11 December 2011

Melty Snowmen

Although the global warming thing seems more obvious than ever at the moment, with birds singing and nesting in the UK and daisies and roses blossoming in my parents' garden in Stockholm, I thought it would be a good way to start the festive season, by making melted snowmen cupcakes.


These were submitted by a fellow contestant during my brief stint on Art You Eat a couple of years back and they went straight on my to-bake-list.

It is also the reason why I raided Lakeland the other week-end, when I was in the UK - I needed silver cup cakes. Needless to say I bought a lot more things than planned.

I also was wondering where I could get hold of cranberries for the recipe - I've not made any muffins in maybe 20 years or so. And then I've only used Doctor Cutie's recipe, which is brilliant, by the way.

Mum suggested I use the frozen lingonberries she keeps in the freezer. Why not? It's actually better, because cranberries come all the way from America and the lingonberries are pretty much the European version of them.

Another curious thing was the use of clementine zest. It's not at all as easy to make as from lemon, lime or orange. And after zesting one, I had so little to show for it, I zested two more. But it was very nice to smell - different and slightly sweeter than orange.

I doubled the recipe from the original and it resulted in 18 slightly over-filled muffins:


200 g unsalted butter at room temperature
200 g granulated sugar
2 ml vanilla extract
200 g plain flour
2,5 tsp baking powder
5 medium eggs
200 g frozen lingonberries
finely grated zest of 3 clementines

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

  2. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla, then cover and set aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder well.

  4. Add the eggs to the sugar/butter mixture, one at a time and with a tablespoon of the flour mixture and incorporate well, before adding the next one.

  5. Finally stir in the frozen lingonberries and the zest carefully, just enough to distribute them evenly in the mixture. It will go a bit stiff, as the berries will cool it down.

  6. Place paper cupcake cases on a baking sheet and spoon or pipe in the mixture, careful not to overfill, which is what I did. I think about two-thirds should do it.

  7. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes, keep an eye on them, so they don't go too dark on top.

  8. Take out and let cool completely.

At this point they are ready to eat, but the decorating part is just as fun to do, so why stop here?

This particular decoration requires two types of icing - a fondant, which is malleable and can be shaped. I bought this ready made. It also came in different colours, I bought a white one and an orange one.


For the hats, I used red Non-Stop buttons - they are the Swedish version of Smarties.


The second type of icing is a liquid one for pouring, but should be made very thick by mixing small amounts of water into icing sugar. The idea is to scoop this over a cup cake and let it run down towards the edges, but it should be so thick that it dries as it is about to run over the edges. That will give the illusion of a melted snowman.

Here is where I made a mistake and gave in to the pleas from my Mum and Bip - to use up the icing we had made for the gingersnaps, where icing sugar is mixed together with egg white. This had to be spread with a spatula and didn't run at all. Only the last two muffins got the proper icing, as the egg white based one ran out. Once again I need to learn to stand my ground when someone tries to persuade me to do something I know is wrong.

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