Monthly Archives: November 2013

Christmas cupcakes

I have already posted a recipe for cupcakes here and here. This time, I show you how to make them look stunning for the festive season. For these, I have used 2 types of buttercream: one with butter and custard and the other with Philadephia and icing sugar. The latter is good for paler frosting (or white) as the amount of butter is minimal so it won’t have a yellow tint like the buttercream icing.





Chocolate cupcakes

For 12 to 15 cupcakes

200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 beaten eggs
200g self raising flour, sieved
50g unsweetened cocoa powder, sieved

Custard buttercream recipe here

Philadelphia frosting
70g softened butter
200g Philadelphia, chilled and drained
400g icing sugar



  1. To make the cupcakes:
    1. Preheat the oven at 180C
    2. Whisk butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (Thermomix: use the butterfly whisk and mix 2 min/speed 3).
    3. Slowly add the beaten eggs (Thermomix speed 3).
    4. On low speed, add the self raising flour and cocoa powder (Thermomix: remove the butterfly whisk and mix 20sec/speed 3).
    5. Line muffin tray with cases and spoon the mixture into each until 2/3 full.
    6. Bake for 15 min for small cupcakes or 25 min for large ones.
    7. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then transfer onto a cool rack and wait until they are completely cold before icing.
  2. To make the frosting:
    1. Beat the butter until very soft (Thermomix 2 min/speed 3).
    2. Add the very cold Philadelphia and beat until combined (don’t overbeat or the Philadelphia will become more liquid) (Thermomix 30 sec/speed 3).
    3. Add half the icing sugar and beat together (Thermomix 5 sec/speed 3).
    4. Add the other half and mix again (5 sec/speed 3).
    5. Add colouring/flavouring if using and place in piping bag.
  3. To make the Santas: use a round nozzle (about 1cm wide) and pipe red custard buttercream in a circle starting from the edges of the cupcake. Sprinkle with red glitter. Pipe some whipped cream to make the fur around the coat. Use a sugar Santa head to place on top and 2 chocolate drops for the buttons.
  4. To make the Christmas trees: scoop out a little circle of the cupcake on top. Use a star shaped nozzle and pipe some green custard buttercream at the center. Place a strawberry on top of the icing and pipe more green buttercream starting from the base of the strawberry and piping outward to make each branch. Finish by making the top vertical branch and decorate with little coloured sugar sprinkles or spheres.XmasCupcakes_001 XmasCupcakes_002
  5. To make the icy looking cupcakes: use the Philadelphia frosting and colour with baby blue colour. Use a 2D nozzle (or any star nozzle) and pipe starting from the edge of the cupcake, swirling inward. Use cutters to make the shapes with rolling icing.


Cranberry and red onion relish

Another great idea for Christmas pressies, this relish is absolutely delish! It would go well with turkey and ham of course but is equally as good with cheese or paté.


Source: 400 sauces recipe book


Makes about 900g

450g red onions, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
225g brown sugar
450g fresh or frozen cranberries
120ml red wine vinegar
120ml red wine
1 tbsp mustard seeds
½ tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp orange liqueur or Port
Salt and ground black pepper


  1. Halve and thinly slice the red onions. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions. Cook gently for 15 minutes, stirring often until softened.
  2. Add 2 tbsp of the sugar and cook for 5 minutes until caramelized.
  3. Meanwhile, put the cranberries in the Thermomx with the remaining sugar, the vinegar, red wine, mustard seeds and ginger. Cook for 20 min/100C/speed 1 or until the berries have burst and are tender.
  4. Stir in the onions and cook 10 min/Varoma/speed spoon, Reverse blade direction and Measuring cup OFF (add internal basket over the lid to avoid projections) until it is well reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Transfer the relish to warmed sterilised jars*. Spoon a little of the liqueur/Port over the top of each then cover and seal.
  6. Store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Store in the fridge once opened and use within 1 month.

*To sterilise jars, place them with their lids in an oven preheated at 150C for 10 minutes. Pour the hot content while they’re hot.





Hot Choc lollies

Here is a great idea for a Christmas present that I found in my friend Nadine’s blog: Nuage de farine. These lollies are very pretty and would make a chocoholic friend very happy indeed!


Source: Nuage de farine

For 20 lollies

450g dark chocolate
45g sugar
Flavour of your choice: cinnamon, vanilla extract, chilli powder…


  1. Melt the chocolate, sugar and spice in the TM bowl 3 min/50C/speed 3.
  2. Mix 3 min/speed 2 until smooth and the chocolate has reached 32C (stop the blades and remove lid before measuring the temperature with a probe).
  3. Pour into mini silicone moulds (about 2.5cl capacity).
  4. Leave to set in the fridge for 7 min and place wooden sticks in the middle of each mould (the chocolate needs to be slightly set but soft enough to easily dig the sticks).
  5. Let set completely in the fridge, unmould the lollies, wrap them in cellophane and tie with a ribbon if offering.
  6. Add following instructions with the lollies: melt 1 lolly in a mug of hot milk and enjoy!
  7. Note: the mini chocolate bars pictured above were made using only dark chocolate, melted the same way in the Thermomix and poured over a silicone mould, which I had previously sprinkled with dessicated coconuts…HotChocLollies_002


Chocolate butterflies

This is not really a recipe but an idea of decoration or Christmas present. I got these polycarbonate chocolate moulds and I used them to make lovely butterflies that look really nice on a cake. You can also offer them beautifully wrapped in a cellophane bag.

ChocButterfly_002 ChocButterfly_003

(For 5 butterflies as per mould pictured)

Candy melts (choose several pastel colours, 3 candy melt chips per colour)
250g dark chocolate


  1. Temper the chocolate: melt it to 50-55C, then bring down the temperature to 28C (either by adding unmelted chocolate or pouring it out onto a marble slab). Reheat the chocolate gently to 31-32C and keep at that temperature until use. For the Thermomix method of tempering chocolate, go here and follow steps 7 to 9.
  2. Melt a small amount of candy melts in several containers (1 per colour) in the microwave in 30sec bursts.
  3. Using a toothpick, fill the depressions in the mould with the candy melts, alternating colours. Try to do 1 butterfly at a time and fill with the tempered chocolate straight away while the candy melt is still soft. If the melts cool before the chocolate is poured in, they will split from the chocolate when unmoulding.
  4. Leave to set in a cool place (8 to 10C) for 10 to 15 min.
  5. When completely set, free the chocolate butterflies.