Christmas cupcakes

Christmas cupcakes

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(22 ratings)

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 45 mins


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


  • kcal833
  • fat29g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs139g
  • sugars125g
  • fibre3g
  • protein9g
  • salt0.44g
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    For the batter

    • 200g dark muscovado sugar
    • 175g butter, chopped



      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 700g luxury mixed dried fruit
    • 50g glacé cherries
    • 2 tsp grated fresh root ginger



      Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

    • zest and juice 1 orange



      One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

    • 100ml dark rum, brandy or orange juice
    • 85g/3oz pecan nuts, roughly chopped
      Pecan nuts



      Related to the walnut, pecans are native to America, and grow enclosed in a glossy, browny-red…

    • 3 large eggs, beaten



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

    • 85g ground almond


      arr-mund or al-mund

      Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

    • 200g plain flour
    • ½ tsp baking powder
      Baking powder

      Baking powder

      bay-king pow-dah

      Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

    • 1 tsp mixed spice
    • 1 tsp cinnamon



      A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

    For the icing

    • 400g pack ready-rolled marzipan (we used Dr Oetker)
      Marzipan cake



      One of mankind’s oldest sources of sweet pleasure, marzipan needs to contain only ground…

    • 4 tbsp warm apricot jam or shredless marmalade



      A relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry, apricots are fragrant, with a soft, velvety…

    • 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


      arr-mund or al-mund

      Sweet almonds have a subtle fragrance that lends itself well to baking and also works well with…

    • snowflake sprinkles


    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.

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    Comments (40)

    angielinford's picture

    I thought the cakes a little pale so added black treacle to the second attempt for a better colour.

    rubyfitz's picture

    Very easy to make. Look terrific and taste divine
    This mixture went way further then stated in the recipe.

    abi_cat80's picture

    Hi Alison, I just got some lovely metallic cupcake cases delivered from today, would recommend them as they have loads to choose from but wherever you get them from make sure you get the larger case size as most supermarkets etc seem to sell cases only for fairy cakes! size i just found works well is 40mm deep, 50 or 55mm wide.

    jan300950's picture

    It's a lot easier if you just use an ordinary small bun receipe and then add mincemeat from a jar. Makes a very nice Christmas un.

    alison-bishop's picture

    So very much looking forward to making these, where do I get gold/silver muffin cases and the lovely almonds.

    1william's picture

    Made a batch of these this afternoon. Like everyone else I found there was too much batter for 12 cakes and ended up with 20. I used muffin cases and tins and used an ice cream scoop as suggested to measure batter into muffin cases.
    Next time I shall half the mixture and not fill the cases more than two thirds full as there is little room for marzipan and icing. Hopefully I will then have the 12 cakes I wanted.
    Taste is good and mixture nice and moist.

    dawnwest7's picture

    New to cupcake making, fed up making the usual cakes and wanted something special for Christmas, and I must say they are absolutely beautiful! Didnt change the recipe, used rum only because thats all we had, made approx 27 cakes using fairy cake sized foil cases in a muffin tin and filling 3/4 full (they dont rise). Dont think this batch will get decorated, plenty of willing people wanting to test them! Brilliant, thank you!

    jan34650's picture

    It's my second year making these. They are so easy and much nicer than other xmas cakes. Thanks GH

    janeellis's picture

    Ignore my last comment! Just read the recipe properly and see they can last for 3 weeks.phew!

    janeellis's picture

    fancy giving this a go and taking as a Christmas treat to a friends party on boxing day. Does anyone know how far you can make the cakes in advance?

    stbrelades's picture

    yummy...the first batch i made were a bit dry (to much flour) but still tasty... second batch so moist i decorated them with little santas etc and made them into minature xmas cakes

    heaneye's picture

    Amazing. I made up a mix of dried fruits to taste and absolutely love these. They are much lighter and zestier than a traditional christmas cake and even people who don't like Christmas cake (like my Mum and Hubby) have loved these when 'testing' them.

    First time I made them there was far too much for 12 muffin case and I tried to fill the muffins to the top - making it messy when I iced them the second time I filled each case to 2/3s and made around 20. Definately a new family favourite.

    rigathistle's picture

    Made these for the International Bazaar here and got 14 out of the recipe so had one each for hubby and I to taste beforehand. Substituted whiskey for the brandy and made up the mix of dried fruits from what I could get at the market here. Turned out really well and will definitely make them again.

    trickortreat's picture

    I too made more than 12.I agree they are fantastic.Two friends also made the cupcakes with variations of brandy and rum and slighly different amounts of spice and nuts and i can honestly say all recipes are great. I have 6 more just baking as i write this Thanks Good Food Mag ten out of ten!!!!

    millieminor's picture

    I agree with others you get more than 12. They were fantastic.
    I added any dried fruit i had, prunes apricots and cranberries.
    I used my favourite tipple cointreau and they were delicious

    sxmscorpio's picture

    I got 24 cupcakes out of this though I could have filled them more I suppose because they don't rise very much but I still would have gotten more than 12; not complaining though. They taste lovely, very close to Chritmas pudding. You cannot get fondant where I live and the recipes I found online made me tired at the thought of making something similar from I just topped with regular icing (icing sugar and water). Gave just the right contrast in taste.

    saucy-minx's picture

    Make these for the school bazaar - went down a storm! Easy to make. Recipe did make more than 12 muffins and I had enough to make 6 small muffins too (cut down the cooking time by 5 mins). I also used ready made fondant icing and decorated using pens with edible ink.

    skybabe1's picture

    As soon as I did saw this recipe I had to try it! They were wonderful and so easy - I also had more mixture then for 12 but I have now bought deep muffin tins just for this recipe. I plan to make for all my colleagues at work (well it will be christmas)_

    mariemcg's picture

    I'm not a huge fan of fruit cake but I found these really tasty. They were very straight forward to make and looked lovely when finished.

    I did find that the mixture stretched much further than 12 cakes though. I made 18 and still felt that there wasn't quite enough room in the muffin cases to have a decent amount of marzipan and fondant icing. Next time I make them I'll put less in each case and make more of them. I'll be making them as part of my Christmas hampers for presents this year.


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