I feel so Zen after a good baking session. As long as nothing goes wrong of course otherwise it’s stress-central in that kitchen.
Pop some festive music on, maybe do a little two-step and shuffle, perhaps a little wiggle, as I whisk away, fold in, and cut, spoon or pour ready to bake. There’s something baking does that’s good for the soul I’m sure. And so when the festive season gets a bit too much, it’s the perfect past time to shut yourself away to do, relieve some tension or pressure, come out glowing – not from the heat but from feeling more you – with a treat for family, friends or visitors.
This month I’ve been off work and so baking and cooking has been a fab escape. I’ve been perfecting my cakes and bakes ready to wow my new colleagues in January, and whipping up some right festive numbers – you might have seen the Chocolate Christmas Cookies I created a couple of weeks back.
These fluffy banana cupcakes, spiced for that festive flavour, have a hidden, fruity, mincemeat centre making them moist and taste very Christmassy – think mince pies but with spiced cake rather than buttery pastry! Drizzled in milk and white chocolate, and sprinkled lightly with icing sugar for that just snowed look, they make a great Christmas bake, and look stylish enough to have out ready for guests joining you for a mid-morning or afternoon catchup.
They don’t take too long, and they’re pretty easy to make – you just need patience so you don’t take them out too early and the centres fall in. This always used to be my downfall. That or I’d overcook them as our oven can be very temperamental!
These have already had rave reviews from our new housemate and Alex’s work colleagues (yes I gave Alex some to take in!). I think I might need to make them when back at my parents later this week!
Recipe is below if you fancy giving them a whirl – hope you (and your guests) like them as much as we have!
What’s your favourite thing to bring our at Christmas when the guests come over?
Spiced Banana Cupcakes with Hidden Mincemeat Centre
A cross between a buttery mince pie and a banana cake - a delicious festive bake
- 70 g butter or sunflower spread I used Flora Light
- 100 g granulated sugar
- 50 g soft light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 bananas mashed
- 200 g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 200 g mincemeat
- 40 g milk chocolate
- 40 g white chocolate
- icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat the oven to 200° celsius. Line two cupcake tins with cases.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and banana and whisk until well combined.
Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into the mixing bowl. Whisk until the mixture forms a thick cake mix.
Place a tablespoon of cake mix into each cake case. Dollop 1/2 teaspoon of mincemeat into the centre, and top with 1/2 tablespoon of more cake mix to cover the mincemeat.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until you can test with a knife and it comes out clean. Leave to cool.
Tip: If the trays can't fit side by side in the oven, bake one batch followed by the second to ensure even baking.
Once cooled, melt the milk chocolate and white chocolate in separate cups or bowls, either over boiling water or carefully in the microwave.
Taking one chocolate first, take half a teaspoon of chocolate and carefully shake back and forth in an almost flicking motion to drizzle the chocolate over the cupcakes. Continue with the remainder of the chocolate, drizzling lightly over all of the cupcakes.
Repeat step 7 with the other chocolate
Sprinkle/lightly dust the cupcakes with icing sugar, to create that festive, snowy look and serve. Enjoy!