These whisky-flavoured tartan-iced Hogmanay cupcakes are not just reserved for Hogmanay: they are perfect for New Year celebrations too. Because they are a fruit-based cake they take longer to cook than sponge based cakes and also last longer without drying out, so you can make them a fortnight in advance, store them in an airtight container and then glaze and ice them on the day you wish to serve them.
If you prefer to make a larger cake, try baking this as a loaf rather than a round cake and slice it before serving with whisky butter. Increase the cooking time to 45-50 minutes for a loaf cake.
- 50g (2oz) butter
- 50g (2oz) caster sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 – 4 tablespoons whisky
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1 heaped tablespoon crystallised ginger, finely chopped
- 50g (2oz) raisins soaked overnight in 1 tablespoon whisky
- 250g (9oz) self-raising flour
Preheat oven to gas mark 3 or 160ºC and set 18 metallic cupcake cases in trays.
Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and then add the eggs, mixing well. Stir in the whisky, two kinds of ginger and whisky soaked raisins, blending well before adding the flour in three batches, stirring until well mixed. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool overnight before icing.
Brush the tops of the cakes with melted apricot jam just before you add the tartan icing.
The easiest way to make tartan icing is to use rolled fondant in your base colour. Begin by getting a scrap of tartan or a good colour photo to work from. Roll out your base colour to around 6mm thick, then cut into circles that will drape comfortably over the top of your cupcakes.
Lay these circles out on a flexible board or a marble one covered in clingfilm and slide a plastic or cardboard strip under each circle so you can lift it easily once decorated.
Use a combination of thinned icing that can be painted on with a brush, and writing icing to give a higher ‘weave’ to the fabric. Draw the pattern on the circles carefully, using the painted colours first and the writing icing last. Leave for around ten minutes before lifting and draping over the cakes.
Alternatively, cut the tartan into strips, feathering the ends with a sharp knife and lay over white icing to resemble a tartan scarf dropped on snow.
Tips And Hints
If you find your raisins sink to the bottom of your cakes, drain them several hours before cooking, pat them lightly with kitchen paper and then shake them in a large bowl with two tablespoons of the flour to coat them. This usually stops them sinking. If it doesn’t work, try smaller raisins!
To make a simple whisky butter, cream together 125g (4½ oz) butter and 125g (4½ oz) icing sugar and then add 1 tablespoon boiling water and 3 tablespoons whiksy. Keep beating until the mixture, which will look curdled at first, becomes smooth and light. Chill until ready to serve.