May 25, 2012

Hello Cupcake...

For weeks I've been craving cake... so, enough talk and a little more action.   I decided that since I had been to the farmer's market and had eaten a relatively healthy lunch that cupcakes were definitely in order.

If I'm going to make cupcakes, more often than not I would go all in.  Chocolate.  The darker & richer the better...  however since it is spring and this weekend marks the "un-official" start to summer I wanted to lighten it up a bit and do something a little different.

If you are anything like me, sometimes you forget all the little treasures you have stashed in your kitchen.  I buy things that interest me and then put them away for when the mood strikes, but the unfortunate truth is that occasionally they are forgotten until I stumble upon them (usually when I'm looking for something else).

Well, the latest treasure to be unearthed was candied ginger.  I thought it might make an interesting garnish for the cupcake and that was basically my jumping off point.
(well, that and my persistent sweet tooth...)

If you are attending (or hosting) a BBQ this weekend, these would make a great finale.  They are light and not overly sweet and another plus is that the cake can be made ahead and frozen for a few days, then thawed and frosted the day of. 

For ginger flavor, I would normally add ground ginger, however I've decided to infuse them with a ginger syrup in lieu of the adding the powder to the batter. I wanted a lighter ginger flavor and to avoid a "gingerbread" taste.  If you prefer to use ground ginger, 1/2 - 1 tsp will do the trick.

Ginger Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
- cake recipe adapted from the kitchn
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line muffin tins with cupcake papers,  you'll need approximately 22
  3. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat until thoroughly incorporated then beat in flour, salt and baking powder.
  4. Stir in milk and vanilla. Beat on low for 30 seconds, then on high for 3 minutes.
  5. Scoop batter into cupcake pan, I always use a cookie scoop to ensure uniformity.
  6. Bake for approximately 15 - 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool slightly, then using a thin skewer pierce a few holes into the top of the cupcake and lightly brush with the ginger simple syrup.  Try not to be too heavy with the syrup, or you will end up with mushy cupcakes. 
  8. When completely cooled, frost with lemon buttercream and top with finely sliced candied ginger.

Ginger Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger,  sliced into coins
Combine everything in a small pot and bring a boil, stirring occasionally.  When sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat and cool completely. 
Once the syrup is cooled, strain the ginger & discard.   Leftover syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
(I like to boil it down until it is very thick & syrupy and drizzle over vanilla bean ice cream or use it in cocktails!)

Lemon Buttercream
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat on low speed until combined, then on medium until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes)

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