Christmas Cake Cupcakes

Temps des Fêtes 2011
food and drink

BY: Eshun Mott

Banish thoughts of red candied cherries from your mind. These cupcakes are really tiny perfect fruitcakes in the best sense of the word, distilled down to the essential elements, bringing back fun and flavour without all the fuss.

1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dried black figs
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped prunes
1 cup (250 mL) Madeira or port

⅔ cup (150 mL) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (250 mL) demerara sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1/2 tsp (2 mL) grated lemon rind
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour, spooned
into measuring cup and levelled off
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
1/4 tsp (1 mL) nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves

1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (60 mL) almond paste (2/1/2 oz/75 g)
4 cups (1 L) icing sugar
2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) milk

1 Combine apricots, cherries, figs, prunes and Madeira in a small pot over medium-low heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 5 minutes or until fruit is soft and plump and liquid is mostly absorbed. Scrape into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand overnight.

2 Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

3 Generously butter and flour a standard muffin tin (these cupcakes really like to stick to the pan). Reserve.

4 Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs and yolk, 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl between additions, until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla and lemon rind.

5 In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves and stir until uniform.

6 Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape reserved fruit mixture into batter and stir until incorporated.

7 Divide batter between muffin wells and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for 10 minutes, then loosen from pan with the point of a knife and let cool fully on a rack.

8 To make icing, beat butter and almond paste together with an electric mixer until almond paste is completely blended. Add icing sugar to butter mixture 1 cup (250 mL) at a time, beating well between additions. Add enough milk to make a fluffy icing.Transfer icing to a piping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Makes 12

What to Serve