Iced Gingerbread Cupcakes

I made these gingerbread cupcakes for Christmas Eve last year as a alternative for Santa. They are an old Nigella recipe from her Feast book I have been using for years which works really well and gives really moist christmassy cupcake. I just added the icing and drizzled chocolate as an extra treat for the big man.

Here’s the recipe:

 

Gingerbread Muffins (Feast by Nigella Lawson)

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable or corn oil
  • 4 tablespoons dark corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons molasses

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk the egg in another bowl, then add the brown sugars, making sure to break up any lumps.

Add the milk and vinegar to the egg-brown sugar mixture then measure in the oil with a tablespoon. Use the same oily spoon to add the corn syrup and molasses so they don’t stick to it. Whisk the mixture to combine and add to the flour and spices.

Stir until mixed but still fairly lumpy-the mixture may be more runny than you expect for muffins- but you need the dense stickiness of gingerbread, rather than a cakey crumb. Spoon or pour the mixture into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes until the tops are dry.

Once they have cooled, top them with gloopy water icing and drizzle with melted chocolate once the icing has fully set.

Makes 12 Muffins.

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Chocolate Rudolph the Reindeer Cupcakes

Pure chocolate fun, these cupcake can make use of those leftover sweets you have lying around at this time year. Everyone gets given a box of matchmakers right?!

I used my basic chocolate cupcake mix, piped some chocolate butter cream for the frosting and topped with mint chocolate sticks for antlers, red jelly tots or red smarties for rudolph noses (the smarties worked best – the red jelly tots weren’t really bright enough) and some black sugar paste with white pearls for eyes.

Here’s the cupcake recipe:

150g Self raising flour

175g Castor sugar

30g Cocoa powder

175g Butter

3 large eggs

2 tbsp of milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients with a hand mixer or by hand. Bake at Gas Mark 3 or 170c for approx 20 mins.

Petit Lemon Daisy Cake

4″ iced lemon cake with lemon curd and buttercream filling. This is great gift size cake, petit I like to call it. They are becoming more and more popular. This particular one was done for my friend Lauren for her mothers birthday and was decorated with white sugar paste, white & yellow daisies and personalised initial detail in royal icing.

I always get the most comments about lemon cakes. They are delicious.

Christmas Fayre Successes?

After visiting the Crafts for Christmas exhibition at the Birmingham NEC this year and stocking up with supplies, I was really excited to have a stall all of my own at a few Christmas Fayres on the run up to the festive season.  I’ve done two so far and have some pics below of my stall.

There are quite a few learns I took away with me after doing just these two but am really interested in your Christmas Fayre experiences, tips, pitfalls etc. I found that:

– Anything edible seems to go well – chocolate christmas pudding cupcakes sold out within about 20 mins

– People do not take huge amounts of money to Christmas Fayres (especially school ones) so have lots of cheaper items

– It is a good way to network and get possible future orders

– Make sure you have a good float with lots of change

– Oh and make sure you take sticky tape, blue tack, a pen, some bags for peoples purchases

– You can negotiate on stall prices (sometimes)

Would love to hear from others who have braved the Christmas Fayres this year and how you found it…… get in touch

 

Christmas Star Cookies (or Biscuits for us Brits!)

They’re biscuits really aren’t they?! I do quite like that we have adopted the American ‘cookie’. It’s makes our decorated biscuits sound a tad cuter no?

I knocked these up fondant iced vanilla cookies for a Christmas Fayre I had a stall at a couple of weeks back.  The kids loved them and they are so simple to make.

You will need:

140g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extrect

1 large egg

250g butter

375g plain flour

250g of red sugar paste & 250g white sugarpaste

white royal icing or writing icing to decorate

Makes about 24

Pre heat the oven to 180c or gas mark 4 and grease  or line 2 large baking sheets

mix together the icing sugar, egg, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl. Add the flour and combine into a firm dough. Place to dough ih the fridge for at least 30 mins.  This will make it easier to handle and you cookie will hold their shape well when baked.

Roll out the dough to approx 1/2 inch thick and cut out your stars.  Try not to re roll the dough more than once or it will become tough.

Bake for approx 12 mins or until golden.

