Occasion Cupcakes: Valentine, Christmas & Halloween

Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween: these are excellent excuses to get into the kitchen and whip up a batch of celebratory cakes. Miniatures are ideal for getting the kids involved, too, so what are you waiting for?

At Christmas, Valentine’s and Halloween, baking shops are awash with decorations and edible charms to put sweetly on top of your cupcakes. Use one of the basic recipes below, ice, and provide the children with bowls of miniature snowmen, hearts or chicks. The results are bound to be charming! If you want to make designer cupcakes, look no further. There are some ideas below for stylish cakes to serve at any celebratory gathering.

Raspberry-Centred Vanilla Cupcakes

These sweet vanilla cupcakes have a whole, soft raspberry languishing in the centre, making them perfect for Valentine’s day – if you’re baking for a wedding party, pile them high on a silver platter to make a brilliant alternative Wedding Cake. (If you can’t get any raspberries, use a teaspoon of raspberry jam instead.)

  • 110g (4oz) margarine
  • 175g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 175g (6oz) self-raising flour
  • 0.5tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5tbsp milk
  • 12 raspberries, washed
  • Icing sugar, to dust
To make: Cream the margarine with the caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift in the self-raising flour and baking powder, and fold gently. Finally stir in the beaten eggs and milk. Beat to form a thick batter. Divide half the batter between 12 cupcake cases, then put a raspberry into each one. Top up with the remaining cake batter, and bake the tray at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Optional extra – decorate with pink coloured dessicated coconut and a fondant heart and wrap in a pretty box or cellophane bag with a ribbon.

Silent Night Cupcakes

You’ll need to find black food colouring for these elegant cupcakes, inspired by the timeless Christmas carol. The kids can help scattering the stars too. If you wanted to make one big cake, there are now moon-shaped tins on the market.

  • 110g (4oz) self-raising flour
  • 1.5tbsp cocoa
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 110g (4oz) margarine
  • 110g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5tbsp milk
  • Black food colouring
  • Icing sugar
  • Water
  • Edible silver balls
To make:
  • Sieve the first three ingredients into a bowl (or processor bowl), then add the margarine, caster sugar, beaten eggs, and milk, and beat until combined.
  • Spoon into 12 cupcake cases and bake at 160 degrees C for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack.
  • Top with a simple glace icing: stir two drops of black colouring into a bowl of sieved icing sugar, then add water very slowly until you get a spreadable consistency.
  • Finally, scatter the cakes with silver balls.

    Pumpkin Spiderweb Halloween Cakes

    A sweet, nutritious pumpkin cake is covered with white icing and finished with a dramatic spiderweb effect.

    • 175g (6oz) peeled and deseeded pumpkin, grated finely
    • 25g (1oz) pecans, chopped
    • 50g (2oz) plain flour
    • 50g (2oz) self-raising flour
    • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp ground ginger
    • 100ml (4floz) vegetable oil
    • 75g (3oz) soft brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1tbsp golden syrup
    • Icing sugar, sieved
    • Water
    • 110g (4oz) dark chocolate
    To make: Sieve the flours with the cinnamon, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. In a jug, whisk together the vegetable oil, sugar, eggs and golden syrup. Pour this into the mixing bowl and beat together well. Stir in the pumpkin and pecans.

    Spoon the mixture into 12 large cupcake cases and bake at 160ºC for about 20-30 minutes, until golden and risen.

    For the topping: Make up a batch of white glacé icing using sieved icing sugar mixed slowly with water until spreadable. Use this to top each cake. Now melt a bar of dark chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat. Using a skewer or teaspoon, carefully drizzle the chocolate in a spiral over each cupcake. Do this with each cake, then, using a clean skewer, drag its point from the centre to the edge in a straight line, turning the cake and repeating to give a spiderweb effect.

    Other Recipes to Try

    You’ll find lots more ideas in Easter Cakes, Dinner Party Cupcakes, and Cupcakes for Children. Have fun!

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