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
Christmas Cupcakes to Celebrate Baby’s First Christmas
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.
Congratulations Thanh! I am so thrilled for you all, and I’m so glad we can talk publically about the wee one’s arrival ;). Beautiful post – so seasonal, so perfect to boost your energy when you need it most! I can’t imagine how tiresome and time consuming a baby is but I look forward to 2013 and seeing more from you over on FB as well as here on your beautiful blog. Merry Christmas sweetpea! Xxx
Thanks, Jodie! It has been a whirlwind so far but everything has been worth it for our little guy 🙂 I also wish you and your husband a wonderful Christmas, particularly given the recent events and hope your husband will have a super speedy recovery xxx
Congratulations! I found both pregnancy and sleep deprivation to be the best excuses ever to eat chocolate.
All the best in the New Year for the growing Little Bird family.
That’s very true 😉 I foresee a fair bit of sleep deprivation in the coming months so you might see more recipes using chocolate here!
My most heartfelt congratulations Thanh, to you and your husband. Tis only the beginning 😉 Enjoy these treasured early days, the wee toes and the wrinkly fingers! Oh and the first smile at around five weeks! So much to look forward to! And a perfect way to celebrate the birth of more than one baby 🙂 xxxx
Thank you, Carrie 🙂 And especially a big thank you for all of your advice during my pregnancy. Our little one has been smiling since day 1, though whether he is really smiling, we won’t know but we’ll take them anyway 🙂 I can’t believe how fast time has already flown. I already feel nostalgic for those days immediately after his birth!
Congratulations Thanh! Beautiful post.. I am amazed you got time to so much photography 🙂
Merry Christmas and Happy holidays!
Merry Christmas to you also, Ashima! I’m also amazed that I managed to squeeze in some blogging and photography, but I feel better for it. It’s good to have some “me” time 🙂
So great to read a post from you!! and Congrats!!! Ah, life with a newborn is tiring but wonderful! So happy that you and your husband have a little bundle of joy AND this will surely make Christmas that much more special this year! 🙂
Ah yes, I have been a bit absent from the blog as of late but hopefully there will be more activity here soon. The fact that I have found time to even respond to comments right now is promising 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and your family also!
Many congratulations to the new family!!!!
Thank you, Lindi! I’m still pinching myself!
Congratulations Thanh 🙂 I am so happy for you and your husband and of course the new bub!!! That’s the reason you haven’t been posting as much ~ YAY!!! Celebrating Christmas for the first time how exciting!
You are turning into superwoman! Being able to look after a new born and also be able to make these cupcakes, plate them so nicely and take AMAZING photos of them! WOW!
All the best to you and your family and may 2013 be just as wonderful and exciting!
Thank you 🙂 I don’t feel like superwoman at all but I had a burst of energy yesterday and took advantage of it before it disappeared! As I mentioned above, it’s also nice to finally have some “me” time and do something which is not related to milk or nappies. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas!
Congratulationsa, May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!
Thank you, Mary! We have indeed been blessed with our son’s arrival in time for Christmas this year, making it an extra special time of year for us. I hope you are also having a lovely Christmas!
Hearty congrats Thanh ! It’s amazing that somehow you find out time for blogging…And Nigella. Even I posted one of Nigella for Christmas ! Your cupcakes have all come out perfect.And yes,the icing is absolutely exotic !
Enjoy Motherhood…Love & Regards,
Thank you 🙂 Hopefully I will manage to find more time for blogging as I find a routine with the Little One. Just had another cupcake this afternoon with a mug of tea … they tasted even better today! Merry Christmas to you!
What wonderful news 🙂 Congratulations Thanh and hubby and a big welcome to the little baby! I’m so happy for you. Your little son is lucky to have such a talented mom with superpowers 🙂 Hope you guys had a lovely Christmas and here’s to many more!
Thanks, Rushi 🙂 Hope you and your husband also had a wonderful Christmas. Catch up soon 🙂
I’m so happy for you, that’s a lovely news!
Thanks, Manu! Happy New Year to you and your family!
Ooooh!! Congratulations!! I though: “How little updates lately!”.
Now, I see, no wonder!! You had a great reason!! Or rather, a small and adorable one 😉
Happy for you two 😉 Special Christmas this year!
I have this recipe marked in the book, but I haven’t had the chance, I always end up messing with something else.
But I love such a simple but significant decor.
Merry Christmas, and a happy new year for this bigger family 😉
Thank you, Paula! Hopefully I will be back on the blog a bit more soon … I have so much planned but so little time …
I hope you also had a wonderful Christmas and here’s wishing you a lovely 2013!
Great news Thanh! Many many congratulations to you both. The nicest Christmas present, I would say.
The cupcakes are looking extra festive with the simplicity with which they have been presented:) Loving… loving the red currants on top!
Wish you and the little one a very happy new year.
Thank you so much 🙂 Our little boy was indeed a wonderful Christmas present. We feel so blessed to have him with us 🙂 Wishing you a fantastic New Year also!
Congrats Thanh! Love the currants on the cupcakes!
Thanks, Vy! The redcurrants were a little hard to find at this time of the year but they do make the cupcakes look very Christmassy. I’m glad you like.
Congratulations! And Happy Christmas! You must be completely over the moon 🙂 Here’s to an incredible 2013!
Yes, definitely over the moon 🙂 Wishing you a fanstastic 2013 also!
Such wonderful news Thanh, congratulations! What a happy and perfect way to end the year. xxxx
Thanks, Nicola! Indeed it was 🙂 I’m still pinching myself that we have a little boy to call our own. Happy New Year!!
Congratulations Thanh!!! BIG HUG! Such wonderful piece of news.
I remember my ‘nesting’ period so well. I went crazy with all the cleaning and clearing. 🙂
The cupcakes looks fantastic. You still found time to post this; Kudos!
Thanks, Anita! Oh I was constantly cleaning and re-organising the home – it drove my husband mad! 😉 And I still didn’t get to do everything on time. Oh well … I think my nesting period might be never-ending!
Wow congratulations. I had no idea. What a lovely surprise.
Thanks, Heather! I didn’t mention my pregnancy on my blog, thinking I would keep personal things private. But now that he’s here, it’s hard to keep it a secret 😉 Happy New Year to you!
Congratulations!! That’s fantastic news, I am so happy for you!
I am amazed that you still manage to find the time to make those beautiful beautiful cupcakes and shoot those terrific pictures..I think you are a bit of a superwoman! 🙂
Thanks, Caroline! Time is something I struggle with at the moment but it feels good to have some “me” time when I can manage it. I hope to be posting much more soon on this blog.
Btw, I can’t wait to hear about your trip!
How did I miss this marvellous news?! 🙁
Congratulations to all of you xxx
The recipe sounds yummy…perfect flavor for the Christmas party and I think the kids are also going to love these cup cakes.
Wow, this looks so delicious. This is really very tasty. One of my favs!