Just one of the various things I've been forcing my brother to take to school this week (well what else am I meant to do in the holidays?) other delights include some dubious looking cheesecake-cupcakes (not to be posted) and sweeter-than-sweet coconut florentines...The old 'stuffing oneself with food at Yuletide' trick is fully in force.
The basic cupcake recipe was taken from ‘Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery’ by MarthaSwift and Lisa Thomas, although the idea is from a Hummingbird Bakery recipe. My version was a bit haphazard, so this may need some tweaking (partially because I can’t really remember what I put in them, except it’s a mixture of lots of Christmassy tastes)
This recipe made 24 mini cupcakes and 6 normal sized ones
10g (ish?) marzipan, cubed and softened
225g caster sugar
275g self raising flour
20ml orange juice
(a good one like Innocent Juice is fine)
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
A couple of handfuls of raisins, chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries or any other dried fruit you fancy
A good glug of brandy
Spiced Cream Cheese icing
(this is half the recipe in the book, and was just enough for my amount of cupcakes)
85-90g cream cheese
225g icing sugar
60g unsalted butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice (again, or to taste)
Some dried cranberries to decorate
First put your dried fruit in a bowl and glug the brandy over it. Leave this for as long as you dare. Overnight would work, so would an hour or two (depends how spur of the moment your baking is)
Make your icing before you start if you like, so that it can firm up in the fridge if necessary (especially with lower fat cream cheese) Beat the butter and gradually add the icing sugar a tiny bit at a time, keeping it light and fluffy. When you’ve added as much as possible, then beat in the cream cheese (keep adding the icing sugar) and the spices.
Preheat your oven to 160 for a fan (180 for normal) and line your muffin trays
Cream the butter, marzipan and sugar together, then add the eggs, beating after each one. Mix the flour with the spices and alternate between this and the milk, adding it to the butter and stirring in. Move on the orange juice when the milk is gone. Fold in the boozy fruits, and a bit of the leftover brandy if you like. Spoon into the cases and bake for around 15 minutes for the little cakes, and 25 for larger (check with a skewer, the amount of liquid/fruit means they may require longer) Inhale the spiced brandy smell…and let them cool before icing and decorating!