pretty pretty - in the book these look utterly gorgeous, with green holly leaves made out of icing, and two or three cranberries as the berries. I'm going out to buy a holly leaf cutter with veining stamp *right now*.
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
pinch of salt
100g soft unsalted butter
160g dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
125ml boiling water
75g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon instant coffee
250g instant royal icing
1 packet green ready-to-roll icing
about 30 cranberries for decoration
small holly-leaf cutter with veining stamp
12-bun muffin tin and papers
preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6.
in a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, bicarb, mixed spice and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, and then beat in a third of the flour mixture followed by a tablespoon of the sour cream, repeating till all is used up.
put the water, chocolate and instant coffee in a pan and heat gently, just until the chocolate's melted. Fold this into the cake batter, but don't overbeat. The mixture will be very thin, but don't worry about that: just pour carefully into the waiting muffin cases and put in the oven for about 20 minutes, until each little cake is cooked through but still dense and damp. Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then slip out the cakes in their papers and sit on a wire rack until completely cold.
to ice them, make up the royal icing according to the packet instructions and cover the tops of the cupcakes thickly. Cut out holly leaves and sit two on each cake, and then press on your berries, perhaps putting two on some, three on others.