I was reading an LCBO magazine recently and saw a recipe for Christmas Cupcakes. The recipe looked very good but the combination of fruits wasn’t what I would consider for such a cake. So I decided that I would make some using the fruits more traditionally used in the UK.
I also wanted to give a suggestion of marzipan for the cupcakes so I used some almond extract in the cream cheese frosting.
Christmas cakes are often ‘fed’ with some rum or brandy before being covered in marzipan and icing. But for these cupcakes that wouldn’t really work. Instead the dried fruit is soaked in some alcohol, which can a personal choice, to impart that flavour.
Although I soaked mine in Port which worked very well indeed, rum, brandy or Madeira would be good too. Indeed, for those who prefer not to use alcohol the fruits could be soaked in black tea or orange juice.
The cakes are very simple to make and don’t require a lot of effort though there is some waiting time for soaking the fruit.
The cakes are made in a muffin tin which could be lined with paper cases. The tin cake also be greased and floured instead, but it must be well coated to prevent sticking. Indeed, a small parchment disc on the bottom of each cup would be a great idea.
Of course, the cakes then have to be allowed to cool down too before being covered in frosting.
The cakes are also very good without frosting and they can be frozen too, for use later. So they are perfect for small households which don’t need a large cake.
My cakes baked very well indeed. The aroma during baking whetted my appetite. So, within minutes of being taken out of the over, I ate one. The flavour of the cake was fantastic, even without the frosting.
The frosting was very good too. It was flavoured with almond extract to give that suggestion of marzipan which worked very well indeed.
These perfect little cakes can be made at anytime and will be great for Christmas.
Christmas Cake CupcakesCourse: Dessert, SnackCuisine: ChristmasDifficulty: Easy
- For the cake
70g(1/2 cup sultanas)
60g(1/2 cup) raisins
85g(1/2 cups) finely chopped prunes
80g(1/2 cup) chopped mixed peel ( I chopped mine even finer)
240ml(1 cup) Port, Madeira, Brandy or other soaking liquid such as black tea
150(10 tbsp+2 tsp) softened unsalted butter
200g(1 cup) demerara sugar (raw cane sugar)
2 medium eggs (large in USA)
1 medium egg yolk(large in USA)
125g(3/4 cup +1 tbsp+1tsp) plain flour
4g (1 tsp) baking powder
6g(1 tsp) salt
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
zest from one lemon
3g(3/4 tsp) mixed spice
- For the topping
150g(10tbsp+2 tsp) softened unsalted butter
200g(14tbsp) cream cheese
125g(1 cup+1 tsp) icing sugar
2 1/2 ml(1/2 tsp) almond extract
- Place all the fruits into a saucepan and add the port as well.
- Heat the saucepan until the mixture is just boiling. Then simmer for a few minutes, until the liquid has reduced by about 1/2.
- Decant the mixture into a bowl and allow it to cool completely.
- Strain the fruit from the liquid
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F.
- Grease and flour the cups of a muffin tin very well.
- In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Add the eggs and the additional yolk, one at a time and whisk to fully combine.
- Then add the vanilla extract and the lemon zest and whisk again.
- Mix the baking powder and the mixed spice into the flour.
- Sift the flour onto the wet mixture and gently mix until fully combined.
- Gently fold in the soaked fruits until fully distributed.
- Spoon equal amounts of the batter into the prepared muffin cups(about 80g each).
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer, when poked into the centres, comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
- Carefully run a knife around the edges of the cupcakes and then tip them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. SEE NOTE BELOW
- When the cakes have cooled completely place the cream cheese, butter and almond extract into a large bowl and cream them together until light and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar and cream again until all is combined(if you want a thicker mixture add more icing sugar).
- Pipe the icing onto the top of the cakes( or simply use a spatula to spread the icing on), and allow to set up in a cool place before serving.
- If you wish you can place a disc of parchment paper into the bottom of the cups to make removing the cakes easier.
I have other recipes for Christmas Cake on the blog, such as Last-Minute Christmas Mincemeat Cake – Easy which can be made just before Christmas. Another cake, which is good to make now, ready for feeding over the next few weeks, is Christmas Cake 2016.