Friday, December 24, 2010

A cupcake for Christmas

I'm writing this to the sounds of happy voices and laughter coming from the kitchen. The aroma of a ham cooking in Nigella's festive mix of cranberry juice, apple juice and all sorts of spices carries in the air. There's snow on the ground outside.

It must be Christmas.

The view from Baile Dháith (the village I live in) on Christmas Eve

I'd love to be in a position to give you all a gift this Christmas but the best I can do is to present you with this recipe for one of the best-selling cupcakes on my stall at yesterday's Christmas market in Dingle. It's a cupcake that I think has all of the festive flavours of Christmas.

It's a Christmas pudding cupcake, a lighter version of its more traditional grown-up relative that bursts with fruity flavour and is topped with brandy butter.

Here's how you make 18 of them.
200g sultanas
140g currants
6 dates
170g unsalted butter at room temperature
255g dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
170g self-raising flour
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp mixed spice
4tbsp rum
  • Place the sultanas, currants and dates in a pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes so that the fruits are soft and swollen.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line your muffin tins with paper cases.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until fully combined.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the flour.
  • Sir in the grated apple, spice, rum and drained fruit.
  • Divide the mixture between the paper cases.
  • Bake for 25 minutes then check that they are cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre.
  • Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
To make the brandy butter, you need equal amounts of icing sugar and butter and enough brandy to taste.
I used 220g of each, combining them in the food processor (you could use a hand-held whisk) and then I added about 5tbsp of brandy. You can add more or less according to your own taste.
You then need to fill a piping bag with this mixture and pipe it on to the cupcakes. If you've never done this before, here's how you do it. You start from the ouside and work towards the centre in a circular motion. It probably won't look that good first time but you'll get better. I promise!
You can top your cupcake off with a few sultanas for decoration. And then you should have something that looks like this:

This cupcake is brimful of the taste of Christmas and judging from the reactions of my customers and fellow stallholders when they tasted them yesterday, your guests are sure to scoff them.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Sounds like my husband's idea of heaven - I'll be making these as soon as the puddings are finished!


  2. They are really tasty. Essentially, they are a lighter version of Christmas puddings so they're a good thing to eat if you're trying to extend Christmas into January!