Christmas Cupcakes

 

christmas lights cupcakes

Is there any time of the year more about decoration and glitz than Christmas? So when everything from houses, trees and Christmas jumpers are adorned with lights, baubles and bells, why not also decorate some cupcakes to fit into the generally merriment?

These little chocolate cupcakes decked with Christmas lights make a wonderful addition to the Christmas fare. They look delightfully festive whilst also being a crowd pleaser; not many people can resist a delicious chocolate cupcake. The decoration is pretty effective but very easy: vanilla buttercream is piped into a smooth swirl, which is then drizzled with a ‘string’ of melted chocolate along which colourful decorations or sweets are placed to represent the twinkling lights on a tree.

Christmas Lights Cupcakes

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

christmas cupcakes, dairy-free, egg-free

makes 18

350g self-raising flour

200g caster sugar

50g cocoa powder

200ml sunflower oil

300ml oat milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 5
  2. Mix together the oat milk, lemon juice, vanilla and oil. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the bicarb to the wet ingredients and stir.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix to thoroughly combine.
  6. 2/3rds fill the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

Fluffy White Buttercream

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

enough to ice 24 cupcakes

1/4 cup vegetable fat

3/4 cup dairy-free margarine

3 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 or 2 tbsp dairy-free milk

1/2tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk together the spread and vegetable fat.
  2. Add the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time with a splash of the oat milk and the vanilla, until fully combined and nice and fluffy.
  3. Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes.
  4. Melt 20-30g chocolate, pipe a line onto the buttercream. Stud with decorations or sweets.

vegan Christmas cupcakes

Cherry and Sultana Christmas Cake

 

cherry and sultana Christmas Cake

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a cake, right? But a Christmas cake that is free-from eggs, milk and nuts is almost impossible to buy.

Fruit cakes don’t really feature on my blog since my girls have an aversion to dried fruit, mainly I think due to the fact that it was so hard to find them safe snacks when they were tiny that they ate far too many little boxes of raisins! But it’s Christmas time and fruit cake might not be popular,  but they’re so very traditional that they really do have to feature somewhere along with the other sweet treats.

This is a variation on my previous Christmas cake, just to add a bit of excitement and variety to the Christmas teatime centre piece. I think this version which is jam packed full of cherries and sultanas hits just the right note of slightly out of the ordinary. It is a lighter fruit cake variety which is more to my taste as I do find the really dark intense fruit cakes a little challenging!

You may find the method odd, and it is unusual for a cake mix but the finished cake is beautifully light whilst being loaded with dried fruit.

Try and make it as early as you can and then feed once a week with a table spoon of brandy, apple juice or perhaps Chambord blackberry liqueur as I did here for an extra fruity hit.

When it’s time to decorate, paint with a layer of warmed apricot jam and cover with a thin layer of marzipan and fondant icing. If you avoid tree nuts just leave out the marzipan, it really won’t detract from the cake at all!

I haven’t yet iced this cake, so i’ll add a photo of the finished article in the next week or so 🙂

Cherry and Sultana Christmas Cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, vegan and vegetarian)

egg-free, dairy-free Christmas cake

makes 1 12″ cake

125g glace cherries, roughly chopped

300g sultanas

50g mixed peel, chopped

100g dates, stoned and chopped

2 tbsps brandy (or apple juice)

350g plain flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

pinch of salt

70g dairy-free margarine

zest of 1 lemon

170g light Muscovado sugar

250ml dairy-free milk, warmed to hand hot temperature

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  1. Grease and line a 12″ cake tin
  2. Pour the brandy/apple juice over the dried fruit and leave to steep for at least a couple of hours, or preferably overnight
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon and mixed spice. Add the lemon zest.
  5. Rub in the dairy-free margarine
  6. Stir in the sugar, and the dried fruits
  7. Add the bicarb to the warm milk and stir until dissolved
  8. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix to form a stiff dough (it will be surprisingly stiff)christmas cake mix egg-free
  9. Turn into the lined cake tin and bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven down to gas mark 3/160 degrees Centigrade and continue to bake for a further 15-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.
  11. Keep wrapped in baking paper, in an airtight container until ready to decorate (if desired) just before Christmas
  12. For added moisture and flavour, pour 1 tbsp of apple juice or brandy onto the cake each week until ready to use.

