Thursday, 6 December 2012

Christmas cupcakes

Set of Christmas cupcakes, including holly-topped, Christmas tree topped and snowflake topped cupcakes
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.

Christmas tree cupcake with silver baubles and candy cane sprinkles
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.

Christmas cupcake topped with marzipan and icing, with a sparkly Christmas tree decorationFor 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:

Christmas cupcakes
Snowflake topped cupcake

Ingredients (single batch of 12 cupcakes)

  1. 110g butter, at room temperature
  2. 225g golden castor sugar
  3. 2 large eggs
  4. 150g self-raising flour, sifted
  5. 125g plain flour, sifted
  6. 60ml semi-skimmed milk
  7. 2 tblsp lemon juice
  8. 2 tblsp orange juice
  9. 1 tblsp sour cream
  10. Grated zest of a lemon
  11. Grated zest of an orange
  12. ½ tsp cinnamon
  13. ½ tsp nutmeg
  14. ½ tsp ginger
  15. ½ tsp mixed spice
  16. Approx. 5 tblsp alcohol-soaked dried fruit or mincemeat


  1. 2 tblsp apricot jam, sieved
  2. White and coloured ready-to-roll icing
  3. Marzipan
  4. Other decorations as required


  1. Preheat oven to 160C/350F/GM4.
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. Combine the two flours and all the spices in a separate bowl.
  6. Combine the milk, sour cream, orange and lemon juice in a jug.
  7. Add one third of the flour mix to the creamed mixture and stir gently to combine.
  8. Pour in one third of the milk mixture and stir gently.
  9. Continue to add flour mix and then milk mixture alternately, stirring gently after each addition, until all have been added.
  10. Gently stir in the dried fruit and the orange and lemon zest.
  11. Spoon mixture into the cupcake cases, filling to about 2/3 full.
  12. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until lightly golden brown. The cakes will spring back lightly when touched, if cooked.
  13. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in tin for about 10 minutes, before carefully placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.

To decorate:

    Holly topped cupcake
  1. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out 12 circles of marzipan and 12 circles of ready-to-roll icing.
  2. Brush each cooled cake with the sieved jam.
  3. Stick a marzipan circle on each cake.
  4. Brush the top of each marzipan circle with water and then stick a circle of icing onto each cake.
  5. Use additional coloured icing as decorations – using water to stick on. 

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