I’m ready for Christmas right now. Mother cooked a Christmas pudding last week and filled the house with delicious Christmassy smells. As Christmas draws close, I find it impossible to walk past a bowl full of alcohol soaked sultanas without sneaking a few into my mouth. Sultanas are usually such sad, puckered little things that I’m not too fussed about. Come Christmas, though, I can’t resist their alcohol-bloated siren song.
Sultanas have nothing to do with this post, I just really enjoyed sneaking them out of the mixture! I’m not ready to make full-blown Christmas related recipes thought, it’s still too early, so I’ve made these delightful little cupcakes, which are perfectly festive, but a little understated as well.
The icing is subtly flavoured with chai spices, which lends a warmth to the icing which is quite lovely. Paired with the sweetness of the chocolate, the chai icing makes for a more mature cupcake…if such a thing exists!
These cupcakes would make a perfect Christmas dessert for people who don’t want to over-do it on Christmas day. My family goes all out on Christmas day, but if you want something a little understated, that still smells gorgeously of Christmas, make these. I also love the natural, understated Christmas vibe of the tea towel that I used in this photo shoot – it’s a Christmas wreath! Dandi have a whole collection of beautiful tea towels and baking paraphernalia which I’m slightly in love with – check them out here.
- 100g butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarb
- 1 cup cocoa
- ½ cup strong coffee
- ½ cup milk
- 2 chai tea bags (I used Twinings)
- ¼ cup milk
- 2.5 cups icing sugar
- 90g butter
Preheat your oven to 180°C and grease your cupcake tin. Or use cupcake cases like I did, they’re easier!
Beat your butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Brew your coffee now – you’ll need half a cup of water and I mixed this with 1 tsp of instant coffee, but you can make it stronger if you’re a coffee lover. Set the coffee to one side. Add in the eggs, one at a time and mix thoroughly. Add the plain flour and bicarb soda into the mixture, followed by the cocoa. The mixture should be pretty dry by now, so add in the coffee and then the milk to thin it out.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake tin or cases and then pop them in the oven for 18-20 minutes. They’ll be done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow them to cool on a cooling rack completely before you ice them.
While the cupcakes are cooling, pour your milk into a microwave-safe container and heat it for about a minute, so that it starts to boil. Grab your tea bags and dunk them into the piping hot milk, then leave that to steep for a few minutes. The smell will be absolutely gorgeous, but restrain yourself from drinking it, the icing needs it! While the milky tea brews, mix together half of your icing sugar and all of the butter.
Pipe onto your cupcakes in whatever fashion takes your fancy. If you want to add a little finishing spice onto your cupcakes (like I did), simply mix 1tbsp of vanillin sugar with ½ tbsp of cinnamon and sprinkle liberally over the iced creations.
Enjoy with a lovely hot cuppa…and make sure you share them!