vegan christmas cake

Unicorn birthday cake, dairy-free egg-free

The Best Chocolate Birthday/Celebration Cake (dairy, egg, soya and nut-free)

Unicorn birthday cake, dairy-free egg-free

I’ve realised that although I make multiple versions of this cake every year, I’ve never posted it as a recipe. Silly really because it’s a fantastic recipe and everyone needs a great birthday cake up their sleeve!

Birthday cakes were one of my first big challenges as a dairy and egg free cook. I was determined that my girls could have a pretty ‘Wow’ cake like all their friends, that could challenge the popular store bought versions that everyone gasped over at the countless birthday parties we’ve attended. So I needed a great, fail-safe reliable recipe, and this one ticks all those boxes

My first versions, despite trying my very hardest were not particularly great (totally round cake shaped bumble bee anyone?) but as the years pass they’ve improved, I think!

I use this lovely chocolate cake recipe which gives just the right crumb to turn into an iced sandwich cake. You could make two sponges and sandwich together but my preference is to make one large cake and then split it in half when it’s cool. I find that way gives a better finish when the whole cake is iced.

sliced chocolate celebration cake, dairy-free, egg-free

As I make a chocolate sponge, I sandwich it together with vanilla buttercream and also coat the top and sides with a thin layer of the buttercream to help the icing stick.

Next it’s a layer of fondant icing which is then decorated for the chosen theme.

underwater dairy-free cake

Chocolate Celebration Cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

make up cake, vegan

makes one cake

330g self-raising flour

5 tbsps cocoa powder

220g caster sugar

1 1/2 tsps bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

290ml dairy-free milk

2 tbsps dairy-free yogurt

100g dairy-free margarine, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 5. Grease and line a deep cake tin
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt
  3. Stir in the sugar
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the oat milk, melted dairy-free margarine, yogurt and vanilla.
  5. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix gently until well combined.
  6. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, until a knife comes out clean
  7. Cool in the cake tin.

chocolate celebration cake, egg-free

 

Fill and cover with buttercream:

Vanilla Buttercream

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

chocolate birthday cake, vegan

makes more than enough for the cake!

2 tbsp vegetable fat (such as Trex)

1/2 cup dairy-free margarine (such as Pure)

1 1/2 to 2 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 or 2 tbsp dairy-free milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whisk together the spread and vegetable fat.
  2. Add the icing sugar, 1/2 cup at a time with a splash of the oat milk and vanilla, until fully combined and nice and fluffy.

Here’s a gallery of some of my other favourites over the last few years.

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Sinful Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

sinful chocolate cupcakes, dairy-free, egg-free

These cupcakes are chocolatey, really chocolatey and topped with a rich sticky ganache that turns to a fudgy set icing when it’s cooled, somewhat reminiscent of shop bought chocolate cupcakes, but far far better. If you’re in the mood for a good dose of chocolate power then this is the recipe for you! Besides there is something rather elegant about those shiny chocolate tops, making them equally at home when served as a dessert or tea time treat.

Sinful Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes 

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

chocolate cupcakes vegan

makes 18-22

350g self-raising flour

200g caster sugar

50g cocoa powder

200ml sunflower oil

300ml dairy-free milk

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 5
  2. Mix together the dairy-free milk, lemon juice, vanilla and oil. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Stir in the sugar.
  4. Add the bicarb to the wet ingredients and stir.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix to thoroughly combine.
  6. 2/3 rds fill the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

the best chocolate cupcakes, dairy-free and egg-free

Fudgy Chocolate Icing

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, can be soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

chocolate fudge icing

85g dairy-free dark chocolate, such as Kinnerton

3 tbsp dairy-free margarine

3 tbsps icing sugar

  1. In a saucepan, gently melt together the ingredients
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened, stirring all the time. This will only take a couple of minutes.
  3. Cool slightly and then spread on top of the cupcakes
  4. Decorate as desired

nut-free chocolate fudge cupcakes

Cake Pops

cake pops, dairy-free, egg-free

My girls have often asked to try cake pops but I always presumed they were difficult to make – surely an orb of sponge is fairly tricky with no gadgety cake pop maker? As it happens, cake pops are a doddle to make, the spherical form is molded out of cake crumbs mixed with buttercream. If I’d known they were so simple I’d have made them ages ago!

