My husband and I are delighted to announce the arrival of our first child, a healthy and bouncing little boy, in late November. He has inherited his mother’s love for sleep and eating, except, of course, his mother has been doing little of either in recent weeks 😉
In preparation for his arrival, I had lined up several posts in readiness for publishing on this blog in the coming months, but pregnancy is so often fraught with periods of distraction (particularly nesting in the third trimester) that my to-do list soon became a to-do item in itself. And since the Little One’s birth, I’m not even sure where that to-do list is anymore …
But as our Little One is approaching one month old (didn’t we just bring him home from the hospital??), bits and pieces of my former life are reappearing and I suddenly feel a sense of normality returning, if only very briefly. So I am stealing a moment right now to try and quickly post something, not to mention that I even found time to do some food photography this morning! Amazing how little sleep one really needs to function 😉
Christmas for us is often spent with family in France. But due to our Little One’s arrival at this time of the year, we are looking forward to not only our first Christmas together as a new family, but our first Christmas in Zurich. There has also been some relief in the knowledge that there will be no frantic long-distance travel which we have come to commonly associate with Christmas. Instead, Christmas this year has crept up on us calmy and silently. And despite being quite unprepared for the season’s celebrations due to the obvious distractions which a newborn brings to first-time parents, we have somehow managed to make last minute arrangements for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner.
To kick off the festive feasting, I felt it was only appropriate to bake a batch of Nigella’s Christmas Cupcakes from How to be a Domestic Goddess, in part because it is quite a seasonal recipe, but mostly because I have been in need of a calorie hit (ideally in chocolate form) to help me through the round-the-clock feeds that newborns demand on their breastfeeding mothers.
Looking at my notes in my much used copy of this baking bible, it gives me much comfort to see that I have been making these cupcakes since 2001. Who knew that my first attempt at this recipe over a decade ago would inadvertently lead to a Christmas tradition of sorts in the ensuing years?
These Christmas Cupcakes are essentially moist and light chocolate cupcakes with a hint of gingerbread spice to make them seasonally appropriate. In the book, Nigella suggests frosting them with white royal icing before decorating them with some fondant icing. For something quicker and simpler, I like to make a simple chocolate ganache and to use some red berries to decorate.
However you choose to decorate these Christmas Cupcakes, they are a delicious addition to any Christmas spread. And the fact that they are simple and quick to make (I made them whilst the Little One was sleeping and whilst I, myself, was half asleep) means that you can free up more time at this busy time of the year, whether to squeeze in some last-minute Christmas shopping or to perhaps just lie back and gaze adoringly at a new little being which you have brought into this world.
Never has the phrase, “eat, little bird” been more fitting than when you have a little babe to take care of.
Recipe adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
Makes 12 cupcakes