Saturday, 6 December 2014

Almond Angel Cupcakes

Keeping in the spirit of Christmas, here's the second instalment of Seasonal baking from me! These almond angel cupcakes are so sweet to look at, you almost don't want to eat them. But then, what would  be the point of all that hard work?! Be warned though. As lovely as they are, the butter icing is incredibly rich. There's no way of making these without using LOTS of butter icing as you need to build up the angel. If you have children, definitely keep these on a ration! In fact, scrap that. Ration them anyway. I felt like I needed to sit down and breathe slowly for a while after eating one of these. But hey, it's Christmas, so crack on...

You Will Need:
-150g butter, softened
-150g caster sugar
-1 orange, grated zest only
-3 eggs, beaten
-100g self-raising flour, sifted
-50g ground almond powder
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the angels:
-300g marzipan
-24 silver balls
-12 jelly sugared sweets 
-1 tbsp. icing sugar

For the frosting:
-200g butter, at room temp.
-250g icing sugar
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Cream together the butter and sugar with the orange zest until light, fluffy and pale. Gradually mix in the beaten egg, alternating with the flour and ground almonds to avoid the mixture from curdling. Stir through the vanilla extract.

Place 12 paper cupcake cases in a muffin tin and divide the mixture equally between them. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and springy to the touch at which point you can remove them from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Whilst the cakes cool, begin to prep the angels. Shape a third of the marzipan into 12 balls and press two silver balls into each one as eyes. Shape the remaining marzipan into 24 wings. I find this easier to do by using a sharp knife to trace an outline of a heart into the marzipan and then dividing in the middle so that you get two equal wing shapes. For the hands and halo, I used diamond shaped jelly sweets. To make the hands, cut the diamonds in half (these will stick into the side of the icing eventually). The halo can simply be made by using a small amount of icing sugar and water to act as a glue to stick a jelly diamond to the top of the marzipan ball. 

To make the butter icing, beat the butter with a spoon in a mixing bowl until smooth before sifting in the icing sugar, stirring regularly. Add the vanilla extract and orange juice. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, use a piping bag to pipe the the icing on them, starting from the outside of the cake and working into the centre to create tall peaks. The icing is easier to do this with if you leave it to solidify a bit in the fridge beforehand for about 10 minutes. Place a head on the top of each, push the hands into the sides and the wings into the backs. You have now created your own perfect little angels! These can be stored in airtight containers for 24 hours but, if you can't wait, they are best eaten straight away anyway!