Christmas Cupcakes

so, the big day is fast approaching. 6 days worth of advent calender chocolates down and I am really starting to get into the festive spirit. So in this vein, I have found these gorgeously xmasy cupcakes online, the mincemeat, nutmeg and brandy combo is to die for! 🙂

Ingredients
115g butter, softened
230g caster sugar
2tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
230g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
3 eggs, large
140g mincemeat
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tsp brandy, optional

Icing
3 oz/85g icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp Cointreau, or preferred liqueur, or brandy

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 4
  2. In a large roomy baking bowl, place the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste or extract and stir.
  3. One by one add the eggs beating really well after each addition.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Fold into the butter-sugar in three parts, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  5. Finally stir in the mincemeat, spices and brandy if using.
  6. Place cupcake cases into a muffin tin. Fill each case 2/3 full and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and well risen. Cool on a wire rack before icing.
  7. To make the icing: Combine the Cointreau or liqueur with the icing sugar Drizzle over the top of each cupcake and serve.


Deliciously Christmasy, Thanks to http://britishfood.about.com for the Fab recipe!

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Nutmeg Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Nutmeg is a fabulously christmasy flavour and when combined with lemon cream cheese frosting it is simply magical! Enjoy…

Ingredients
170g plain flour
50g whole wheat flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground or 1/4 tsp freshly grated
1 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
75g unsalted butter, softened
70ml apple sauce
225g granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
60ml yogurt, buttermilk or kefir (I tend to substitute buttermilk for sour cream)
1 cup ripe bananas, smashed (from about 2 bananas)
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and grated

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 4. Line a muffin pan with cupcake holders.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients & and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla, then beat the eggs in one at a time. Fold in the yoghurt, followed by the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the bananas and apples. Fill each cupcake cup about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking every couple of minutes afterwards, until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
  5. For the frosting: With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar.
  7. Stir in the vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice.Frost each cooled cupcake with a butter knife or piped through a frosting bag and grate a dusting of fresh nutmeg over the tops.

Yummy! Big thanks to Mother Earth News for the recipe.

Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

Now I am the first to admit I am not the biggest fan of Christmas pudding the traditional way. After a huge dinner the last thing I want is a heavy pud. Also by that time of the day, the thought of anything brandy soaked on top of the bucks fizz and wine that has been consumed throughout the day fills me with dread… So these are a perfect alternative. And they have chocolate in! Thanks again to the Good Food Channel. 🙂

Ingredients:
50g dark chocolate , in chunks
140g butter , plus extra for greasing
100ml soured cream
3 eggs , lightly beaten
140g self-raising flour
140g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
85g dried sour cherries , plus a few extra to decorate

For Decoration:
250g icing sugar , sifted
1 tsp custard powder, sifted
12 small bay leaves

  1. Heat oven to 170oC/gas mark 5. Butter a non-stick 12-hole muffin tin, and stick two criss-crossing strips of baking parchment in each hole.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter over a low heat. Cool a little, then stir in the soured cream and eggs.
  3. Mix the flour, sugar, almonds, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl. Pour in the chocolate and stir until smooth, then stir in the cherries. Spoon into the muffin holes so they are 3⁄4 full.
  4. Bake for 20 mins. Cool in the tins. Can now be frozen in plastic bags for 3 months.
  5. To decorate: Mix the icing sugar and custard powder with 2 tbsp water to make a thick icing. Remove the muffins from the tins and cool on a rack. Cut off any rounded tops, stand upside-down on the rack, then spoon icing over. Leave to set, then top with bay leaves and cherries.

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

I love these cupcakes. They are so simple yet so visually effective. A simple technique made to look complex and a great way to show off. 🙂

Ingredients:
150 g butter, softened
150 g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150 g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk

For the frosting:
200 g butter, at room temperature
250 g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
green food colouring

To decorate:
Silver balls, sugar stars or hundreds and thousands

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light, fluffy and pale.
  3. Gradually mix in the beaten egg alternating with the flour to stop the mix from curdling. Finally, stir through the vanilla extract and milk.
  4. Place 12 paper cupcake cases into a muffin tin and divide the mixture between them.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
  6. 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.
  7. Mix your green food colouring into the icing to give an even green colour.
  8. Once the cupcakes are totally cool, pipe the icing onto them starting from the outside of the cake and working into the centre to create tall Christmas trees. Decorate with silver balls, stars or hundreds and thousands then allow to set for at least 30 minutes so that the icing has a slightly crispy finish.

Sherbet Lemon Cupcakes

Wow – this is a fantastic recipe for some of the most unusual but delicious cakes I have made so far…

For the sponge:
120 g self-raising flour, sifted
145 g golden caster sugar
40 g butter, at room temperature
2 lemons, zest only
120 ml whole milk
1 large egg

For the frosting:
225 g butter
400 g icing sugar, sifted
1 lemon, juice only
few drops yellow food colouring
3 packets sherbet dip dab sweets, sherbet only

To Decorate:
Dip dab lollies, or coloured sherbet

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole tin with cupcake paper cases. Tip the flour, sugar, butter and lemon zest into a food processor and blitz on a slow speed for one minute, until you achieve a sandy consistency.
  2. Gradually pour in half of the milk and beat until just incorporated. Don’t worry if it looks a little messy at this stage – it will come together! In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining milk together with the egg. Pour into the batter and beat for a couple of minutes until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl to catch any unmixed ingredients as you go.
  3. Divide the mixture between the 12 paper cases, filling each one up two-thirds full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the golden sponge bounces back when prodded with a finger. Leave to cool on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
  4. For the frosting: Tip the butter and icing sugar into a food processor and beat until well combined. Add the lemon juice, colouring and sherbet, and then beat again for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. When the sponges have cooled completely, carefully spoon a third of the frosting into a piping bag and use it to decorate the first four cupcakes. Repeat until you have finished them all. Alternatively, just use a palette knife to spread about 2 tbsp of frosting onto each cupcake.
  6. Decorate with the dip dab lolly, or a sprinkling of colourful sherbet.
Thanks to the Good Food Channel for another ace idea 🙂

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

The image for these is what totally enticed me into giving them a go – the peanut butter cup filling looks too yummy!

Makes 24 Cupcakes

Ingredients:
200g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs
110g vegetable oil
1 tbsp water, warm
3 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
24 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg and vegetable oil. In a small bowl, stir together water, instant coffee and vanilla, then add to sugar mixture. Whisk flour mixture into the bowl with the sugar, mixing just until everything is combined and no streaks of flour remain.
  4. Place about 1 tbsp of batter into each cup of the prepared muffin pan. Place an unwrapped miniature peanut butter cup into the centre of each cup, pressing down gently. Top with about a tablespoonful of batter, just enough to cover the peanut butter cup. It is better to have some batter leftover than to overfill your muffin pan. The cavities should be approximately 3/4 full, or slightly more.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cake batter is set.
  6. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.

From http://bit.ly/uHtvHb – Thanks 🙂