastic and each bite is a reminder of the Christmas season with hints of almond and cinnamon. These cupcakes also contain alcohol soaked fruit….what is better than cake? Cake AND a little tipple!
(Makes 12-16 cupcakes)
For the sponge:
300g mixed dried fruit
200g soft dark brown sugar
160g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
60g ground almonds
For the frosting:
500g icing sugar
50ml semi-skimmed milk
1/2 tsp almond essence
Small festive decorations
1. Put the dried fruit in a small bowl, pour over the alcohol and leave to soak for a minimum of 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line a cupcake tin with cases.
3. Using a spoon or mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time mixing after each addition.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and cinnamon. Add to the creamed mixture and mix until combined.
5. Add the almonds and fruit and mix well.
6. Divide the batter between the cupcake cases until each one is three-quarters full. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until the cakes have risen a little and are springy to touch. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
7. Again using the mixer, whisk the icing sugar and margarine until combined and powdery. Gradually beat in the milk then increase the speed until light and fluffy. Add the almond essence and mix well.
8. Ice the cooled cupcakes by using either a piping bag or palette knife then top with the festive decorations.
As Neil isn’t too keen on almonds, I kept the ground almonds in the sponge (as they add to the texture and the flavour isn’t too strong) but used ground cinnamon in the icing instead which worked very well. These cupcakes are different from normal cupcakes as, due to the addition of the fruit, they are a little denser however, they are delicious and are the perfect addition to any Christmas gathering!
I used a mixture of holly leaves and snowmen to top my cupcakes along with red sprinkles and festive cupcake cases, which I found in my local Tesco and cookshop. Of course, I could have made the fondant decorations but who has time at Christmas?!
Another recipe to add to the collection for next December but then again I am sure these cupcakes would be nice all year around – just leave off the christmas decorations!