Christmas tree cupcakes
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shop-bought fruit mince
- 100g unsalted butter
- 4 cups icing sugar
- ¼ cup milk
- Green food colouring
- 100g dark chocolate, melted
- Mixed cachous
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place cupcake papers in two 12-hole muffin trays. In an electric mixer, beat butter for 2-3 minutes until pale in colour and creamy. Add sugar one third at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about a minute between each addition. Add the vanilla essence and beat until combined. Mix the fruit mince with a few tablespoons of the milk. Sift flour, spices and baking powder and add half to butter mixture with half the milk, mix until well combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk and stir in the fruit mince mixture. Spoon into cupcake papers (an icecream scoop is perfect for this) and bake for about 15 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool completely.
Cream butter until pale and smooth. Add the milk and half the sifted icing sugar. Beat until well combined. Add the remaining icing sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add enough green colouring to get the shade you like - I used at least a teaspoon to get the colour in the photo. The mixture should be a spreadable paste; if it is too dry add some more milk, if too wet add more icing sugar.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave bowl at medium heat for 1 minute, stir and then cook for another minute or until melted and smooth. Allow to cool, then spoon into a small resealable bag. Snip off a tiny corner of the bag and pipe stars onto a piece of non-stick baking paper. Cursing is allowed for the first few! Leave until set.
Spoon the icing into an icing bag with a star tip. Pipe the icing onto the cupcake using a circle motion. Start on the outside and work in to make a soft-serve tree. Make sure you fill in the middle as you go or the top will collapse. The first few 'practice' ones make for a great cooks treat. Press cachous onto the trees (unfortunately sprinkled ones just fall off) for the Christmas lights and top the trees with a star.
- I went to a cake decorating shop to buy (500!) foil cupcake bases. You can buy small packets of red cupcake papers from kitchen shops and department stores.
- If you are making the trek to a cake decorating shop, you might like to use little angels, santas or sugar stars to top your tree, rather than make the chocolate ones.