Saturday, January 11, 2014

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Home Cooking

Thanks to my overestimate of the amount of cream cheese frosting required to top my banana cake, I had a whole container's worth left to use. I started looking for alternative things to eat with cream cheese frosting. Carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes are obvious choices but I then found the less conventional suggestion of cream cheese paired with gingerbread. Thus, my gingerbread cupcakes were born.

The original recipe is for gingerbread cupcakes with molasses cream cheese frosting. Obviously, since I was aiming to use up my frosting, I wasn't about to make up a new batch. If you want molasses cream cheese frosting for your cupcakes, feel free to click the original link. Alternatively, if you like plain cream cheese frosting and need a refresher course on how to whip some together, I've included a recipe here that should provide the right amount. 

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 12-18

  • 3 and 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 115g butter, melted
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 12 tbsp molasses
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
For cream cheese frosting:
  • 125g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 70g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves into a medium-sized bowl.
3. Whisk together the brown sugar, butter, eggs and molasses in a large bowl until blended.
4. Add some of the water then some of the dry ingredients to the batter. Continue alternating water and dry ingredients until everything is added and smooth.
5. Fill each paper liner with 1/3 cup of batter, which should end up about 1/2cm below the top edge of the liner.
6. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops feel firm and an inserted skewer comes out clean, approximately 15-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before icing.
7. Meanwhile, make the icing by beating together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the icing sugar gradually until it is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest. You may make this in advance and refrigerate before use.
8. I piped the cream cheese icing onto my cupcakes but you can use a spatula to just smooth a layer over the top too.

I haven't always had good luck making cupcakes. Usually, when I try smaller versions of actual cake (e.g. carrot cupcakes or baby mudcakes) it turns out fine but when I've actually followed a plain cupcake recipe, something has gone wrong. I know that ginger cupcakes aren't 'plain' but these did turn out very good.

The cupcakes themselves were moist, soft and well-formed with a subtle ginger twang. This mildly spiced base was perfectly paired with the creamy, sweet and slight tanginess of the cream cheese frosting. This isn't a match I would have come up with myself but it works surprisingly well.

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