Christmas cupcakes

Christmas cupcakes

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(22 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 45 mins

Skill level



Makes 12

These beautiful and classy little cakes make lovely gifts, and kids will enjoy decorating them too

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen un-iced
Nutrition info


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For the batter

  • 200g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g butter, chopped
  • 700g luxury mixed dried fruits
  • 50g glacé cherries
  • 2 tsp grated fresh root ginger
  • zest and juice 1 orange
  • 100ml dark rum, brandy or orange juice
  • 85g/3oz pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 200g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

For the icing

  • 400g pack ready-rolled marzipan (we used Dr Oetker)
  • 4 tbsp warm apricot jam or shredless marmalade
  • 500g pack fondant icing sugar
  • icing sugar, for dusting

You will also need

  • 6 gold and 6 silver muffin cases
  • 6 gold and 6 silver sugared almonds
  • snowflake sprinkles

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  1. Tip the sugar, butter, dried fruit, whole cherries, ginger, orange zest and juice into a large pan. Pour over the rum, brandy or juice, then put on the heat and slowly bring to the boil, stirring frequently to melt the butter. Reduce the heat and bubble gently, uncovered for 10 mins, stirring every now and again to make sure the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. Set aside for 30 mins to cool.
  2. Stir the nuts, eggs and ground almonds into the fruit, then sift in the flour, baking powder and spices. Stir everything together gently but thoroughly. Your batter is ready.
  3. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Scoop the cake mix into 12 deep muffin cases (an ice-cream scoop works well), then level tops with a spoon dipped in hot water. Bake for 35-45 mins until golden and just firm to touch. A skewer inserted should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. Unravel the marzipan onto a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar. Stamp out 12 rounds, 6cm across. Brush the cake tops with apricot jam, top with a marzipan round and press down lightly.
  5. Make up the fondant icing to a spreading consistency, then swirl on top of each cupcake. Decorate with sugared almonds and snowflakes, then leave to set. Will keep in a tin for 3 weeks.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2009

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Show comments
Whitney.'s picture

This is a very belated review as I made these as part of my GCSE coursework last December! Although the ingredients are expensive to buy, I think it was totally worth it because these cupcakes not only looked great, they tasted better than any store bought christmas cake I have ever eaten!!
I couldn't find the sugared almonds anywhere so I used edible soft gold and silver balls...and I also sprinkled them with a little edible sugar sparkle dust which looked really effective. I found that this recipe made quite a lot, but they froze really well.
Would make again this year!! :)

lexiduncan's picture

Great recipe and very easy, perfect for using up all the ingredients leftover from your mincemeat and Christmas cake recipes. I made a batch for my daughter's school bake sale and they all went really quickly. Substituted walnuts for the pecans and used ordinary good quality cupcake liners with matching toppers instead of the foil and they came out perfectly. Looked and tasted lovely. Will definitely be using this again and again.

Coloradobrit's picture

These look delicious but are they really 833 calories per cupcake??

mamarazzi's picture

These Christmas cupcakes are very nice. I replaced the cherries with candied orange peel and the pecan nuts with wallnuts. We doubled the amount of baking powder and got the perfect consistency.
Will certainly do them again next year.

rubygirl2012's picture

this really works i tried it and it was perfet

bestmom's picture

Im doing a bake sale. does any body have any suggestions for either chocolate cupcakes or vanilla???

masterfox_86's picture
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These were very tasty and made excellent presents for people. I did find that the mixture made a lot more than 12 as I did them more cupcake than muffin size and they didn't rise very much. But otherwise nice and easy to make and decorate.

enjaykay's picture
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I loved this recipe - it was so easy! Like most people's comments I also made 20 muffins.
I soaked the fruit, ginger & orange zest overnight in the rum & orange juice, instead of heating it, then added the butter melted with the other ingredients. I also used 4 medium eggs instead of 3 large, which made it easier to half the recipe!

ellieweth's picture

These look amazing can you do it without fruit

rosenstielj's picture
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Enjoyed making thse two years ago and have returned again to make twenty one cup cakes. Very easy to make and a good way of enjoying Christmas cake without having large amounts left over in the weeks after Christmas.

shell07's picture

Will be making these for the Christmas lunch at work, and was wondering if I can cook them in normal paper fairy cake cases as I have some pretty Christmas ones?
Thank you

therobynem's picture

made these for a cake sale, they were delicious and sold out it minutes!

arddunol's picture

Excellent recipe .We enjoyed them beautifully decorated by my daughetr and niece .

paula_b's picture
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Made these today to freeze for Christmas hamper gifts. They are fantastic at the moment so I'm hoping they freeze well. I'm planning on adding marzipan and rolled fondant with sparkly fondant snowflakes on top. :-)

chiara42's picture
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Loved making these and hope I make a good enough job of the icing to give them as gifts! I wish I had not bothered to make Christmas cake! I just used sainsbury cupcake liners and put them in a muffin tin to keep their shape. I will definitely make these again!

kismetkp's picture

This recipe is the best I've tried for fruit cake cup cakes. I tried it out for my husbands birthday with great results and every one enjoyed them. They looked really good on the cupcake stand too.
So easy to make and ice, the only thing I will change is I will chop the nuts finer and add more Brandy after they are made.
I got 17 cakes out of the recipe using 40mm deep cupcake cases.
No more large Christmas cakes will be made by me again!!

aligmccormack's picture
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Made these last year instead of one large christmas cake - the recipe is great and everyone loved the little cakes - I bought organic marzipan and ready to roll icing and made up some just topped with marzipan, some topped with marzipan and icing stars and christmas trees
To make it really special I would recommend soaking the fruits in orange juice and rum/brandy as if making a large cake - for at least 24 hours before making up - just gives it a real festive feel
These cakes turned out beautifully - rich and tasty but not too heavy - am definitely going to make them again this year - but I agree with all the others - makes 1/3 more than it says in the recipe!

blondelicious's picture

This recipe looks great. Does anybody know if you can make christmas cupcakes as far in advance as a large xmas cake (usually recommended 8 weeks in advance with the booze being slowly fed in over the first 2 weeks of baking)? Thanks

pennyrecipe's picture

I've made these a few times, they are gorgeous and very simple to make. Agree, they make way more than 12 :-)

debbieknight123's picture
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wow these really are beautiful have just made a batch yes i got 20 too saw everyones comments left enough room in case for marzipan and im using rolled fondant its my favourite, oops just ate two accidentally while waiting for them to cool! I used my top oven convection for the 12 cakes and put the remaining 8 in the fan oven at suggested temperature both ovens cooked them in 35 minutes but I did find that my fan oven has made them too dry thankfully only 8 whereas the 12 baked in convection oven much much better moist and lovely will try not to eat any more re comments on cases I buy my silver ones on line milly molly mandy brilliant company and I bought some sugared almonds on line off the top of my head cant remember name they arrived yesterday and look so pretty I ordered pink and silver have talked a little too much here havnt I