Ok – so it was just about still November, but I decided it was close enough to Christmas to start Christmas-themed baking. Last Thursday was the last day of a management course that I had been taking at work and so I decided to make Christmas cupcakes for my coursemates. As there were 16 of us on the course, I needed to do a double batch of cupcakes. Never one to do things the easy way, I was keen to do two different flavours – however, on a school night, two lots of cupcakes is a big ask. I decided on a compromise – a lemon cupcake batter that I then add additional flavourings to make a second batch of Christmas flavoured cakes!
So the base cupcake batter is my lemon Primrose Bakery cupcakes. I made a double batch of this batter up and filled 12 cupcake cases. I then added orange zest, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, ginger, mixed spice and cinnamon, a teaspoon of orange flavouring and approximately 5 tablespoons of alcohol-soaked dried fruit (leftovers from my Christmas Cake). I stirred these ingredients into the remaining lemon cupcake batter and then filled another 12 cupcake cases.
To decorate, I made a lemon buttercream for the lemon cupcakes, tinted it a Christmas green and swirled it onto the cupcakes with a Wilton 2D nozzle. A few silver balls, mini candy cane sprinkles and a gold star complete the cakes.
For the Christmas cupcakes, I topped them with a circle of marzipan and a circle of ready-to-roll icing. I embossed the icing with a snowflake embossing plate (like this one), sprayed them with pearlising spray and topped the cakes with shapes cut with my new Christmas plunger cutters.
If you fancy just making a single batch of 12 Christmas cutters, this is the recipe I would follow:
Ingredients (single batch of 12 cupcakes)
- 110g butter, at room temperature
- 225g golden castor sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 150g self-raising flour, sifted
- 125g plain flour, sifted
- 60ml semi-skimmed milk
- 2 tblsp lemon juice
- 2 tblsp orange juice
- 1 tblsp sour cream
- Grated zest of a lemon
- Grated zest of an orange
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ tsp mixed spice
- Approx. 5 tblsp alcohol-soaked dried fruit or mincemeat
- 2 tblsp apricot jam, sieved
- White and coloured ready-to-roll icing
- Other decorations as required
- Preheat oven to 160C/350F/GM4.
- Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy this will take at least 5 minutes with an electric hand mixer – don’t rush this stage).
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition. It should result in a lovely light mousse-like mixture.
- Combine the two flours and all the spices in a separate bowl.
- Combine the milk, sour cream, orange and lemon juice in a jug.
- Add one third of the flour mix to the creamed mixture and stir gently to combine.
- Pour in one third of the milk mixture and stir gently.
- Continue to add flour mix and then milk mixture alternately, stirring gently after each addition, until all have been added.
- Gently stir in the dried fruit and the orange and lemon zest.
- Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases, filling to about 2/3 full.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. The cakes will spring back lightly when touched, if cooked.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes, before carefully placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Use a round cookie cutter to cut out 12 circles of marzipan and 12 circles of ready-to-roll icing.
- Brush each cooled cake with the sieved jam.
- Stick a marzipan circle on each cake.
- Brush the top of each marzipan circle with water and then stick a circle of icing onto each cake.
- Use additional coloured icing as decorations – using water to stick on.