Christmas time – even if it is shortly before the holidays themselves – is a grand time to try new recipes.
The most unusual Yuletide pastries in my family are butter biscuits and hazelnut or coconut macaroons, but I leave these entirely to my beloved grandmother. I’m more the type for fairy cakes and muffins, so today I want to share one of my favourite recipes that can be easily altered for Christmas.
Orange Fairy Cakes
120 ml soft butter
160 ml sugar
170 ml flour
3 taespúnóga (Irish for teaspoons. I just like the word.) of baking-powder
125 ml orange juice
2 teaspoon of vanilla flavour (I prefer real vanilla of which a pinch may be enough)
3 teaspoon of grated orange skin
Grated orange skin for decoration
Mini muffin moulds (will make 12 fairy cakes, but I normally use normal muffin forms. You can’t have everything, can you?)
For the cream:
60 ml soft butter
90 ml icing sugar
1 table-spoon of orange juice
For the Christmas feeling you may add:
Cinnamon to the cream
Gingerbread spice to the dough
Wine spice (or spice wine, directly. They sell pretty good ones at renaissance fairs, at least here in Germany)
- Preheat to 180°C and prepare the mould with muffin paper cases. Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, orange juice, vanilla, additional christmas spice and eggs until the dough seems smooth. Intermix it with the orange skin and portion the dough into the cases. Bake for about 20 minutes until the cakes look golden-brown. Let them cool down.
- Smooth down the butter with a stirring gear and stir in one half of the icing sugar, then the orange juice and then the remaining half of the sugar. Add the cinnamon (not too much!) and decorate the cupcakes with the creme and sprinkled-on grated orange skin. You could also add a big (non-edible) sparkly star on each fairy cake, just on the top.
I think they’re obligatory, especially with the name of this post:
You’ll need (apart from a decent gingerbread man-shaped piece of cardboard to cut around):
125 ml soft butter
60 ml brown sugar
90 ml sugar beet molasses
1 egg, slightly beaten
280 ml flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 table-spoon ginger powder (or fresh ginger, but you might need more of it, then)
1 teaspoon natron
1 table-spoon raisins (or something similar for those who don’t like raisins, like me) for the eyes
For the icing:
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
155 ml icing sugar
Various food colourings (you can go for the ready ones from the supermarkets or use juices like beet, orange, cherry etc. for the hues)
- Preheat to 180°C and cover two baking trays with baking parchment.
- Stir butter, sugar and molasses to a cream and intermix the egg by and by. Fill the mass into a bigger bowl.
- Sift flour, baking powder, ginger powder and natron and intermix it slowly into the butter cream with a spoon. Work everything to a smooth dough with your hands and knead it for about 2 minutes on a floured surface. Roll it out to about 5mm and put it in a cold place for 15 minutes.
- Cut out the gingerbread in whatever a shape you like. For a house you may use rectangular pieces, every other form can be made with a cardboard dummy. Put the figures on your baking tray and add the eyes (additional: noses) and bake for 10 minutes.
- For the frosting, stir the egg-white until it is foamy. Add the lemon juice and the sugar by and by and work everything to a smooth mass. Put the cream in several smaller bowls and add colour. Fill the masses in icing bags and draw clothing, mouths and hair.
Sadly, I can’t upload any pictures today as I’m working at the Goblin’s computer, sorry for that. But hopefully my notebook will arrive before Christmas…