Cupcakes are welcome at any time of year, but at Christmas, they are extra special. This recipe is easy to make and creates a light, deliciously fruity, spiced cake. Though the cupcake is great for the run up to Christmas, they also make a lovely tea time treat. And, you can also consider them as a great alternative to Christmas Pudding and, wrapped them in pretty paper, they make a lovely gift for Christmas.
This cupcake contains a large helping of mincemeat and some of the same spices found in a Christmas Cake—you can ring the changes to suit your taste. For adults, add a dash of brandy, which is often used in cakes and tarts at Christmas. Add a few nuts, switch the dried fruit to Craisins or dried figs. The alternatives are truly endless.
- For the Cake
- 4 ounces butter (softened)
- 8 ounces caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- 8 ounces all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 5 ounces mincemeat
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
- Optional: 1 teaspoon brandy
- For the Icing
- 3 ounces confectioner's sugar (sifted)
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau (or preferred liqueur or brandy)
- 1 bottle food coloring (of your choice)
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, these cupcakes are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Gather the ingredients and preheat oven to 160 C/Fan 180 C/Gas 4.
Make the Cake
In a large roomy baking bowl, place the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla bean paste or extract and stir well.
One by one, add the eggs, beating well after each addition and keep mixing until they are fully incorporated.
Sift together the flour and baking powder.
Fold this mixture into the butter-sugar mix in three parts, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Take your time with this if you want light, fluffy cakes.
Finally, gently stir in the mincemeat, spices, and brandy, if using.
Place 12 cupcake liners into a deep 12-holed tin.
Fill each case 2/3 full with the mixture. Place into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and well risen.
Cool on a wire rack before icing.
Make the Icing
Prepare the icing by combining the Cointreau or liqueur and food coloring with the confectioner's sugar.
Mix well to create a smooth, glossy icing. It should be a little runny, but not too runny that it slips off the cakes. If the mixture is too runny, add more confectioner's sugar.
Drizzle over the top of each cupcake and serve.
Dress up the icing with any further decorations you feel appropriate.
Serve and enjoy!