Friday, 20 July 2012

Summery Ginger Cupcakes

If you like the taste of gingerbread, you'll love these. But forget heavy, stodgy ginger cake or Christmassy gingerbread biscuits - let's leave those for cold, dark, winter days. These are as light as a feather, and perfect for a summer's day. Admittedly, the sun has been a bit shy so far this year; don't worry - these will brighten your day in an instant!

I created this recipe myself, after I wanted to bake the other day, and realised I didn't have any butter. I searched online and found a chocolate cake recipe which used oil instead of butter. When I made it, I wasn't too impressed by the flavour. What I did like was the light, airy texture of the sponge. So I made a few substitutions: cocoa powder for spices, caster sugar for dark brown soft sugar, and golden syrup for black treacle. The icing was another experiment, but I think it complements the cakes perfectly.

These are perfect for baking with children, as they are so simple to make.

Summery Ginger Cupcakes

For the cakes:

175g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 generous teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs, beaten
150g dark brown soft sugar
150ml semi-skimmed milk
150ml sunflower oil
1½ tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon black treacle

For the frosting:

400g icing sugar
100g butter, soft
80g full fat cream cheese (eg Philadelphia)
1 tablespoon syrup from a jar of stem ginger (or add more to taste)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cake cases.

2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix. 

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the oil, milk, syrup, treacle and eggs. Beat until you have a smooth, liquid batter.

4. Pour the batter into a jug and fill the cupcake cases two-thirds full.

5. Bake for around 15 minutes, or until done. When ready, the top of the cakes should spring back when pressed lightly. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

6. While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting by beating together the soft butter and cream cheese. Add the icing sugar (ideally sifted, to get rid of any lumps) and the ginger syrup. I added a tablespoon to give a subtle flavour, but you can add more to taste if you prefer a stronger taste. Beat on low speed until light and fluffy.

7. When the cakes are cool, top with the frosting, and any decorations you might want to add - perhaps a sliver of crystallised ginger or a very light dusting of cinammon. I kept mine simple and left them as they were.

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