The popularity of these spherical shaped cake treats is no doubt due to both the lollipop shape, and the tempting decorated chocolate coating  – surely irresistible to any in possession of a sweet tooth. This version features vanilla sponge, mixed with fluffy vanilla buttercream and coated in dairy-free chocolate. Recipes for the cupcakes and buttercream can be found here.

Cake pops totally fit the birthday party brief, small desirable little treats that are meant to be eaten by hand. These little beauties are easily assembled from a few leftover cupcakes and some extra buttercream, perfect for when you want wow factor with only minimal fuss.

making cake pops

Cake Pops

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

cake pops, vegan

makes approximately 8, multiply as necessary

1 cup cake crumbs, I found 3 cupcakes did the trick

1/3 cup buttercream

50g dairy-free chocolate, melted

sprinkles or decorations of choice

  1. Crumble up the cakes to make fine crumbs. Either use a food processor or by hand
  2. Mix in the buttercream and form into even sized balls, insert the cake pop sticks
  3. Place in the fridge to firm up cake pop centres, nut-free
  4. Dip in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with decorations. Place in a cup to set.
  5. Enjoy!

dairy-free cake pops, no egg

Parkin

 

IMG_5037

Ever heard of a Parkin? Well you probably have in the UK, and most certainly if you’re from Yorkshire. It’s a sticky ginger, syrup, oat and molasses flavoured sponge that is traditional at this time of year. It’s most commonly served around bonfire night, when the sweet spicy sponge is likely to warm the cockles after a bracing evening standing in the cold. Definitely well worth making for November 5th or any wintery occasion!

I’d read about Parkin more than eaten it, and it seems that in its most authentic and traditional forms, it’s egg-free – hooray! But try as I might, no egg-free recipe could be found. Maybe most people think they might as well add eggs to a sponge mix to make it ‘better’? It’s funny because people make such presumptions – cake can only be nice if its made with eggs and milk/butter – but having eaten both varieties, I can safely say that I prefer the ones without. They are lighter, more delicate, with no discernible eggy-flavour. I reckon others would also think the same, if only they opened their eyes and gave them a go!

Despite being resolutely egg-free, I can’t say this Parkin is truly authentic – it’s devised to suit my taste with far less treacle than usual as I find the flavour hugely over-powering. Sorry to any Yorkshire folk out there, I apologise for messing around with your traditions! Feel free to up the molasses and reduce the syrup for a ‘darker’ flavour and do let me know how it turns out, maybe I’m missing a trick in being a molasses scaredy-cat!?

dairy-free egg-free parkin
Parkin

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_5038

2 cups plain flour

1 cup soft brown sugar

1 large handful of oats

2 tsp ground ginger

2/3 cup dairy-free margarine, melted

1 cup golden syrup

1 tbsp treacle or molasses

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp vinegar

1/4 pint dairy-free milk, I used Oatly

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade/Gas Mark 3
  2. Line a square baking tin with parchment and grease the paper or it will stick!
  3. Mix together the flour, sugar, oats and ginger in a bowl and make a well in the centre
  4. Gently melt together the spread, syrup and treacle (do not let it boil) and pour into the well
  5. Sprinkle the bicarbonate onto the syrup mix and then sprinkle the vinegar over that. The bicarbonate will fizz and bubble. Pour the milk over the top and mix to form a very wet and sloppy batter
  6. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until golden, risen and a knife cones out clean
  7. Once cool, cut into cubes.

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