So, once again it’s Christmastime. And, once again, the tradition of the edible gifts has begun. There is nothing about Christmas I love the more than giving gifts of food. In fact, the tradition of giving gifts around this time is very ancient and has its roots on Pagan festivals where the farmers gathered to celebrate the ending of the Winter (with the Winter solstice being the shortest day of the year, the days began, once more, to get longer) and they would swap the food they had preserved to use during the winter months.
Then, there is the cookie swap tradition which also has its roots on ancient Pagan festivals. In Scandinavia, the people who were too poor to offer animal sacrifices to the gods, would offer them animal-shaped biscuits instead.
This year, one of the stars of my edible gifts hamper were these delicious chocolate cupcakes by, who else? Nigella…
Nigella’s Christmas chocolate cupcakes
- 125g soft unsalted butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 100g plain flour
- 25g cocoa
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp baking powderfood
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp full-fat milk
For the decoration
- ½ x 500g packet of instant royal icing
- Christmassy sprinkles
- Red and green ready-made roll-out fondant icing or sugarpaste (optional)
- Seasonal sugar decorations (optional)
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
With an electric mixer, mix the eggs and the sugar to ribbon stage. Add the dry ingredients, sifted, and then the melted butter.
Bake at 180ºC for around 10 or 15 minutes.
You can freeze them, without the decoration as soon as you’ve made them.
For the icing:
Mix some icing sugar into some boiling water and add some lemon juice.
It has to be pretty thick for it to run smoothly yet stay on the cupcakes.