This year marks a return to the Christmas traditions of old. The Christmas traditions that said we could skip all the Eastenders repeats on BBC One and go and live in Middle-Earth for four hours - and then, after coming out for a toilet break, run straight back in for another four hours. But with The Hobbit, Peter Jackson's more determined than ever to extend our stay, to the point where six chapters of a tiny kids book now go on for two hours and 40 minutes.
So, you're stuck in Middle-Earth, surrounded by bits and bobs from The Lord of the Rings Appendices, and you've run out of things to eat. Do you eat your cinema ticket? Chew your own leg off? How about nibbling on Gandalf's hat? Or swallowing the ring and cutting out another 6 hours of padding?
Well, now you can do two of those - not the leg - with our own Hobbit cupcakes. Continuing our string of Christmas movie-themed cakes, these Tolkien treats will make sure you and your company of greedy dwarves need never go hungry again.
Mix up some frosting with some green food colouring and squirt it all over a cupcake. Then, work some back colouring into white icing to make a grey colour. Shape this into a hat.
Now for the hard bit (ok, it's dead easy, whatever): mix some icing with cocoa powder to create a brown lump, not unlike a turd. Roll it out into a long string, then break off lots of tiny strands from the end. Roll a tiny ball between your fingers and stick the mini strings to the top before attaching it to the stick and placing it on top of the frosting.
And, just like magic (LOL, BECAUSE HE'S A WIZARD), you have a Gandalf cake:
Who doesn't want to nom on Benedict Cumberbatch?
Mix up some frosting, then divide it in two: one for red colouring, one for yellow. Place them both into a piping bag and ice the top of a cupcake. You should - if you don't screw up like me - end up with a two-colour, fiery topping. Make sure you leave a tiny amount in the piping bag at the end.
Grab a chunk of green icing and mould it into the shape of a Chewit. Insert some holes using a cake tester or small pointy object. Using that as a guide, roll out a sheet of green icing and cut a head shape into it, then a diagonal rectangle for the Smaug's neck. Finally, roll some red icing between your fingers to create little spikes. Arrange on the cupcake so that it looks like a dragon. If anyone asks you what makes this dragon Smaug, distract them by squeezing some frosting on to the top of the nose, so it looks like he's breathing fire. Sort of.
Awwww. Who's a tasty little Bumberbatch...?
This one is the most iconic and also the easiest to make. Mix up some black/grey frosting (perhaps add some crushed Oreos into the mix if you want it to taste better).
Then roll out some marzipan into a string and join it together into a circle. Squeeze the edges flat to make it stand up more, then plonk on top of the grey frosting.
Green frosting is your friend again...
One you've iced the cake, take some of that brown icing from earlier, create a little handle and hilt and place it on top. Finally, mix some blue colouring with icing and shape into the shape of a blade. Now start panicking that goblins are in your kitchen.
Faces are evil to do on a cake (white folk always come out looking sunburnt), so spend a good five minutes mixing together microscopic amounts of red colouring and white icing until you get a slightly pink-tinged colour. Roil this on to a surface and cut out a circle.
Use the brown icing from earlier to cut out the rough shape of hair, sideburns and a beard. Stick it bit by bit on top of the cake - the rougher the better.
Take some more of the pink icing and shape ear and nose-shaped blobs. Attach them to the bearded face. Do the same for the eyes using white icing - pipe on pupils and a smile using black icing. If you want to make a whole company of dwarves, add grey icing pieces for helmets, different colour hair and give some of them a frown. They may taste good, but dwarves, after all, are grumpy gits.
Some people recreate Bag End out of balloons. I'm not one of those people. I can barely get the outside of a Hobbit hole right. Still, here goes...
Mix up some yellow frosting and ice the cake in individual splodges, one at a time, to create a grassy effect. Then, roll out the remainder of your green icing and cut out a circle small enough to leave a centimetre margin around the outside.
Using the last of your brown icing, cut out more circles of the same size, then cut out a smaller circle within that to form a border. Take a knife and score ridges into the border before lining it up around the edge. Finally, take a palette knife and score ridges into the green circle to make it look like a door. A small blob of marzipan will make for a door handle.
In a hole in a cupcake there lived a - OM NOM NOM NOM NOM. The End.
For more movie-inspired cake ideas, head this way.