Delicious cupcakes that are soft and moist transformed into seasonal Christmas trees. They are a whole lot of fun to make and you could go to town on the tree decorations. Here I chose to show a little restraint as I made them for a Charity cake sale.
Chocolate & Cranberry Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
- 175g plain flour
- 50g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 50g unsalted butter, melted
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 225ml buttermilk
- 100g dried cranberries
- 100g white chocolate chips
- 100g dark chocolate chips
For the Frosting
- 180g unsalted butter, softened
- 360g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Green food colouring gel
- Plus 16 Maltesers
- Silver cake decorating pearls
- Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan. Line one 12 hole-muffin tin and one 6 hole-muffin tin with paper cases.
- For the cupcakes, sift into a bowl the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until soft and creamy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla essence.
- Stir in half of the flour mixture then beat in the buttermilk followed by the remaining flour mixture.
- Gently stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. The cakes should be well risen and feel firm to the touch.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- To make the buttercream frosting, place the butter, icing sugar, vanilla essence and about a ¼ tsp of the green food colouring into the bowl of a stand mixer or use a large bowl and an electric hand whisk, and gently mix everything together until combined. At this stage you may want to add a little more green food colour to make it the right shade for a pine tree. Turn up the speed and beat until light and fluffy.
- Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Place a dot of the frosting into the centre of each cake and top with a Malteser. Pipe around and up the chocolates to make a tree shape and decorate with the silver pearls.