So when I logged into E bay today I was more then a little scared when I was informed about the fact that there are 33!! Yes count them, 33 days till Christmas...... For most people Christmas preparations are getting the presents bought and wrapped but for me the Pre-Christmas build up is about getting the food right and seen as it is Christmas that's coming up, I felt I needed a Christmas cupcake in my repertoire. I don't think its just me, I think for a lot of people after a huge Turkey dinner, a dense and stodgy pudding is just tooo much and renders me unconscious and unable to leave the sofa for about three days... These cupcakes could happily be used as a desert but seen as I have someone at my table that cannot eat flour, Im having to re stratergise and I think that I will be using them with the girls on Christmas eve as a little party snack with a glass of something delicious... It seems to be the creme fraiche icing with all its freshly zested clemantines that gives these cupcakes the kick they need and evokes that wonderful yule- aroma.
Recipe makes 12 generous (and who would want anything other) cupcakes...
For the cupcake batter:
- 3 medium eggs
- 45g caster sugar
- 70ml extra light olive oil (good quality)
- 30ml water
- 1 generous tablespoon of runny honey
- 110g muscovado sugar
- 75g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 50g ground almonds
- 1 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- zest of 2 clementines
- 30ml clementine juice
For the icing and decoration
- 200ml of creme fraiche (I use the weight watchers version but some bakers may say this is a sin..)
- 6 tbl sp icing sugar
- zest of 1 clementine
- few tablespoons of chopped nuts
- Start by warming the oven to 180°c. Line a 12 hole, deep muffin style tray with paper cases or greeseproof squares
- Whisk up the egg whites so that they start to form fluffy peaks but are not firm. They need some bounce to them. Add the caster sugar in thirds and keep mixing for a minute or so. We still dont want stiff peaks, If the eggs are too firmly whisked they have nowhere to expand and this is one of the reasons a cake can fall back in on itself during cooling.
- In a seperate bowl combine the egg yolks with the olive oil, water, clementine juice, honey and muscavado sugar. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, bicarb and spices) and then gently mix in the zest and ground almonds.
- Fold in the egg whites, a third at a time gently until barely combined. Don't mess with it to much, we want to keep all that lovely air in.
- Decant the mixture between your 12 cases and bake on the middle shelf, center of the oven for around 20 minutes depending on your oven. I check every 2 minutes after the 20 mark, just by prodding a skewer into the center of your sponge. If the skewer comes away dry, your cupcake is cooked.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then onto a wire rack until cold. DONT try to ice them whilst there still hot. This is a very loose icing and it will just melt and run off. Patience is sometimes a virtue.
- For the icing, combine the creme fraiche in a bowl with the sieved icing sugar and 1/2 the clementine zest. Chill in the fridge, covered for at least half and hour, by then your cupcakes should be cooled through.
- To decorate simply spoon a generous dollop of the icing on the top, followed by a fresh grating of the remaining clementine zest and a scattering of mixed nuts.
These candles perfectly say just how these cupcakes make me feel....