MINCE PIE CUPCAKES

  
I think the real milestone that every person will experience in life is the moment their youth ends and the scary prospect of being an adult begins.When you actually take time to choose a bottle of wine instead of opting for the cheapest (it was lambrini in my case). Also when you’re relieved to hear that your friend has cancelled plans so you get to stay in and consume said wine.

Then the main milestone, the December when you go from hating a mince pie as a child to tasting one and thinking ‘there’s brandy in this, I like it’ and then continuing to inhale a box a day thereafter.

I make mince pies every year so I wanted to be a little innovative. I saw a concept of making a cupcake with a pie theme which was pumpkin pie cupcakes. So being the patriotic old Brit that I am I wanted to create a British version; none other than the Mince Pie Cupcake. And let me tell you now, these cakes are festive numbers that will blow your socks off. 
A buttery shortcrust pastry base nestled underneath a Beautifully spiced all butter sponge, a hidden surprise centre of luxury brandy laced mincemeat, topped off with a silky festive buttercream and cute little pastry leaves.

It sounds like a lot but each component of this cake brings something to the table. The crisp short pastry and tart mince combined with the soft cake and smooth cream – it’s a party in your mouth. But one of those luxuriously exclusive parties where everyone’s draped over a Chaise lounge elegantly whilst sipping a martini.

The yield for this recipe is 12 cupcakes but for the festive period I’m sure you’ll need more than that for a party so feel free to double all measurements to make 24-26.

Ingredients

For the Pastry:

  • 125g cold diced butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 90g caster sugar 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • Zest of 1 orange

For the Cake:

  • 175g butter or margerine
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 75g light soft brown sugar
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tspn mixed spice 
  • Pinch of crushed sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk 
  • 12 tspn sweet mincemeat

For the Buttercream:

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 3 heaped tablespoons M&S Christmas Cake Curd
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Method

Making the pastry:

  1. Preheat your oven to 18oc/gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases of your choice and a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. To make the pastry rub the cold cubed butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then stir in the sugar, zest and salt, and combine to a dough with the egg, however do not overwork it! Once the dough has come together, roll into a ball and wrap in cling film. Then put the dough in the fridge for half an hour to rest up and relax.  
  3. Once the half hour is up roll out your dough on a floured surface and cut out 12 circles with a round cutter slightly bigger than your cupcake cases – just incase they shrink. Also, using your circle cutter, cut out 24 leaf shapes and use a knife to make leafy impressions that will bake into the pastry as it bakes. Place all circles and leaves onto your lined baking tray and egg wash the leaves but not the circles as this will cause them to puff.   
  4. Bake in the centre of your oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown on top. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes
  5. Now put each of the discs into your lined cupcake tin.

Making the cake:

  1. Using a stand or hand held mixer, in a large bowl beat together the butter, both sugars, eggs, flour, baking powder, orange zest and spices for about 2 minutes until the mix is smooth and you can see the air bubbles popping. 
  2. Spoon your mixture into your cupcake tin with the discs at the bottom until each one is 3/4 of the way full. 
  3. Bake in your preheated oven for 20-22 minutes or until you can push them with your finger and the sponge just springs back naturally.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Making the Buttercream:

  1. While your cakes are cooling, in a large bowl and using your electric mixer, whip up your softened butter until it looks paler in colour and a lot smoother in consistency.
  2. Add your icing sugar in two stages, mixing well between each addition.
  3. Add in your Christmas cake curd and milk and whisk for roughly  30 seconds until well combined and fluffy. 
  4. Before piping your cream, make a small hole in each of your cakes using a small knife or spoon and spoon in a teaspoon of mincemeat.    
  5. Now pipe your cream using a piping bag and a nozzle of your choice, and decorate with your pastry leaves.
  6. Dust with icing sugar, for presentation purposes of course. 
  7. Eat them. Eat them all.   

So please give them a go! Bake them, upload your pictures on Instagram/Twitter and tag me! Let me know how this recipe worked for you! 

Instagram/Twitter – @soph__austin

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