Now Bring Us Some Figgy Pudding: Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

For today’s post, I really wanted two things:

1. To make something that looked like an adorable mini Christmas pudding (or figgy pudding)…even if it wasn’t actually Christmas pudding.

2. To make something that was fast and easy, and that could be made with everything I already had on hand.

I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to. At first, I went the figgy pudding recipe route, but quickly discovered that I wasn’t going to like it, and that it was going to require several things that I did not have on hand. Which led me to go for the look of Christmas pudding…but the taste of chocolate cake. Luckily, I hit a bullseye on the very first try.

I’m pretty much obsessed with these little cakes. There are similar versions all over the internet, and they’re just so adorable, I knew I had to make some.

First, I settled on the cake, which is adapted from a sour cream fudge cake from my favorite cookbook. It’s simple, flavorful, moist, and easy, not to mention scrumptious…and let’s face it, these cutie pies needed to be scrumptious. I was a little more worried about the frosting, because I needed something smooth and creamy enough that it would drizzle down the sides, but not so runny that it would all drizzle right off the cake. In another words, I needed an icing, not a glaze.

I tinkered around with some of the glazes I’ve used in the past, thickening them up with a little extra sugar. Obviously, the extra sugar was key, because it gave me the consistency I was looking for, but all that sugar didn’t really offer the best taste, so I tried adding a little butter to give the icing a creamier flavor. It did the trick, and with a touch of vanilla, I had the perfect icing for my “figgy puddings!”

I was happy to have another opportunity to use my handy dandy hemisphere pan for these. I knew the shape would be perfect for emulating Christmas pudding. Don’t worry if you don’t have one, these are still incredibly cute as standard cupcakes, and I’ve included photos and directions for them.

To make these cupcakes you need eggs, unsalted butter (at room temperature), sugar, sour cream, cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, instant espresso powder, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract, plus 1 cup boiling water.

Stir the cocoa and espresso powders into the boiling water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, stir in the sour cream and vanilla; set aside.

Spray a hemisphere or cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Scrape the bowl as needed. Sprinkle in one-third of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add one-third of the chocolate mixture, mixing again until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and chocolate, adding each in two more additions. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Place two tablespoons of batter in each cup of the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

For the icing, all you need is unsalted butter (melted), confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, two tablespoons of milk, and the vanilla and whisk together until well combined. Add more milk, as needed to reach the desired consistency. The icing should be a slightly thinner consistency than the cake batter.

Icing these is super simple: just use a spoon to pour about a tablespoon of icing in the center of the tops of the cakes.

Then, just let the icing run down the sides of the cake, giving it a little nudge with the edge of the spoon, as necessary.

Finally, for a little extra holiday pizazz, I shaped gumdrops into tiny berries and pretty leaves. To shape the berries, cut a red gumdrop in half, through the middle. Shape the top half into a berry and the bottom half into another. For the leaves, cut a green gumdrop in half, flatten each half out a little, then shape them into leaves. Garnish each cake with one or two berries and leaves each. You could also use fondant, fruity tootsie rolls, and all sorts of other candies to make these little decorations. If you want to skip the candy, you could use dried cranberries or cherries and little bay or peppermint leaves instead.

As I mentioned above, you don’t have to have a hemisphere pan to make your own adorable version of these. Just make standard cupcakes (either with a paper liner, or by greasing and flouring the muffin pan), and once they cool, peel the liners off (if using), turn the cupcakes upside-down, and frost as usual.

Seriously, aren’t they the sweetest?! I made mine in liners, but if I were to do them over again, I would grease and flour the muffin pan instead, so that the sides of the cakes would be smooth.

These are very slightly smaller than the other version I did, which makes them even cuter! Both versions of these sweet little Christmas pudding cupcakes were very fast and easy to make, and decorate too. The cupcake batter only took about 5 minutes to mix up and they bake in less than 20 minutes, while the frosting only takes about a minute to throw together. And since all you have to do to decorate them is drizzle a little frosting on and top with candy, you can have all the cakes completely decorated in less than 10 minutes.

These little rounded cakes are my favorite. Everything about them makes me happy! I mean, really, whenever I look at them, I get all giddy at how adorable they are! Isn’t it a great feeling to see something in your head and make it a reality? And even better, when the reality is identical to what you imagined? If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas treat that doesn’t require a ton of time, effort, and crazy ingredients (and still elicits oohs and ahhs from your friends and family), these are definitely the way to go. Have a wonderful holiday weekend, friends! Enjoy!

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen
Ingredients

**For a vegan/dairy-free version, use this recipe.**

FOR THE CUPCAKE
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature

FOR THE ICING
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (margarine for vegan)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk (soy or almond, for vegan)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cupcakes: Stir the cocoa and espresso powders into the boiling water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, stir in the sour cream and vanilla; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a hemisphere or cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Scrape the bowl as needed. Sprinkle in 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Add 1/3 off the chocolate mixture, mixing again until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and chocolate, adding each in 2 more additions. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Place 2 tablespoons of batter in each cup of the prepared pans. bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing: In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, and the vanilla and whisk together until well combined. Add more milk, as needed to reach the desired consistency. The icing should be a slightly thinner consistency than the cake batter.

Cupcakes adapted from Baking Illustrated, Icing by Darla

 

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  1. Darla says

    Thank you so much everyone! Ireally had fun making these! And every time someone had one, they had to sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" through to the figgy pudding verse before they could have one! It was so much fun!

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