This tasty Christmas cupcakes recipe is packed with fruit and nuts and flavoured with brandy or orange juice. The little fruit cakes are moist and full of flavour. A quick-bake alternative to traditional Christmas cake, they will make tasty gifts. If you have kids, they will enjoy decorating them too!
For more easy to make recipes ideas that will have everyone – including Rudolph the Reindeer asking for more, you could try our simple marzipan mince pies recipe or our best chocolate cupcakes recipe.
The recipe will make approximately 18 muffin tin sized cupcakes. For a more festive look you can use Christmas themed cupcake cases and decorations.
You will need:
For the Christmas cupcakes
- 200g of dark muscovado sugar
- 175g of butter chopped in small pieces
- 700g of ready mixed dried fruits (or mix your own with raisins, currents, mixed peel and other fruit)
- 50g of glacé cherries
- Zest of 1 orange
- 125ml of brandy or orange juice
- 85g/3oz pecan nuts, roughly chopped
- 3 large eggs – beaten
- 85g of ground almonds
- 200g of plain flour
- ½ tsp of backing powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp of ginger
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
For the topping
- 400g of marzipan – you can use the ready rolled variety if you like
- 4 tbsp warm apricot jam – heated
- 500g pack fondant icing sugar
For the cupcakes
- Pre-heat the oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2, and line two muffin trays with paper cases
- Put the sugar, butter, dried fruit, whole cherries, ginger and orange zest into a large saucepan. Pour over the brandy or orange juice, and simmer on the hob for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
- Stir the nuts, beaten eggs and ground almonds into the fruit. Add the flour, baking powder and spices and sir gently until the batter is thoroughly mixed.
- Scoop mixture into the deep muffin cases until three quarters full and level the tops with a spoon. Bake in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes until golden and just firm to touch. Remove your Christmas cupcakes from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
For the topping
- When your cupcakes are cold, roll out the marzipan and stamp one disc for each cake – each round should be about 6cm in diameter. Brush the cake tops with heated apricot jam, top with a marzipan disc and press down gently.
- Make the fondant icing and spread it on top of each cupcake. Decorate with sugar sprinkles – or whatever takes your fancy and leave to set. Your Christmas cupcakes will keep in a tin or airtight container for 3 weeks.
Please note: If you want to bake in advance, you can freeze your Christmas cupcakes without the icing.