Temperatures are dropping, frosty sheens are crystallising everything within reach, and the only way to hold on to your marbles is with Eggless Christmas Cupcakes.

A reader took the time to email me a couple of months ago with a request for eggless Christmas cake. The ever popular fruit cake around Christmastime is imperative, so why should non-egg eaters miss out on the goodies? The festive flavours of mixed fruits, nuts and spices fill the house with the most comforting seasonal aroma whilst these pretty cupcakes bake. Simply irresistible.

I wanted to create a small twist on conventional Christmas cake by making easy to serve cupcakes, but keeping the flavours traditional and reminiscent of the season was also a must. These little bites of Christmas have been iced with marzipan and white icing in the usual fashion. And although they have been loaded with dried fruits, nuts and spices, I’ve purposely kept them light and not too overpowering or dense.

If you’re taking pictures at 4pm in the UK, you may as well be taking them at 4am. Either way, there’s no natural light. I’m so bitter.
 

You can decorate your cakes however you like with your favourite Christmassy patterns. I kept mine really simple with a holly pattern (and a random Christmas tree- I forget why) made from white icing coloured with green and red gel food colours (I used Wilton), a shower of icing sugar and edible glitter. You can go as elaborate as you like- just be sure to email me pictures to drool over.

 

I haven’t used alcohol in my recipe given the majority audience of this blog. However, if you would like to spike your cakes with a little tipple I suggest using 5-10ml of amaretto (e.g. Disaronno) or any other almond liqueur. You could also use brandy or bourbon. Simply make a dozen holes in the top of your cake with a cocktail stick and pour over the liqueur. Allow this to soak in for a couple of hours before icing and eating.

So, instead of serving up a huge and rich Christmas cake this year (while pondering how much will be leftover), why not bake a batch or two of these light and spicy individual Eggless Christmas Cupcakes? You don’t even need to take the time to decorate them; try serving warm with custard for the ideal December dessert.

Eggless Christmas Cupcakes
Makes 18-20

Ingredients

450g self raising flour + 50g plain flour
350g mixed dried fruits (I used a mixture of dates, apricots, prunes, cranberries, raisins, sultanas and cherries)
320g dark brown sugar (such as muscavado)
250ml sparkling water
80g chopped pecans
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp ground mixed spice (cloves, nutmeg, coriander seed powder)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp cornflour
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
50ml lemon juice
60ml orange juice
2 tsp natural yogurt
1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp sunflower oil

To decorate:
250g marzipan
250g white icing (ready to roll)
Golden syrup (or dark corn syrup) to brush on the cakes and stick the decorations on
Red and green food colours
Icing sugar to dust
Edible glitter

Method

1. Mix together the dried fruits (chop up any large pieces) and chopped pecans with 50g plain flour. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl sift together the self raising flour, baking powder, baking soda, mixed spice, cinnamon and cornflour. Sift again then gently fold in the ground almonds, lemon and orange zest.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, yogurt, apple cider vinegar and oil.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the sifted flour mixture and add the sparkling water. Whisk and then fold in the flour-dusted fruits and nuts. Be careful not to overwork the cake batter.

5. Spoon the mixture into a lined cupcake tray. Bake at 160 degrees C for around 20 minutes or until a skewer poked through the centre comes out clean. Don’t open the oven door for the first 15 minutes of baking.

6. Allow to cool.

7. Brush with warm golden syrup and first stick on thin discs of marzipan (I rolled my marzipan with a rolling pin, dusting with icing sugar, and used a wine glass to cut to size but you could also use a cookie cutter or just freehand it).

8. Brush the marzipan with more golden syrup and repeat for the icing. If you don’t want it to be too sweet, roll the icing thinner.

9. Colour your white icing with your food colours and roll the red into little berry-sized balls and roll the green, then cut into holly shapes. Dust with a flurry of icing sugar and edible glitter.

Since this is the season to eat, drink and be merry, I’ve decided that in the run up to Christmas I will post recipes for my favourite seasonal desserts and drinks- they make the best fire-side companions during the chilly period.

P.S.
I’d love to see which edible gifts you’re sending out to your friends and family this year. Email me at: sanju(underscore)modha(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk and I’ll post your image up in time for Christmas. Also, I’m just gonna put this out there if anyone is interested in sending me an edible gift for Christmas… please? Anyone? No?

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