Eggless Christmas Cupcakes

• Self raising flour – 450g + Plain flour – 50g 
• Mixed dried fruits (I used a mixture of dates, apricots, prunes, cranberries, raisins, sultanas and cherries) – 350g 
• Dark brown sugar (such as muscavado) – 320g 
• Sparkling water – 250ml 
• Chopped pecans – 80g 
• Ground almonds – 100g 
• Baking soda – 1 tsp
• Baking powder – 2 tsp 
• Ground mixed spice (cloves, nutmeg, coriander seed powder) – 3 tsp 
• Ground cinnamon – 2 tsp 
• Cornflour – 2 tsp 
• Zest of 1 lemon
• Zest of 1 orange
• Lemon juice – 50ml 
• Orange juice – 60ml 
• Natural yogurt – 2 tsp 
• Apple cider vinegar – 1 ½ tsp 
• Sunflower oil – 2 tbsp
To decorate:
• Marzipan – 250g 
• White icing (ready to roll) – 250g 
• Golden syrup (or dark corn syrup) to brush on the cakes and stick the decorations on
• Red and green food colours
• Icing sugar to dust
• Edible glitter
1. Mix together the dried fruits (chop up any large pieces) and chopped pecans with 50g plain flour. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl sift together the self raising flour, baking powder, baking soda, mixed spice, cinnamon and cornflour. Sift again then gently fold in the ground almonds, lemon and orange zest.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, yogurt, apple cider vinegar and oil.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the sifted flour mixture and add the sparkling water. Whisk and then fold in the flour-dusted fruits and nuts. Be careful not to overwork the cake batter.
5. Spoon the mixture into a lined cupcake tray. Bake at 160 degrees C for around 20 minutes or until a skewer poked through the centre comes out clean. Don’t open the oven door for the first 15 minutes of baking.
6. Allow to cool.
7. Brush with warm golden syrup and first stick on thin discs of marzipan (I rolled my marzipan with a rolling pin, dusting with icing sugar, and used a wine glass to cut to size but you could also use a cookie cutter or just freehand it).
8. Brush the marzipan with more golden syrup and repeat for the icing. If you don’t want it to be too sweet, roll the icing thinner.
9. Colour your white icing with your food colours and roll the red into little berry-sized balls and roll the green, then cut into holly shapes. Dust with a flurry of icing sugar and edible glitter.
By Kurma