Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Ginger spice cupcakes with lemon icing

Beneath the purity of the white icing and the perfect white flowers lurks a heart of darkness - ginger cake, warming and spicy. The weather is most definitely dictating what I feel like cooking at the moment. It's cold and blustery and hours at a time are spent with rain splashing on the windows. It seems as good a reason as any to make some warming cupcakes. These have a bonus feelgood factor - as well as being delicious, the whole house is filled with the fragrant spices as they cook - it makes it very difficult to wait for them to cool down once they're out of the oven, but I managed!

The recipe is another from the Caked Crusader's blog (seem to have been getting a lot of my inspiration from there recently!) but from a little while back. May this year in fact. Hmm, must get round to making bookmarked recipes more quickly in future! The recipe appealed because for the disorganised baker it doesn't require you to have soft butter as you melt it anyway. This is good news for me because I invariably forget to allow enough time for butter to come to room temperature, especially in winter (and I have a cold kitchen too). I decided on a lemon icing because the fresh flavour of lemon really complements the spicy ginger cake.
Anyway, onto the recipe:
Ginger spice cupcakes with lemon icing
1 egg
120ml milk (whole or semi skimmed)
90g plain flour
30g self raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
80g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter
100g black treacle
25g golden syrup
For the icing:
200g icing sugar
juice of 1 lemon (plus a couple of tsp of hot water depending on how juicy your lemon is)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases.
- Place the butter, treacle and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gentle heat and stir constantly until the butter has melted, don't do what I did and forget about it until it hissed angrily and threatened to boil.
- Whisk together the milk and egg then add the ginger, cinnamon, mixed spice and caster sugar. Make sure your butter etc is melted and ready to add before whisking in the flours and bicarbonate of soda.
- Pour the warm butter mix into the flour mixture and stir. At first it will seem incredibly runny but keep stirring and you will feel it thicken.
- Spoon the mix into the paper cases. I found this easiest by pouring the mixture into a measuring jug and then using that to fill the cases - yes, it's more washing up, but so much quicker and easier and tidier (otherwise I'd have mixture all over the kitchen as it dripped about). Divide the mixture between the cases but bear in mind that the mixture rises quite a bit.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack.

When cool, make the icing by adding the lemon juice to the icing sugar. If the mixture seems too stiff, add a couple of tsps of hot (boiled) water but go carefully. I wanted the mixture quite stiff so it would sit on top of the cakes rather than run all over the place. It helped that my cakes didn't rise as much as the CC's cakes, and gave quite a good flat surface for icing. So don't despair if your cakes aren't reaching for the skies!

A picture of the deliciously dark interior of the cupcake. The cake itself was really light, but deliciously spicy. It reminded me slightly of McVities Jamaican Ginger cake, either that or parkin, so I suppose it was a hybrid of both their flavours. (I used to love Jamaican Ginger cake warmed in the microwave with golden syrup and bananas on it, served with Bird's custard - heaven!). A really really good cake, to be thoroughly recommended, especially when you want the flavour of parkin and autumn but don't want to wait all that time for parkin to cook!

Went down well at work too - some good compliments and a request for the recipe, so thanks, Caked Crusader.

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