Christmas means gingerbread. That’s a given. There was no way around it.
But my fridge demanded a clear out before I could get down & dirty with any more holiday baking… and it seemed a crime to waste a bowl full of fluffy maple cream cheese frosting… So I went wild. Gingerbread + Maple Frosting. Yep, that’s right, I dared to pair two such mighty flavours… and while others might balk, I think it tasted divine.
Gingerbread Cupcakes (from Crazy About Cupcakes by Kristina Castella)
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup light molasses
2 teaspoons lemon zest (I omitted this)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sour cream (I used yoghurt instead, as that was what I had on hand)
* I also added 2 tablespoons of chopped crystallized ginger for an extra spicy kick
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (350 F for dark pans). Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add the egg, molasses, and lemon zest to creamed mixture. Beat well.
3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
4. Add portions of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with portions of the sour cream, until they are completely integrated, about 30 seconds.
5. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan on a wire rack.
*To be completely honest, I found these just a wee bit dense, slightly more muffin than cupcake-like, but the spices were perfect and I ended up gobbling 4 anyway..so give ’em a go and let me know what you think. Ironically, I used this recipe instead of this month’s MSC pick because so many of my lovely bakemates found that one dense and dry. doh. I thought the sour cream / yoghurt would offer more moisture and a lighter texture, but perhaps not. That’ll teach me to shirk my monthly duties. Although I wasn’t enamoured with the cupcakes themselves, I think the recipe works beautifully for whoopie pies. To make whoopies (hyuk hyuk), line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and use a piping bag to pipe out 2 inch rounds of dough. Bake them for about 5 minutes until puffy and golden at the edges (sorry, can’t remember exactly how long they took). Fill with maple cream cheese frosting and enjoy xx
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. unsalted butter (cut into small chunks)
5-7 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp. maple extract (if you’re lucky enough to have it!)
Bung the cream cheese and butter in the food processor and whizz til combined. Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar along with the maple syrup and maple extract, then whizz again. Add the rest of the powdered sugar cup by cup, processing after each addition, until you get the desired consistency