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Gingerbread Cupcakes

December 22, 2008

Gingerbread Cupcakes by Martha Stewart

Ingredients

Makes 10

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsulphered molasses
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 recipe Butter Glaze
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
  • 1 recipe Meringue Buttercream

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 jumbo muffin tins with paper baking cups, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.
  3. Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Butter Glaze

Ingredients

Makes 1 1/2 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk

Directions

  1. Place 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat; immediately pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugar. Add 4 teaspoons milk; whisk until mixture is smooth. Working quickly, dip the top of each cupcake into the glaze, and place cupcake right-side up on a wire rack.
  2. Repeat step 1; glaze remaining cupcakes. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes, before decorating.

Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients

Makes 1 3/4 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes

  • 6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Scald the cream, and pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.
  2. Let the glaze stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  3. For the smoothest possible surface, carefully dip the cupcakes into the prepared chocolate glaze. Let cupcakes drip, dripped-side down, for several seconds, and then turn right-side up. Allow glaze to set before decorating.

Meringue Buttercream
Ingredients
Meringue buttercream is an excellent icing to use for piping. It is thick and forgiving, and it holds its shape well. To color, add food coloring drop by drop to prepared buttercream. As this recipe makes a large amount of icing, it can easily be divided in small bowls and each bowl made into a different color.

Makes 5 cups

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and 1/3 cup water to a boil, and boil until syrup reaches soft-ball stage (a candy thermometer should read 238 degrees).
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low speed until they are foamy. Add the cream of tartar, and beat on medium high until the mixture itself is stiff but not dry.
  3. With the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup into the egg-white mixture in a steady stream, and beat on high speed until steam is no longer visible, about 3 minutes. Beat in butter, piece by piece, on medium speed.
  4. Add the vanilla extract, and beat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the frosting is smooth and spreadable. If the frosting looks curdled at any point during the beating process, keep beating to smooth it out. If the frosting becomes too soft for piping, stir it over a large bowl of ice water until it stiffens.

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