Saturday, 5 December 2009

Fairy (Christmas) Cupcakes

I like the playing part - choosing the colours, the detail - Nigella Lawson

Christmas Tree Cupcake

The verdict:
We've covered these cupcakes before here. RoseRed made them for the blog a long time ago but I made them today for a family BBQ and thought it was worth covering them again because I modified them a little. It's the perfect cupcake recipe, as far as I'm concerned. Nigella urges you to make it in the food processor and that's a winner for me. They cooked to perfection and I think they form the perfect base for fancy, playful decoration.

They rise a fair bit in the middle, which I don't think is conducive to the best decorating, so I sliced the risen parts off (and yes, ate them all!) to enable something like smooth surfaces for the royal icing.

Unusual or substituted ingredients:
I actually realised after I started that I had no caster sugar so used plain white sugar and it was just fine. Other than that, the base was made as written.

For the icing, I used royal icing I'd had in the freezer for about two years. I was prepared to not use it when it defrosted, but it turned out the two bundles marked GREEN and WHITE were absolutely fine for using. I rolled them out, cut out some Christmas tree shapes and whacked them on top. Easy.

Xmas Cupcakes

Special utensils or cookware:
Again, none. You don't have to make these in a food processor. I can't see why you couldn't just mix by hand but I do like the way it makes the mix very, very light and smooth.

Oh yes, again and again. This will be my go-to cupcake recipe forever I imagine.


Well you can make them simple and unadorned as Nigella declares she does; or you could dress them up as I did here. I have to say that I think I might have an inner cake decorator itching to get out. Although I don't claim to be great at it, I think with royal icing there's a great amount of pride to be gained for very little effort. These can't fail to impress and give you a very, very good feeling about your perhaps limited cake-decorator skills.

Overall pleasure level:
Huge bang for your buck here. Store cupboard ingredients (not including the frozen royal icing - I'll have to buy it next time) and if you have christmas decorations to hand, as I somehow do even though I don't recall buying them, this version of Nigella's cupcakes makes for a very happy baking experience.