Christmas cupcakes with snow meringue icing
Lighter than a proper Christmas cake, but just as fruity and alcohol-sodden. Don’t be put off by the amount of ingredients, you can always swap the nuts or dried fruit for others you prefer – cherries, dates, and almonds all work well in this recipe.
Ingredients (for 12-15 cakes)
80g sultanas or raisins
120g candied peel
4 tbsp brandy (or other Christmassy booze – I used half ordinary brandy and half Kirsch)
4 medium eggs
100g dark brown sugar – preferably Muscovado
200g carrots – finely grated
2 unwaxed lemons – zest of
100g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
60g pecans, roughly chopped
For the meringue icing
170g icing sugar
2tbsp water (or 2tbsp of brandy)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
White of 1 egg
 Soak the sultanas and candied peel in the brandy, and set to one side.
 Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with paper cases.
 Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 3 minutes until light cappuccino coloured and fluffy. Add the finely grated carrot and lemon zest and whisk until combined.
 With a large metal spoon, fold in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg until you can no longer see any white specks of flour. Finally, add the soaked sultanas, candied peel and any brandy left in the bowl and mix.
 Spoon the mixture in to the cases, filling them four fifths of the way up. Place in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.
 Once the cakes have cooled, it’s time to make the Snow Meringue Icing.
 Place all of the ingredients in a metal bowl over a pan over boiling water, ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan. Stir with a metal spoon for 2 minutes to dissolve the icing sugar.
 Remove from the heat and whisk (with an electric whisker) for 9 minutes. The mixture is ready to use when it’s standing up like snow-covered mountain peaks.
 Pipe, or spoon the icing on to the cakes in your preferred style and adorn with silver balls, snowflakes or glitter.