Recipe – Chocolate Orange Christmas Cupcakes

I had the day off work today, so I’ve been catching up on my festive baking. I know the second week of December is a bit late to make Christmas cake, but I’m ahead on the Christmas shopping, so that cancels out, right?

Anyway, these cakes started life as a neat idea for decorating Christmas cupcakes. I’m a terrible photographer, the picture doesn’t really do them justice, but the results were very cute. I can’t vouch for the taste, since the icing is full of booze, but my tasters seemed to like them 🙂

Here's one I made earlier
Here’s one I made earlier


For the cakes:

  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 40g unsalted butter, softened
  • 50g milk chocolate (or dark for a more intense flavour), melted
  • 1 egg
  • 75ml milk
  • zest and juice of 1 orange

For the icing:

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 4 tsp brandy
  • chopped glace cherries and angelica, to decorate


Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3. Thoroughly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

Mix the dry ingredients and rub in the butter (or pulse in a food processor, if you’ve got one). Stir in the orange zest.

Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl, then stir into the dry mixture until just combined.

Dollop into the tin and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cakes have risen a bit. Check with a skewer if you’re not sure – it should come out clean. Try not to overcook them, though, they’re nicer when they’re a bit gooey. Leave the cakes to cool completely in the tin.

To decorate, pop the cakes out of the tins and turn them upside down on a plate or board (so the wider end is at the bottom). Mix up the icing – NB the second time I made it it came out much too thick and I had to add more brandy, so my numbers may be off! – it should be liquid but not runny. Spoon a bit of icing over each cake, making sure it goes up to the edge of the top in a few places so you get nice dribbles down the edges. Decorate with a slice of glace cherry and a couple of small pieces of angelica, arranged to look like holly (I had some holly sprinkles left over from making truffles, but it’s probably not worth buying them specially!).


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