Christmas cupcakes

With the weather definitely on the change, children will love nothing more than getting their hands dirty and cooking some cupcakes.

Christmas cupcakes

With an option of rum for grown-ups, these Christmas cupcakes can be made two ways to suit both adults and children.

Christmas cupcakes

Makes 12–16 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the sponge:

  • 300g (10½oz) mixed dried fruit
  • 100ml (3½fl oz) rum (leave this out if children will be enjoying these cupcakes)
  • 200g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g (7oz) soft dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 160g (5½oz) plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 60g (2oz) ground almonds

For the frosting

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) icing sugar
  • 160g (5½oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 50ml (1¾fl oz) whole milk
  • ½ tsp almond essence
  • Red sprinkles, silver balls or edible glitter, to decorate (optional)
  • One or two 12-hole deep muffin tins

Method:

  1. First place the dried fruit in a bowl, pour in the rum (leave this out if children will be enjoying these cupcakes) and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F), Gas mark 5, and line a tin with muffin cases.
  3. Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after adding each egg and mixing on a medium speed.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, then add to the creamed mixture and whisk on a low speed until all the ingredients are incorporated. Add the ground almonds, followed by the rum-soaked dried fruit, and mix until combined.
  5. Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling each two-thirds full. Any remaining batter can be used to fill one to four more cases in another tin. Pop in the oven and bake for 18–20 minutes or until the cupcakes have risen and spring back when you gently press them. Let them cool in the tray for a short while, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely while you make the frosting.
  6. Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed until fully combined and the mixture is still powdery in texture. Gradually add the milk and, once this has been incorporated, increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy. Add the almond essence and continue to whisk until it is well mixed in.
  7. Spoon the frosting on to the cold cupcakes, smoothing it with a palette knife and swirling to finish. For a festive touch, you could add some red sprinkles, edible Christmas-themed shapes, silver sugar balls or a sprinkling of edible glitter.

Source: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days by Tarek Malouf (Collins, £20)

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