Saturday 3 December 2016

There’s nothing quite like a festive bake, with a deliciously flavoured cake topped with bright Christmas themed icing. This year I thought I’d make a Christmas tree inspired giant cupcake. This cake is the result of my over excitement in Lakeland at all of the themed Christmas cake decorations, lots of green, red and glitter. What else could you ask for in a cake? If I’ve peaked your interest and you want to know how to make my Christmas tree giant cupcake then check out the recipe below.

340g Plain Flour
375g Caster Sugar
100g Good Quality Cocoa Powder (don’t use drinking chocolate)
3 Large Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
450ml Oil (I use vegetable oil)
½ Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
½ Tsp Salt
For The Icing:
500g Unsalted butter
1kg Icing Sugar or Confectioners Sugar
1-2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
To decorate: 
Round Sweets (to use as baubles)
Green Food Colouring
Silver Modelling Paste
Optional edible lustre

This recipe is very much like the basics of a muffin mix, you will need two mixing bowls, one that can hold all of your dry ingredients and a larger bowl for both wet and dry. 
Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 and line your giant cupcake case with butter and flour.
Start by sifting all of your dry ingredients into the smaller of the two bowls then taking a whisk, mix through your ingredients to ensure they are evenly combined. Your mix should be a pale chocolate colour. 
In your other bowl add all of your wet ingredients and using your whisk, mix until combined. Don’t worry about the lumpy yellow mix, the end result is delicious. Once you separately mixed your wet and dry ingredients, you want to combine them in the larger of the bowls where you mixed your wet ingredients. Taking your whisk, stir mix until well combined.
Pour mix into your cupcake mould and bake in the oven for about an hour and 10 minutes or until cake is springy to the touch. Take out the oven and leave to cool in the mould for 30 minutes to allow the sponge to firm. If you try to take it out of the mould at this point, the soft sponge will crumble. Once firm, turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool through.
In the meantime make your buttercream. Start by beating the butter until fluffy and pale. Once fluffy, gradually add in your icing sugar to get beautiful butter cream. I like to wait until I add my last batch of icing sugar to add in my vanilla but this can be added at any point. If your icing becomes too stiff to work with add 2-3 tbsp whole milk so you have perfectly pipeable buttercream. As this is the icing for our Christmas tree, I also added in a little green icing gel and beat the icing until evenly covered.
Now for the fun part, decorating. You can decorate any way you like but I like to keep it simple. I left the bottom half of my cupcake bear as the chocolate cake resembled the tree trunk with the cupcake grooves acting like the markings on bark. I then piped rosettes all over the top half of the cake and filled the cake using the same buttercream ( I filled the cake with buttercream prior to colouring green). To turn our tree cake into a Christmas tree I cut a silver star using a little silver modelling paste and pierced with a small piece of florists wire which I then stuck into the top of the cake, every Christmas tree needs a star. I then got red crispy m&m’s and scattered these among the piped swirls to act as baubles. I also made little striped candy canes using some coloured fondant I had left from a previous bake. This is where I stopped decorating my tree but you could go into full on Christmas mode with different coloured baubles, ribbon and tinsel. To finish and give my cake some Christmas sparkle I sprayed the cake with edible lustre.

Happy Baking.


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