Tomorrow is bring a dozen cupcakes to work day so I thought I would bring back a classic recipe from Gourmet magazine (January 1990, as I recall.)
1. These are very rich. You’ll want to eat them all, but start slowly. One or two will be good per sitting.
2. I used commercially made crystallized ginger as a garnish. If you have the time, make your own. Here’s AB’s recipe, if you need a good one.
3. Unlike my usual measure by eye technique, I followed this recipe exactly. I think that is the key to success here. But you do what you want. Your call, amigo!
So here we go. First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then…
In a large bowl, mix the following:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt. It’s what I had)
Now, in another bowl, cream the following with an electric mixer:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
Then add the following to the butter / sugar mixture:
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
Beat just until mixed. Set aside for a moment.
Heat a half cup of water to boiling. I used a microwave to speed things up.
Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the hot water. Stir until dissolved.
Slowly pour the solution into the molasses mixture. Beat until thoroughly mixed.
Finally, pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients.
Stir with a spoon until smooth.
Okay, now the fun part:
Either spray a muffin pan with a non-stick cooking spray or use cupcake liners. Do one or the other. Trust me on this one.
Spoon the cupcake batter into the liners. Fill half-way. These will rise so don’t worry. And when they are done baking, they should have a flat top, or even slightly indented. No crowns here.
Bake in the 350 degree, preheated oven for 20 minutes. Not 18, not 21. Twenty minutes. Of course, your time may vary (I suppose) if your oven varies from mine. But go with 20 minutes. Then stick a toothpick in one. If it comes out clean, you are done! With this part.
When done, set aside on a cooling rack to…do I really need to say it?
For the frosting:
In another bowl, cream together:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons of butter (salted is fine)
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix until smooth.
zest from one lemon
2 teaspoons of lemon juice OR three drops of pure lemon oil extract. (I used the latter)
Mix it all together, then cool in the refrigerator for about a half hour. This will also force you to give the cupcakes more time to cool. Don’t even think about eating one yet. Okay, go ahead and think about it – but don’t do it!!
Okay, so your frosting has cooled for 30 minutes. Carefully take the cupcakes out of the pan and plate as desired. Spoon some frosting on top, swirl or smooth as desired.
Top each cupcake with one or two pieces of crystallized ginger. This is powerful stuff so don’t over do it.
Keep cool in the fridge until ready to serve.
Have cold milk on stand-by!
Enjoy – and Merry Christmas from the staff at Exploding Potatoes!