Mince pies with an American baking twist, made into cupcakes with and spiked with a brandy cream topping.
These mince pie cupcakes are special. They combine mincemeat in the cake batter as well as in the topping, for twice the festive hit. Cupcakes are a usual addition to a British Christmas spread, but they are very popular with guests who don't like pastry. Rather than the traditional, very sweet, and buttery frosting, we've topped these with whipped cream, laced with brandy, for a bit of a grownup kick. However, for younger guests, you can always leave out the alcohol. It's one of our favourite twists on a classic mince pies recipe (opens in new tab).
- 225g self-raising flour
- 2tsp mixed spice
- 175g butter, at room temperature
- 175g soft light brown muscovado sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 100ml buttermilk
- 150g mincemeat
For the topping:
- 150g mincemeat
- 300ml double cream
- 1 tbsp brandy
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4. Line two 12 hole muffin tins with 18 paper cases.
- Sift the flour and mixed spice together in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together for 3–5 minutes until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing all the time. The mixture might look split at this stage, but don’t worry, that’s normal.
- Fold in a third of the flour and beat well. Add half of the buttermilk and beat well. Fold in another third of the flour and beat well. Add the remaining buttermilk and finally the last third of the flour mixture, beating well between each addition.
- Place a dessertspoon of the cake mix into each paper case. Spoon a rounded teaspoon of mincemeat over the mixture and cover with another dessertspoon of the cake mix. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- For the topping, spoon the mincemeat into a small, heavy based pan and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over a low heat for 3 minutes until the suet is cooked out. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Whip the cream and brandy together to soft peaks. Gently fold in the cooled mincemeat.
- To decorate, cut the tops off the cakes, like you would to make butterfly cakes. Using a star shaped cutter, cut a star out of each cake top. Spoon the mincemeat cream onto each cake and top with the cut out star. Dust with icing sugar.
Top tips for making almond mince pies
These little cream topped cakes are so pretty it's worth going a little overboard on the presentation too. Rather than plain muffin cases we love these shiny aluminium versions in bright colours. Go red and green for a Christmas party, or gold and silver for new year. Available from online cook shops.
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Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.
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