Cupcake, Sweet

Mincepie Christmas Cupcakes

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I love mincepies and I love cupcakes, so one day when I had a quiet few minutes I thought that it’d be a good idea to combine the two.
A family review of this recipe was “tastes just like a mincepie but without the mouthful of dry pastry”. I am taking that as a compliment and not a critique of my mincepie baking.

Its a very simple recipe to do and you can decorate them as Christmassy as you like!
Mincepie Christmas Cupcakes

This recipe made 11 huge cupcakes for me as I baked them in a muffin case.image

3oz Light Brown Sugar
3oz White sugar
6oz Margarine
6.5oz Self Raising Flour
3 Large Eggs
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
Mincemeat (I didn’t weigh this, it is half teaspoon in each cake)

For buttercream
2 tblsp Butter or Margarine
Lots of icing Sugar
1 tsp Christmas Pudding flavoured Essence (if you don’t have this then you could use Orange, rum, brandy or just vanilla with a little cinnamon is good)

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 4, 180c

In a large bowl beat the sugars and margarine together till they become lighter.
Mix the cinnamon and nutmeg together with the flour.
Add an egg and a third of the flour to the sugar and margarine and mix till just combined, do the same with the other eggs and flour.
Try not to overbeat your mixture as this will cause the cupcakes to have too much air and dome up when cooking.

Into each cake case add half a tablespoon of the mixture so it covers the bottom of the case then put half a teaspoon of mincemeat in the middle. Cover with another half tablespoon of cake mixture. If you are using small cases then change the amount so it fits, you want to have the cake cakes approx. 3/4 full.

Bake in the oven for at least 20 minutes, mine took 27 minutes to cook as they were large sized. You can test after 20 minutes by pressing gently on the top, if they spring back up then they are done.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack. You can use this time to either have a cuppa tea or start your buttercream.

In a large bowl add two big tablespoons of butter or margarine (butter is best but if you only have marg then it’ll still work).

Sift in at least 4 large tablespoons of icing sugar and a teaspoon of your chosen flavouring. Very, very slowly mix it all together. Once combined you can add more icing sugar. Add as much as you need till you reach the required taste and consistency.

Put your buttercream into a piping bag and pipe swirls onto the top, or just use a knife for the Hummingbird bakery style (if you’re not sure what it is, have a look online – mine never looks as good though)

Decorate with the most festive decorations you feel like! I used red, green and gold flakes and a small icing disc with a snowflake pattern.

Fudge, Sweet

The joys and pitfalls of making fudge

Fudge PartySince I am still at home waiting for HR to sort out everything for my new job I have been spending my time with my family and my stove, specifically I have been making fudge – a lot of it!

I have been really thinking about making it into a little business that I can do part time running the occasional stall here and there. Its really exciting and I’ve always fancied the idea of being my own little boss so now I am really looking it. I have contacted our local environmental health about my kitchen and whilst waiting for them I have been practicing.

Vanilla and Cranberry BrandyI have encountered a lot of issues and was kinda lulled into a false sense of security because my first few batches of fudge came out so well that I thought, “hey, this is easy!”. How wrong I have been. I am currently writing this as a failed batch of simple vanilla fudge has split and is cooling in the kitchen ready to make its way swiftly to the bin. For some reason this time it has split and I have no idea why! Still, I will get back on my fudge horse and try again.
I have learnt a lot though and every mistake tells me what I did wrong so that next time I can fix it. I’ve learnt you can re-cook over heated fudge, not to stir too early to stop crystal formation, the right pan to use, altering the temperature to suit your thermometer. It’s no wonder there is no one recipe that is fool proof.

I will get this and some of the fudge that has worked has been fantastic, my dad even said it was the best he’d ever tasted (my dad will eat anything though!) and my fudge party that I held so friends and family could help me eat some of the mountain was very well received. Now I just need to keep at it… practice, practice, practice and then one day I might be at a stall near you.Whisky and After 8 Fudge

Food Ramblings

My Food and Drink Christmas pressies

Santa was very kind to me this year by bringing me lots of lovely things to eat or bake, I felt very lucky indeed.

Breadmaker
I am learning to make my bread by hand and bake it in the oven but there is also a good use for a breadmaker to, so I asked my parents for one for Christmas.
They’ve bought me a really good Morphy Richards one so now we can easily bake our own bread in 3 hours, no matter how little time we have.

Attica Tea
TeaI had this present from my sister and brother in law and its fab. I’ve never seen a tea cafetier before but I don’t know why as it makes the nicest tasting tea, and makes me feel very posh.
My brother in law worked in a tea room for a while so they allowed them to buy one for me.
Everyone knows that I am a huge tea monster and my favourite is Earl Grey with milk. Unfortunately, since I’ve been pregnant and because I’m feeding my daughter I can only have one or two cups of tea with caffeine in, so if I’m going to have one then its got to be a good one.

They also bought me a HUGE jar of Baci Di Dama cookies from Carluccio’s. Yummy.

 

Cupcake cups

'Cup'Cakes

Following on from my ‘i love tea’ theme, I was bought these fab silicon cupcake cups from my other brother in law. I decided to bake some cupcakes for new year and everyone was quite excited by the look of these as they were so cute.

 

Food Ramblings

Happy Christmas from The Happy Little Baker

I just wanted to wish each of you a very merry Christmas. 

Thank you to everyone who has been reading, following my blog, or liking my posts – it’s very much appreciated to know that people are enjoying what I’m writing and hopefully finding the recipes useful and easy to follow.

Hope you all have a great time however you celebrate the holidays.  For me, my husband and the little-ist baker, are off to my parents house as there will be lots of wonderful food that my parents cook as well plenty of family and friends dropping by.

Merry Christmas.
Love, Shel Xx

Biscuit, Sweet

A gingerbread house alternative – 3 generations bake

Last year my parents bought me a gingerbread house mould as a present but unfortunately it was too near to Christmas for me to have the time to make one so this year my dad phoned me up and asked if I wanted to come round with the littlest happy baker and we’d bake the gingerbread house together.

My dad said he doesn’t like gingerbread, and i’m not particularly keen so we decided to make a gingerbread house out of non-gingerbread!  As my husband calls it a …house.

My dad suggested we try using shortbread but I thought this might be brittle so I decided we would just use a gingerbread recipe and instead of the ginger we would substitute it for cinnamon and I would make the roof out of shortbread to see if it is ok to use.  I am glad that in the end we went for a majority gingerbread mix because the shortbread was very heavy and brittle, like I thought.

My dad did get a little bored at one point and took the littlest baker out for a drive whilst I finished off baking the roof.

I left the decorating and building of the house to my dad, who was armed with white chocolate buttons and a bag of Harribo.  I think in my dads head he was going to make a really cool looking house with puffing smoke and windows – just like he had seen on the fabulous baker brothers christmas special program – what he actually made was this:

Alternative Gingerbread House

Well, the decorating is a little wonky but we had a good laugh making it and the good news is that today when we eat it, it should taste lovely.

We will definitely have to try again next year as it was lots of fun to do and not too difficult to make and the littlest baker likes the look of it (she’s wearing her Italy football shirt)

Alice admiring house


Alternative Gingerbread House

I used Rachel Allens’ recipe which can be found here for the walls – Gingerbread House and substituted the ground ginger for two tsp cinnamon and 1tsp Nutmeg

I used my 3,2,1 shortbread recipe for the roof