These Christmas stollen cupcakes stole my heart. I got the stollen pun out of the way in the first line. Now you (specifically my Dad, the pun master) can proceed with reading the stollen cupcake post without waiting to see if/when I would use the bad pun.
Each year, I like to share a new Christmas cupcake recipe (’tis the season for baking)! I’ve made gingerbread cupcakes, eggnog latte cupcakes, mulled wine cupcakes with roasted chestnut frosting, and panettone cupcakes. As I was debating what to make this year, I received a free copy of the inspiring book A World of Cake by Krystina Castella.
Cover photography (c) by Renee Anjanette Photography and Emily Brooke Sandor;used with permission from Storey Publishing
A World of Cake is not a recipe book (although it is jam packed with recipes); it is a history book. It traces cakes all over the world from the first cakes in 5000 BCE to those baked up today. Any casual baker with even the slightest interest in history would find A World of Cake a captivating read. Why didn’t we study the history of cake instead of the boring details of wars when I was in Junior High? We could have also skipped the history of the British royal family and instead reviewed the cake family trees where similar cakes (like all fried cakes, for example) are plotted family tree-style to show how they are related to each other.
Since I was looking for a Christmas recipe, I was of course interested to see what Krystina had to say about the history of Christmas cake and which Christmas cake recipes she included. You’ll have to read the book for the full list. However, since I ended up choosing stollen, I’ll tell you what she had to say about it:
Stollen is thought to have been first made in the early fifteenth century as a Christmas cake, and it is still being made for that holiday today. The folds of the cake, topped with white sugar, are said the represent the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling blankets. Dresden is the epicenter of stollen preparation, with a huge festival called Stollen Days held at the beginning of December to launch the Christmas season.
I slightly modified the stollen recipe from A World of Cake and also transformed it into cupcakes for this year’s Christmas cupcakes! I knew that Krystina would approve of the transformation because, in addition to writing A World of Cake, she also wrote the hugely popular book Crazy About Cupcakes!
Christmas Stollen Cupcakes Recipe
These Christmas stollen cupcakes are breakfasty and would be best served on Christmas morning – they are loaded with fruit (so they are sort of healthy, right?) but they are certainly not the dreaded ultra-heavy fruit cake. This is a recipe that can easily be modified. Look at my list of mix-ins, but feel free to play around and add your own!
Christmas Stollen Cupcakes – A Christmas Classic Transformed
- 2 C dried fruit I used 1/2 C of each of the following: raisins, dried cherries, dried currants, and dried cranberries
- 3 tbsp cherry liqueur
- 4 tbsp brandy
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 C warm water
- 1 C milk
- 3/4 C + 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 C all-purpose flour
- 1 C slivered almonds
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 C candied orange peels loosely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 C unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
Mix the dried fruit, cherry liqueur, and 3 tablespoons of brandy in a small bowl and set aside.
Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl. Let the mixture rest for five minutes.
Heat the milk, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of brandy, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Let cool.
Add the milk mixture to the yeast.
Gradually mix in 1 cup of the flour, beating until smooth. The dough will not look like typical bread dough. It will be soupy. Don't panic like I did! You didn't do anything wrong. It will work out just fine!
Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place for at least two hours - until it has doubled in size. (If you want to keep baking, you could use the two hours to make snickerdoodles or go play in the snow, make Christmas cards, and be merry.)
When the dough has risen, punch it down and mix in the dried fruit, almonds, candied orange peel, and zest.
Add the eggs, 3/4 cup of the butter, 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg.
Stir in 3 more cups of flour and mix the dough until smooth.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.
Knead in the remaining 1 cup of flour until smooth.
Divide batter evenly between 24 cupcake liners.
Melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter and brush it over the uncooked cupcakes.
Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the cardamom in a bowl.
Sprinkle the tops of the cupcakes with the mixture.
Cover the cupcake trays and let rise for 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. (While you are waiting, why not make some gingersnaps?)
Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Lemon Glaze Recipe
3/4 C powdered sugar
2 tbsp warm milk
1 tsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients and drizzle over stollen cupcakes.