Easy Christmas baking
Baking is such a good way of bringing different family members into the heart of the home to mix, to chop, to decorate and, of course, to eat! These easy bakes are small enough for all family members to enjoy as a treat and they also offer a great, yet simple, present to hand out to friends and neighbours. The fact that they’re easy to individualise and bring an additional Christmas theme to the table, really is the icing on the cake.
These perfect little treats are a great way to encourage children (as well as big kids!) to express their creativity by decorating them in any way they like. Delicious to share with friends, they’re also an easy option to donate towards the cake stall at the school Christmas fayre.
• 120g plain gluten free or wheat flour
• 140g caster sugar
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• A pinch of salt
• 40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 120ml whole milk
• 1 egg
• ¼tsp vanilla extract
The vanilla frosting
• 250g sifted icing sugar
• 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 25ml whole milk
• a couple of drops of vanilla extract
These are a super cute option for kids. Simply spread chocolate buttercream on top of your cupcakes. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly smooth. Place two pretzels on the top for the antlers and add a Smartie red nose. Finally, roll some white fondant icing into small balls and flatten to make the eyes. Use the edible pen (or black fondant) to add the pupils before placing on the cakes.
You need a piping bag and a nozzle as well as an assortment of sprinkles for this one. Spread a thin layer of white buttercream over the cupcake. Then add some green colouring to the buttercream and pop it into the piping bag. Pipe a swirl to make a cone shape on top of the cupcake. Then add sprinkles and delicately place a sugar paste star on top.
This is always a winner with the kids as it really doesn’t matter if it gets a bit messy. Pop a layer of white buttercream over the cupcake then add a white marshmallow on top. Place two smarties or sweets on the cake in front of the marshmallow and create twig arms by sticking a Matchmaker either side of the marshmallow. You can use an edible pen or some black icing to add little eyes and a coal mouth.
Mince pie brownie Christmas trees
What You Need
• 200g dark chocolate
• 175g butter
• 325g caster sugar
• 125g plain flour
• 3 eggs
• 4 tablespoons mincemeat (the festive variety)
• Green icing
• Selection of sprinkles and Smarties
What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 170c and line a 30cm rectangular baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
3. Stir in the sugar followed by the flour.
4. Fold in the eggs.
5. Finally stir in the mincemeat
6. Bake in the over for 40-45 minutes until the top just starts to crack.
7. Once cooled cut in to triangles and insert a pop stick or straw.
8. Drizzle over green icing and cover with sprinkles or smarties.
What you need
• 350g plain flour
• 1 tbsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 100g cold unsalted butter, cut in to cubes
• 150g light soft brown sugar
• 1 beaten egg
• 4 tbsp golden syrup
What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 180c and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Sift the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingers until the mixture is sandy in consistency.
3. Stir in the sugar.
4. Whisk the egg and golden syrup and add to the bowl.
5. Mix well until the mixture comes together into a dough.
6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 3mm thickness.
7. Cut out your gingerbread men or preferred shapes.
8. Space evenly onto the prepared tray.
9. Mark eyes and button decoration with a small knife if required.
10. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
11. Leave to cool on the tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
12. Finish with piped icing and decorations, as required.