Whipping up a batch of these festive chocolate cupcakes takes no time at all with this easy mix recipe. You can bake and freeze the cakes uniced then remove from the freezer, allow to defrost for an hour or two, and decorate with a swirl of our simple chocolate icing. Perfect for girly nights in, childrens parties, school Christmas fairs or teatime treats.

MAKES 12 PREP 30 MINS COOK 30 MINS plus cooling

125g butter, softened

2 large eggs

125g self-raising flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

125g golden caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tbsp milk

For the icing:

150g plain or milk chocolate, coarsely grated or finely chopped

150ml double cream

50g icing sugar

Mini gingerbread men decorations and icing holly leaf decorations (available from Ocado)

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C, Gas 4. Line 12 holes of a bun tin with silver cake cases. Place the butter and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl and sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer or wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the milk (you may not need all of it) to make a soft dropping consistency.
  2. Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 15-20 mins until well risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  3. To make the icing, place the grated or chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a small pan until almost boiling. Pour over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and stir to mix. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally until the icing is spreadable.
  4. Spread the icing over the cupcakes, swirling with the back of teaspoon. Decorate with mini gingerbread men decorations and icing holly leaf decorations.

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