I realize that Christmas is over and your desire for gingerbread may have gone with it, but these are really quite delicious; the perfect accompaniment to a cup of cocoa on a winter day, so bear with me here.
I’ve made these cupcakes at least 3 times over the month of December and recieved many compliments on them. The cake is a lighter alternative to traditional, heavy gingerbread or even gingerbread cookies, but the spicy flavor is maintained. I’ve topped mine with a creamy cinnamon-cream cheese frosting that provides a nice balance. A few red-hots on the top punch up the cinnamon factor and add a bit of color.
The recipe is very loosely based on a Bobby Flay recipe — I’ve made a few modifications to keep them from drying out. Some of the ingredients may seem a bit odd (half butter, half oil; sour cream), but they really help keep the cakes moist and light. As a note, the original recipe called for a mango-buttercream frosting that could be an interesting twist to extend these through the rest of the year. Frankly, any fruit or citrus addition could work nicely, but while it still cold and dark, I think these are perfect as-is.
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe
Makes 12-16 standard cupcakes
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons black strap molasses
1 cup sour cream (light is fine)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in a muffin tin. The recipe is for 12, but I’ve usually gotten about 16 cupcakes out of the recipe.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves into a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, oil, brown sugar, eggs, and molasses and whisk until well blended. Begin adding the dry ingredients, a third at a time, and alternate by adding in some of the sour cream. Continue alternating until all of the dry ingredients and sour cream are added and the batter is smooth.
Fill each paper liner with 1/3 cup of the batter, about 1/4-inch below the top of the liner. Place into preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the cupcakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Move to a rack to cool completely.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Frosts apx. 12 – 16 cupcakes
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons whipping cream (more if needed to acheive the consistency you desire)
Using a stand or hand mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in vanilla and cinnamon. Gradually add in powdered sugar, a little at a time until smooth and fluffy. Add in whipping cream and whip on high until frosting is smooth and creamy. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag (I just use a 1 qt Ziploc bag with the tip sliced off) and pipe onto cupcakes.
If desired, top each cupcake with a few red hot candies. Enjoy; preferably with a cup of steamy cocoa and a good book.