Christmas boozy fun

Serves 12

65g currants
65g sultanas/golden raisins
65g cranberries
225g plain all-purpose flour
1tsp baking powder
2tsp ground cinnamon
125g butter cubed and soft
130g dark brown sugar
50g caster sugar
2tbsp dark rum
2tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2tbsp milk chocolate coated raisins to decorate

Chocolate brandy buttercream
70g butter cubed and soft
200g icing/confectioners’ sugar
3tbsp cocoa powder
1tbsp brandy
3tbsp milk

Put the currants, sultanas/golden raisins and dried cranberries in abowl with 4 tablespoons boiling water and let soak overnight until plump and juicy. The next day preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon in a bowl. Put the butter, sugars, rum and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Stop occasionally to scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after every addition. Gently fold in 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients (prevents curdling!) Now add the dried fruit and the milk.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Chocolate brandy buttercream
While the cupcakes are cooling down, make the chocolate brandy buttercream. Put the butter in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until very soft and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Sift half the icing/confectioners’ sugar and half the cocoa powder into the bowl, beating until incorporated. Add the second half of the sugar and cocoa and beat on low speed. Add the brandy. Slowly pour in the milk and when it is mixed in, beat for 3-5 minutes on a higher speed.

Spread the frosting over the cold cupcakes using a spatula, or spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle tip and pipe it on top of the cupcakes. Top with a cluster of dried cranberries and chocolate-coated raisins.  

 

Orange Chocolate (gluten-free)

Serves 12

2 whole oranges (scrubbed, not peeled, thinly sliced)
600g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
200g ground almonds
4 eggs
Candied orange peel or grated orange zest

Chocolate brandy buttercream
100ml double/heavy cream
150g dark bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
600g mascarpone cheese

Put the sliced oranges, 500g of the sugar and the 250ml water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1Ž2 hours, or until the liquid has almost evaporated and the oranges are coated in syrup. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Let cool. This puree can be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated until needed. Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF.

Put the eggs and remaining sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric hand mixer until just combined. Add the almonds and baking powder and whisk again. Add the orange puree and whisk until well mixed. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until well-risen and spring back when you press them and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (They won’t rise very much) Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Dark chocolate frosting
While the cupcakes are cooling down, make the dark chocolate frosting. Put the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and heat until just starting to bubble around the edges. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and you have a glossy ganache. Let cool for a few minutes. Fold in the mascarpone and mix gently until evenly incorporated. Spread the frosting over the cold cupcakes using a spatula. Decoratewith candied orange peel or grated orange zest.

 

Gingerbread Latte

Serves 12                       

120g golden syrup
120g black treacle/dark molasses
200ml double cream
250g plain all-purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp ground espresso
2tsp ground ginger
1Ž2 tsp ground all spice
1Ž2 tsp ground nutmeg
1Ž4 tsp salt
135g butter cubed and soft
125g dark brown sugar
2 eggs
Gingerbread men sugar sprinkles to decorate

Coffee cinammon buttercream
120g butter cubed and soft
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g icing/confectioners’ sugar
3 tsp milk
2 tsp ground espresso 

1 tsp ground cinnamon mixed with 1Ž2 teaspoon hot water

Put the golden syrup, treacle/molasses in a saucepan and heat gently until justmelted-Don’t allow to come to a boil. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, ground espresso, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and salt, in a bowl. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Stop occasionally to scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well afterevery addition. Gently fold in 1/3 of the sifted dry ingredients (prevents curdling!) Now add the remaining syrup mixture and dry ingredients and beat until wellmixed.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until well risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Coffee cinnamon buttercream
While the cupcakes are cooling down, make the coffee cinnamon buttercream.

Put the butter in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until very soft and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Sift half the icing/confectioners’ sugar and half the cocoa powder into the bowl, beating until incorporated. Add the second half of the sugar and beat on low speed. Slowly pour in the milk andwhen it is mixed in, beat for 3-5 minutes on a higher speed. Add the espresso-cinnamon paste and beat in.

Spread the frosting over the cold cupcakes using a spatula, or spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle tip and pipe it on top of the cupcakes. Top with a cluster of dried cranberries and chocolate-coated raisins. 

Recipes courtesy of LOLA’s Cupcakes. www.lolas-kitchen.co.uk