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Reindeer cupcakes

175g butter
165g caster sugar
½ tsp natural vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
110g self-raising flour
150g plain flour
160ml buttermilk
500g fondant icing coloured brown, 100g/4oz of it a paler brown
50g fondant icing coloured red
25g fondant icing coloured black
twigs or wire for the antlers and spaghetti for attaching the ears
For the ganache
140g chocolate, chopped
75ml double cream

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line the holes of a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Beat the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time. Add half the sifted flours and half the buttermilk, and mix on low speed until just combined. Mix in the remaining flours and buttermilk.
Divide the mix evenly among the paper cases. Gently smooth the tops (this will help the cupcakes to rise evenly).
Bake for 25-30 mins or until lightly golden and cooked when tested with a skewer. Allow to stand for 5 mins in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

To make the ganache, put the chocolate in a bowl, bring the cream to a simmer and pour it over the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Cool until firm.

Ice the cupcakes with ganache, then with brown fondant icing. Use the rest of the colours for the ears, eye and nose. Attach ears to the head by pushing a 3cm piece of spaghetti a little way into the ear, then pushing the other end into the head. See below to download more detailed instructions. Remember to warn people that not every element of the decoration is edible!

Recipe from Good Food magazine, December 2010

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