My love of baking originally started with cakes, and cupcakes in particular (oh, you little lumps of sugar/heaven, get in my face). At Christmas parties for the last few years, it’s been my unofficial job to supply the cakes. Last year was chocolate cakes with chocolate orange buttercream, and vanilla sponge with white chocolate buttercream adorned with little snowmen, and I thought they went pretty quickly. This years contribution broke all records though, with all of the cakes disappearing in about five minutes flat! After making the mulled wine jam, I decided to create something that would work with those flavours, and so the winter spice/ginger cupcakes with mulled wine frosting/buttercream came about.
Normally I use Hummingbird Bakery’s recipes for my cakes, but I decided to make my own. I still used their method (an example of which can be found here:) starting with their standard vanilla cupcake recipe as a basis but then went from there. For this I used the mulled wine, plum and blackberry jam that you can see the recipe for here, but if you don’t have time for that you can omit it or replace with a different jam, or maybe even marmalade!
My first attempt at these saw me add wayyyyy too much ginger/nutmeg/cinnamon, to the extent it made me cough when I ate it. Oops! Don’t be afraid to experiment though, you can always make more! My main oven is also broken (disaster!) and my cupcake tray wouldn’t fit in my emergency mini oven, so I resorted to silicone cupcake cases on a baking tray, which worked surprisingly well.
You will need:
For the cakes:
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
100ml orange juice (with bits)
20ml whole milk
One large egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
One jar mulled wine/plum/blackberry jam (or any other jam you like)
For the frosting:
250g icing sugar
80g butter (room temperature)
20ml mulled wine
Teaspoon mulled wine jam/replacement jam.
1) Pre-heat oven to 170c/325f.
2)Sieve the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl, with the butter. Mix on a slow speed until everything is combined and is a sandy consistency.
3)Gradually pour in half of the orange juice/milk , and beat until it is just combined.
4)Whisk the egg and remaining orange juice and milk briefly. Pour it into the flour mixture and contunue beating until just incorporated, being sure to scrape in any unmixed ingredients! Keep mixing until smooth.
5) Divide the mixture between the cases, this normally makes 12 cupcakes, fill them two thirds of the way.
6) Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until they spring back when touched and have turned a light golden. These smell amazing due to the spices!
7)Allow to cool, then using a sharp knife remove a small section of the cake. Keep in a bowl to one side. Spoon in a small amount of the jam, then replace the bit you cut out.
8) Make the frosting/buttercream! In a large bowl, sieve the icing sugar into the butter. I usually cover the bowl with a tea towel for this bit else the sugar goes *everywhere*. Mix on a slow speed until sandy. Slowly add the mulled wine a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the mulled wine has been incorporated, add the jam. Mix on high speed until light and fluffy. If the mixture is too runny, add a little extra icing sugar.
9) Ice the cakes! Don’t worry if you don’t have a piping bag, I used to spoon the icing on then swirl it around with a teaspoon. I then added red and green edible Magic Sparkles for a festive touch but feel free to decorate as you see fit! The cases had little snowmen on too.
Let me know what you think!