1 For the cupcakes: heat the oven to 180°C (160° fan) 350°F gas 4. Place paper cases in a 12 hole bun tin.
2 Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is light and well mixed. Lightly fold in the ground almonds and almond extract.
3 Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave in the tin for a 5 minutes, then place on a wire rack to cool.
4 For the frosting: sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and gradually stir in the hot water until
5 smooth and thick. Stir in a few drops of food colouring.
6 Spoon the frosting on the cakes, allowing it to trickle down the sides. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals and decorate with sugar hearts and stars before the frosting sets.