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Christmas cupcakes

Not everyone is a fan of fruit cake or mince pies, these light coconut cakes speckled with jewel like ruby raspberries make a great alternative and can even be made in advance and frozen ready iced but without the raspberry and holly decoration. Simply defrost at room temp for 2-3 hours before finishing.

Strap: Great for all ages

Makes 12

Prep: 35 minutes

Cook: 15-18 minutes



175g/6oz butter at room temperature or soft margarine

175g/6oz caster sugar

3 eggs, beaten

175g/6oz self-raising flour

11/2 tsp vanilla extract

40g/11/2oz unsweetened desiccated coconut

150g pack fresh raspberries


To decorate

150g/5oz butter at room temperature

300g/101/2oz icing sugar, sifted, plus a little extra

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 tbsp milk, if needed

40g/11/2 oz unsweetened desiccated coconut

150g pack fresh raspberries

100g/4oz green ready to roll icing


  1. Preheat the oven to 80oC/350oF/Gas mark 4. Line a 12 whole muffin tray with 12 deep red paper cake cases.
  2. To make the cupcakes, add the butter or soft margarine and sugar to a large mixing bowl or food processor and beat until smooth. Gradually beat in spoonfuls of the egg and flour alternately, until it has all been added and continue to mix until light and smooth. Mix in the vanilla and coconut then fold in the raspberries.
  3. Divide the mixture between the cake cases and spread the tops level. Bake for 15-18 minutes until well risen, golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip. 
  4. Lift the cakes out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  5. To make the frosting, add the butter to a bowl or food processor and gradually beat in the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and add a little milk, if needed, to make a soft frosting.
  6. Pipe or spread the frosting over the cakes. Top each cake with a sprinkling of coconut and 3 raspberries. Roll the green icing out on a surface dusted with a little sifted icing sugar then stamp out small holly leaves with a cutter. Lift off the paper with a small knife and press 2 leaves into the frosting on each cake.  


Cook’s tip

Not a fan of nuts then leave the coconut out of the cupcakes and sprinkle grated white chocolate or bought sugar mini snowflake sprinkles over the top instead.

For Valentine’s day, add heart shapes stamped from red or pink ready to roll icing instead of the holly leave.