When Royal Baking Powder approached me to use their baking powder in a festive bake I was thrilled! Royal baking powder is an iconic South African brand and all of my baking , from when I first started experimenting in my mothers kitchen, involves this baking powder! My first thought was that I wanted to make something easy. I love having my kids in the kitchen with me so I wanted them to be able to participate. Secondly,  the bake had to be delicious, so I decided to upgrade my usual vanilla cupcake to something ‘christmasy’ by adding cinnamon & allspice to the batter. Lastly it had to look beautiful ! So, based on an idea I found in one of my favourite cookbooks, I’ve made 75 white chocolate leaves with which to decorate my wreath. The result is perfectly festive and perfectly delicious!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 2¼ cups plain flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 3 tsp Royal Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 115g butter at room temperature
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Vanilla Buttercream

  • 3 cups icing sugar, sieved
  • 80g soft butter
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbs milk

White Chocolate leaves

  • 250g white chocolate
  • Large bunch of  Mint leaves ( you will need about 75)

Decoration

  • 10 red candy coated sweets ( I’ve used M&M’s)
  • Pretty ribbon for a bow
  • Festive platter or plate
  • Edible glitter or lustre dust (optional)

 Method

Preheat the oven to 170°c

  1. Start with the white chocolate leaves. Gently melt the chocolate in the microwave, stopping it every 30 seconds or so to give the chocolate a stir until it is smooth
  2. Lay a piece of grease proof paper on a baking tray. Select largish leaves and lay them on the greaseproof paper. Use your finger or a brush to coat the underside of each leaf  in a thickish layer of white chocolate. Set in the fridge until ready to use
  3. For the cupcakes, in a large bowl beat all the ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds until it is starting to incorporate
  4. Beat on high speed for a further 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Pour the batter into gold/silver/festive cupcake cases in a prepared muffin tin
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cupcakes are golden and risen. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely before frosting
  6. For the icing beat all the ingredients together until smooth adding more milk if necessary. Keep a small amount aside with which to ‘glue’ on your holly berries i.e The M&M’s
  7. When the cupcakes are cool, ice them generously and arrange them around a pretty plate in a wreath shape
  8. Working quickly and carefully (the chocolate leaves will melt if handled too much) peel off the mint leaves from the chocolate ( they will come off really easily) and arrange the leaves on the cupcakes with all their tips pointing in the same direction
  9. Use the icing you set aside to dot the M&M’s around the wreath
  10. Sprinkle with edible glitter if desired and place the ribbon (tied into a bow) at the top of the wreath

Seasons Greetings!!