Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmassy cupcakes.

Cupcakes are supremely appropriate for this time of year for a multitude of reasons, the most important being that as they're conveniently small it's easy to stuff several into your face at once when you're searching for a wintery sugar high. However, as well as this, I like to look on them as little festive bundles of joy, bringing you Christmas cheer in every bite.

I was playing around with Yuletid flavours in the kitchen today and accidentally gave birth to these little beauties. It's something about the blend of dark sugar and spices mixed with the silky white cream cheese icing that makes them perfect for this time of year - rich in taste yet fluffy, with that beautiful blanket of tangy icing on top ensuring you don't immediately succumb to a sucre induced coma before the big day. Neat.

My recipes always tend to go heavy on the spices because I believe generic spiced bake recipes always end up rather bland and flat. Feel free to use less - I'll try not to judge too harshly.

Spiced Christmas cupcakes with tangy cream cheese icing


175g self raising flour
175g butter
90g caster sugar
90g brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
2tsp cinnamon
2tsp ginger
1tsp mixed spice

For the icing
100g butter
100g icing sugar
300g cream cheese
1/2tsp vanilla
1tsp mixed spice

  1. Preheat the oven to 190degrees Celsius.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add the sifted flour in batches with the baking powder, vanilla extract and spices, and fold in gently.
  5. Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  6. For the icing, beat the butter until soft, then slowly mix in the other ingredient until smooth.
  7. Wait until the cakes have cooled to spoon on the icing.
  8. Finish off with a sprinkling of cinnamon for a festive look and smell.

And there you have it, simple as pie. Not only are they the essence of Christmas conveniently trapped in a muffin case, but they look pretty darn impressive too with their glossy white finish and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Be warned - these don't last long in any household so keep a few stashed away for the chef!

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