Alternative Christmas Cakes…

A tasty original alternative to Christmas cake…

Perfect for gifts for your guests.

Everything you could want in a cupcake, dried fruit, chocolate and booze!

How yummy!?


    Brandy soaked cranberries chocolate cupcakes
     Makes 12 cupcakes
  • 130g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 40g softened salted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 1 handful of dark choc chips (min 53% cocoa solids)
  • 100g (freshly bought) dried cranberries
  • 100ml cooking brandy

For the icing:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g salted butter
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 30ml whole milk
  • 10ml vanilla extract


  • Dark green fondant (m and b is best for this)
  • Poppy red fondant (regal ice)
  • White fondant


  • Muffin tray
  • Brown muffin cases
  • Rolling Pin
  • Icing sugar dispenser
  • All fondant
  • Small holly leaf cutter
  • Thin paintbrush and glass of water for glue
  • Star nozzle 848 and piping bag
  • Sieve
  • Mixer
  • Mixing bowls
  • Hob
  • Saucepan
  • Measuring jug
  • Spoons and measuring spoons
  • Cooling rack
  • Oven 170 for 20 mins


  • Bring the brandy up to the boil on the hob then remove and add the cranberries. 
  • Cover with a lid and leave for one hour. 
  • Meanwhile, put the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl – flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa  and butter (treat butter as ‘dry’ for our purposes). 
  • Mix until you have an even sandy consistency. 
  • Measure out the milk in a jug, add the egg and vanilla and whisk well. 
  • Drizzle into the flour whilst mixing, until you have a smooth batter/mixture.
  • Add the chocolate chips and drained cranberries and mix in briefly without bashing into pieces. 
  • Reserve your brandy. 
  • Spoon evenly into 12 cupcake cases and bake at 170 degrees for 20 minutes until bounce back to the touch. 
  • Cool on a wire rack and in the meantime make the icing by mixing all the ingredients together for several minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Pour in 10-20ml of your cooking brandy into the icing depending on the consistency – you should aim for something that holds its shape without being too stiff. 
  • Pipe the icing on top of the cakes using a reusable piping bag and large star nozzle.

To decorate:

  • Roll out a small amount of white fondant and cut with a circular cutter about 2 inches in diameter. 
  • Place with on top of your icing allowing folds to appear like a table cloth around the sides.  
  • Roll out some dark green fondant and either cut out three holly leaves if you have a cutter or mould three leaves if you do not.  
  • Place these on your fondant with a dab of a damp paintbrush.  
  • Roll three red berries from your red fondant and stick on top with the damp paintbrush to finish.
  • For a basic cupcake recipe just use mine above and leave out the brandy soaked cranberries.

Recipe and photo credit by- – Food Network


Hi, I am Claire and I created Claire Justine in 2011. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them. Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.



  1. Ofelia
    November 27, 2011 / 8:32 pm

    Lovely cupcakes and such an easy recipe. However, I must tell that I being eating cake since Tuesday night until an hour ago because my girls and I have all of our birthdays celebrations were this week and I'm operating in a sugar high right now!

  2. Working london mummy
    November 27, 2011 / 10:16 pm

    oooh these look delicious and a lovely portion size – so pretty.

  3. Clairejustine
    November 28, 2011 / 11:06 am

    @Ofelia Lovely to hear from you Happy Birthday to you all,I love operating in sugar mode 🙂

  4. Clairejustine
    November 28, 2011 / 11:06 am

    @Working london mummy Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. Monica J @ Sofamilyonline
    November 28, 2011 / 11:20 pm

    I think this is a great alternative to the Christmas cake. I'm a cupcake lover, so this is perfect for me. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will keep checking back for more recipes. I'm a new follower. Following from Monday Mingle Blog Hop. Hop on over to <a href=">Sofamilyonline</a&gt;

  6. Becca
    November 29, 2011 / 5:47 am

    My cupcakes will never look like this… I try hard though! new from Monday Mingle I would love a follow back if you are interested!!

  7. Clairejustine
    November 29, 2011 / 10:06 am

    @Monica J @ Sofamilyonline Thank you for the comment,I'm glad you like the recipe,going to follow back now:)

  8. Clairejustine
    November 29, 2011 / 10:09 am

    @BeccaThanks for following and the comment,following back 🙂

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