Simnel muffins
250g/9oz mixed dried fruit
grated zest and juice 1 medium orange
175g/6oz butter, softened
175g/6oz golden caster sugar
3 egg, beaten
300g/10oz self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 tbsp milk
175g/6oz marzipan

For Decorating:
20g/8oz icing sugar
2 tbsp orange juice for mixing
sugar eggs or mini eggs
1 Tip the fruit into a bowl, add the zest and juice and microwave on Medium for 2 mins (or leave to soak for 1hr). Line a 12 hole deep muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Heat the oven to 180ºC/ fan 160ºC/ Gas 4.
Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, spices and milk until light and fluffy, about 3-5 mins. Add the fruit and mix together well.
2 Half fill the muffin cases with the mixture. Devide the marzipan into 12 equal pieces, roll into balls, then flatten with your thumb. Put one into each muffin case and spoon the rest of the mixture over. Bake for 25-30 mins, until risen, golden and firm to touch.
3 Beat together the icing sugar and orange juice to make icing thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Drizzle over the cooled muffins, then top each one with a cluster of eggs.


Cranberry blondies

125g /4½ oz butter, softened plus, extra for greasing
200g /7 oz soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g /9 oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g /3½ oz dried or frozen cranberries
icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a shallow 20-cm/8-inch square baking tin.
Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk together until pale and creamy. Gradually whisk the eggs and vanilla into the mixture.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and beat together until well mixed. Add the cranberries and stir together until combined. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.
Leave the blondies to cool in the tin, then dust them with sifted icing sugar to decorate and cut into squares before serving.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
* 140 g/5 oz plain flour * 1½ tbsp cocoa powder
* ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
* ½ tsp baking powder
* pinch of salt
* 120 ml/4 fl oz buttermilk * 1 tsp vinegar
* ½ tsp vanilla extract
* 1tsp red food colouring
* 55 g/2 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
* 170 g/6 oz sugar
* 2 eggs

For the icing 
* 110 g/4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
* 110 g/4 oz cream cheese, room temperature * 450 g/1 lb icing sugar, sifted
* ½ vanilla pod
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* coloured sprinkles, to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line a 12-hole non-stick muffin tin with paper cases.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate, baking powder (or cream of tartar), and salt into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and food colouring together until blended.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the flour mixture, a third at a time, alternating with a third of the buttermilk mixture, until all is mixed in.
4. Divide the mixture between the paper cases. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 20 minutes until springy to the touch. Remove and turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool.
5. To make the icing, beat the butter and cheese until creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat until combined. Split the half vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds into the icing. Add the vanilla.
6. Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a star nozzle and ice the cupcakes, starting from the outside and working in towards the middle. Decorate with coloured sprinkles.