However I'm a little bit annoyed. Not so annoyed that my festive cheer has dimmed, oh no, but just slightly. I made these cupcakes yesterday, took a couple of snaps on my iPhone, then whacked out my snazzy camera to take a load of pics should the cupcakes be considered blogworthy. (And they totally are. You need to make these.)
9/01/14 Update: I'm now back in Germany and have added a few better photos. Enjoy!
The lightly-spiced sponge tastes like Christmas in itself (and is delightfully moist thanks to the addition of the yoghurt), but combined with the cheeky, juicy, moist mincemeat in the middle and the sweet, spicy, cinnamon-vanilla icing, it really is a festive flavour explosion in your mouth. Using muscovado sugar also adds a lovely depth to the flavour, if you ask me.
How much mixed spice you add is totally up to you and how strong a flavour you fancy - I went for two teaspoons as I'm pretty spicy and exciting like that.
Yes, I realise it's Christmas Eve and the chances are you're off to church/have all your family over/are in a mulled wine induced heap on the floor, and thus you probably won't have time to make these in time for the big day itself, but make them afterwards - the Christmas (AKA indulgent) period totally goes on until January 6th, and your mincemeat isn't going anywhere.
So, Merry Christmas to every single one of you. I am massively grateful for all the lovely comments, competition votes and general support I've had over the past year, and I wish a happy, peaceful, fun, delicious Christmas to you all.
This recipe makes nine cupcakes... Get baking!
Ingredients - Cake:
150g self-raising flour
1-2tsp mixed spice
120g butter, softened
120g soft light brown muscovado sugar
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
9 tsp mincemeat
85g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
375g icing sugar
silver balls to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line your muffin tin with paper cases. Sift the flour and mixed spice into a medium-sized bowl.
2. In a separate larger bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a handheld electric whisk for 3–5 minutes until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between.
3. Beat in a third of the flour mix. Add half the yoghurt and beat well. Then mix in another third of the flour. Add the remaining yoghurt and finally the last third of the flour mixture, beating well between each addition.
4. Fill each paper case about halfway with the cake mix.
Spoon a rounded teaspoon of mincemeat over the mixture...
... and cover with another spoonful or so of the cake mix.
Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for about ten minutes before transfering to a wire rack to cool fully.
5. To make the icing, beat the butter, milk and vanilla together - to avoid splashing everywhere, it's best to start with a spoon, then change to an electric whisk to make light and fluffy. Sieve in the cinnamon and icing sugar about a third at a time, beating well in between each addition. Beat and beat and beat and beat. And keep beating. The longer you beat, the fluffier your icing will be. If it seems a little runny, pop into the fridge for 15-30 minutes or so and then rebeat briefly.
6. When the cupcakes are fully cooled, it's time to ice them! Dollop a large spoonful of icing on to each cake, and spread evenly with the back of the spoon. Dot on a few silver balls and share with your friends and family, spreading Christmas joy as you go.