All of these recipes are super simple, affordable and really tasty – a perfect way to spend some quality time with the kids.
Christmas Tree Cupcakes
This recipe is so simple, and a great one for getting the kids involved! With some simple green icing, these cupcakes become the perfect festive centrepiece!
For the cakes:
4oz caster sugar
4oz soft butter
4oz self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking powder
For the icing:
600g icing sugar, sifted
300g unsalted butter, softened
Green food colouring
Preheat the oven to 190°C / Fan 170°C / Gas 5. Then, line a cupcake tray with cases before you start – you’ll probably need about 12.
I like speedy baking; feel free to mix the ingredients in the traditional ways and orders if you so choose, but I literally throw all of the baking ingredients into my mixer in one go!
Once mixed, spoon the batter into the cupcake cases. Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes – keep an eye on your cakes and remove when golden brown.
Once cool, beat the icing sugar, butter and a few drops of the green food colouring together – add a little hot water if needed. Then pipe the icing to form a Christmas tree shape and sprinkle with decorations to replicate baubles – you could even add a star on top! Easy peasy but so effective!
Lemon Shortbread Fingers
This recipe is really easy and delicious. Shortbread biscuits make a tasty treat for the whole family, but a batch of these lovelies can be a great gift too. I make mine with gluten-free flour, but any kind of flour will do.
200g butter softened, plus extra for greasing
125g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
325g plain flour
Preheat the oven to 200°C / Fan 180°C / Gas 6.
Grease and line a traybake tin with baking parchment, around 23cm x 30cm. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until soft. Then add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix well.
Finally, add the flour and mix so that it starts to form a dough. Press the dough into the tin and press all along the edges and across so that you have an even layer. To finish, prick with a fork and dust with caster sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until pale golden brown. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into 18 fingers in the tin. Let it totally cool before serving – this will stop it from crumbling too much.
Make your biscuits in advance before the visitors descend – it can be stored in an air-tight container for up to a week – if you can resist it for that long! 😉
Mince Pie Ice-cream
This is super delicious, and will stop any leftover mince pies going to waste – if you haven’t eaten them all already! 😂
You can actually do this whatever you fancy too, if you have other leftover treats or mince pies are not your thing. It would work just as well with Christmas Pudding, yule log, shortbread or cookies.
- Remove the ice-cream from the freezer and allow 15/20 minutes for it to soften.
- Tip 500ml vanilla ice-cream into a bowl and mix through 4 broken up mince pies (or anything else you have spare) until evenly incorporated.
- Pop it back into a freezer-proof tub and let it refreeze before serving when you fancy it.
Simple, delicious and reduces Christmas food waste! 😋
This amount will serve 4-6 people.
My children adore making these gingerbread cookies and, since most of the ingredients will probably be in your pantry already, they’re cheap and easy to make too.
350g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
175g light brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
Sift the flour and mix with the bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon. Next, add the butter and blend until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (my kids adore doing this bit with their hands!).
Then, stir in the sugar, lightly beat in the egg and mix in the golden syrup. Mix until you get a dough, knead briefly and place in clingfilm in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Whilst the dough is cooling, pop the oven on at 200°C / Fan 180°C / Gas 6 and line some baking trays with baking paper.
Once cooled, either roll into balls and pop onto the trays or roll out to about 0.5cm thickness and use cutters to make the shapes you fancy – just make sure you leave ample space around each one as they will spread. 12-15 minutes is all they need and these tasty treats will be done!
After baking, cool on the tray for a good 15 minutes before you transfer them onto a cooling rack. Then, once completely cooled, let the kids loose with icing and sweets for an afternoon of fun.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
This cake is one of my favourite recipes for a few reasons… Firstly, it looks and tastes amazing!! Secondly, it’s so quick and easy to make. Thirdly, it makes an awesome celebration cake without any hard work or expensive ingredients! Win, win, win!
It’s a perfect alternative Christmas day pudding for those who don’t like Christmas pudding – just serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
For the cake:
150ml sunflower oil, plus extra for the tin
175g self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
130g caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
150ml semi-skimmed milk
For the icing:
100g unsalted butter
225g icing sugar (sieved)
40g cocoa powder
2½ tbsp milk (add more if needed)
Heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / Gas 4. Oil and line the base of two 18cm sandwich tins with baking paper.* Put the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix well. Then, add the wet ingredients and whisk with an electric mixer until smooth.
Split the mixture between the two tins and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and firm to the touch. (Use a fork to check if the cake’s done – if it comes out clean it’s ready, if not cook a little longer.) Leave the cake to cool before icing.
For the the icing, soften the butter, then add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and milk – whisk until smooth. Finally, sandwich the two cakes together with some of the icing in between, using the rest to cover the sides and the top of the cake. I find this cake is best kept refrigerated. Enjoy! 😋