What makes me so happy about these cupcakes is that the cake itself is the main attraction. It’s tasty, delicate, and just doesn’t need anything to make it delectable. However, cupcakes are often all about the icing, so there’s no reason you can’t top them with a tower of rich buttercream. You could colour it green and pile it into a tree, then top with snowy sprinkles, or those weird little silver ball bearings as baubles. Or just forget the Christmas theme and lavish it with chocolate icing. Whatever takes your fancy!
For the cupcakes:
- 95 g / ¾ cup flour
- 45 g / a bit less than ½ cup cocoa
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 200 g / 1 cup sugar
- 80 mL / 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 120 mL / ½ cup yoghurt – I used raspberry, because I had it, but plain or cherry would be lovely
- 100 g / 2/3 cup chopped sour cherries
For the icing:
- 75 g / ¾ cup icing sugar
Pre-heat oven to 180˚C / 350˚F. Butter a 12-hole muffin tin – you can use cupcake liners, but we’re going to be decorating the bottoms, so you’ll have to peel them off anyway. I found a good layer of butter and the gentle use of a knife to help them out worked just fine.
Sift or whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl lightly whisk together the eggs, sugar, and oil. Add the dry ingredients and stir to just combine (it’s going to be a runny mix). Gently fold in the cherries.
Fill the muffin tin to about halfway on each hole – we want flat tops, so not too much in each. You’ll have some left over, so you can make a second batch of anywhere between two and four, depending on the size of your pan.
Bake about 20 minutes, checking at around 18 to see how they’re doing. Cool in the tray for about 10 minutes before carefully removing them.
Once your cupcakes are completely cool, combine your icing sugar with a teeny bit of water (or you could use orange juice, or even cherry liqueur if you wanted to be fancy), adding it bit by bit until you have an icing that’s runny enough to make your drips on the side of the cakes, but thick enough that it won’t just all run off. Turn your cupcakes bottoms-up, and scoop a heaped teaspoon of icing onto the new top. Work the back of the teaspoon in gentle circles over the icing, encouraging it to spread out and run down the side here and there. You should end up with the sort of white topping you see in pictures of classic Christmas pudding, spilling a little down the sides but still showing the dark cake for the most part. Top with sugarcraft holly for instant fanciness (of course I bought them. Making sugarcraft holly is not on my list of Things To Do).
Done! Makes 16-ish, but I actually get 12 nicely sized ones (to my mind) from a half batch. You can freeze them before icing, if you want.
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