Once the cookies are fully cooled, roll out your sugar paste to approx 1/4 inch thick and cut out your icing stars using the same cutter as the cookies so they fit perfectly. Stick them to your cookies with a smear of royal icing. Now just add some detail to your cookies with the rest of your royal icing or writing icing.

 

Mario Gold Coin Birthday Cake

I made this cake for Hubby’s 11 year old son for his birthday in October. It went down a treat and was my first attempt at any real character based cakes so I was too scared to attempt a full Mario Face Cake so opted for a Giant Mario Gold Coin and Mario based background.

This was made with an 8″ round chocolate sponge covered with yellow sugar paste and brushed with gold edible lustre. I can’t really tell you how I made the background as it just seemed to evolve! Would love to hear your comments…

Star Christmas cupcakes

Some sparkly cupcakes for the holiday season! I took these to my sons school Christmas fayre yesterday and the went down a treat!

You will need:

12 or 24 cupcakes – I used 12 vanilla and 12 chocolate
Buttercream
Fondant or sugarpaste icing in pale blue & white & edible glitter.

Roll out the sugarpaste to approx 3mm and cut out 12 or 24 stars. Pipe the butter cream in swirls with a large nozzle onto each cupcake, top with a cut out star and sprinkle with a bit of Xmas spirit….er I mean edible glitter!

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Flapjack Pizza

How did I manage to lose my tray bake tin?? I can only imagine in my recent house move but disaster not! I’d already made up a batch of flapjack mix before realising this fatal error so I decided to bake the flapjacks in a shallow round cake tin instead.  As I squished it down it reminded me of a pizza base and so, the flapjack pizza was born! Ours is topped with raisins and chunks of chocolate finger biscuits but you can go with whatever you have in the cupboard; drizzled chocolate, yogurt or icing, any dried fruits, chocolate chips, smarties or other sweets – really go for it! Some toppings will need to go on before baking (mainly the raisins and other dried fruits, others once the flapjack pizza has cooled. Cut into pizza slice slabs and enjoy.

Another winner for lunch boxes I think!

Flapjack recipe:

250g oats

150g butter or marg

75g caster sugar

75g  golden syrup

combine all the ingredients together and press down in a greased round shallow tin – I used a 9″ and this mix fits perfectly. Bake in a preheated oven at gas mark 4 or 180c for approx 20-25 mins for a chewy flapjack, gas mark 5 or 190c for a crunchier texture. Allow to cool completely before cutting with a pizza cutter or it will crumble a bit like mine did (I couldn’t wait!).  Can be frozen.

Mini Fruit Scones

OK, they’re no different than normal scones really but I have unhealthy obsession with everything ‘mini’. A bit like a 7 year old girl i know, but I don’t care. I’ve just made a batch of these and half have been eaten already. My preference is raspberry jam and butter over the traditional cream and strawberry but it really doesn’t matter. You could have a plate full with various topping if you wish. Makes 20ish mini scones or about 10 larger ones if you use a 2″ cutter.

If you’ve ever made scones that turned out like biscuits there are some ground rules for scones in general – ignore them at your peril!

The dough is to be handled as little as possible.  It is wet and supposed to be that way so resist the temptation to add extra flour and over knead.

Use large eggs. Always.

Forget the rolling pin and just press out the dough before cutting.

 

Anyway, I’m jumping ahead. Here’s the recipe I always use:

Preheat oven to gas mark 7 or 220c

1lb self raising flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

2 large eggs

8fl oz of milk

2oz caster sugar

Dried fruit – about two handfuls but this can be adapted. Use as little or as much as you like.  If raisins aren’t your thing try cherries, currents or mixed peel.

 

Mix the dry ingredients then rub in the butter and add your dried fruit. In a jug, beat the milk and egg and then little by little, add this to the dry ingredients and gently bring it together to form a wet sticky dough.  Keep about 2 tbsp of milk/egg for glazing. Turn the dough out onto a LIGHTLY floured surface and just very gently press it out to about 1 inch think. Cut out using a 1″ cutter and place onto a greased baking tray or baking parchment. Brush on the remaining egg and milk mix. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 10 – 12 mins until well risen the tops are golden brown.