Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Preparing for St Patrick's Day? Need some cupcakes? Here is the answer: Guinness and Gingerbread cupcakes.
Readers of the recent Guinness and Chocolate Cake post will realise that after adding some of the black stuff to the mix, there is half a can left. Not a catastrophe by any means as all I would do is reach for a glass from the cupboard and voila! Problem solved. However, if drinking in the afternoon isn't your bag and you are still in cake making mode then frankly you could do such much worse than making these lovely little things.
I remember perusing Amazon and seeing this recipe book with the most gorgeous looking cake on the front and thinking that really I would like to have it on my shelf. As I have no semblance of self control I bought the recipe book, which is entitled 'Tea with Bea' and is chock full of lovely things all begging to be made and devoured. I was intrigued by this recipe which Bea describes as being somewhere between Lebkuchen and beer, and she is sort of right. Depth of flavour, moist, with the warmth of ginger = Yum.
The other thing that I like about these is their understated sense of drama. Cupcakes are often about prettiness, a certain girliness which I don't think these possess that much of. I measure this by Phill not looking too odd whilst eating one. If there is a handsome cupcake, here he is!
A note about quantities and frosting here. The recipe says it makes 24; I got 18. The frosting iced 14 of my cupcakes, but I am nowhere near an expert when it comes to decorating cakes and tend to be somewhere between generous and heavy handed. The 4 that were 'un-iced' I see as 'cook's perks'.
So, without further ado, I present:
Gingerbread Guinness Cupcakes, taken from 'Tea with Bea' (Recipes from Bea's of Bloomsbury)
250g black treacle/molasses
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
280g all purpose flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 ground cardamom
1/4 ground cloves
100g caster sugar
100g dark brown (muscavado) sugar
1 tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
200ml sunflower oil
chopped crystallised ginger, to decorate
For the frosting:
225g cream cheese
60g unsalted butter, softened
175g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 170c/Gas 5 and line a cupcake tin with papers.
Pour the Guinness and the treacle into a saucepan with tall sides (you will see why shortly)
Bring the mixture to a boil (over high heat to allow the treacle to 'melt' into the Guinness. Take off the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will fizz up and then dissipate, but be ready for it.
Let this mixture stand until completely cool.
Combine the eggs, both sugars, the grated ginger in a bowl (or in the bowl of a mixer as I did). Gradually add the oil, mix to combine, then add the Guinness mixture and mix until just combined.
Add the flour, baking powder and spices to the mix and stir until well blended but don't over beat.
Spoon the mixture (which is very runny - next time I would probably transfer to a jug and pour it) into the prepared cupcake cases. Fill about 4/5ths full as there is little rise whilst the cakes bake.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 - 25 minutes or so, until they feel springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the frosting: Put the butter and cream cheese on a bowl and mix thoroughly until it looks glossy. At this point add the icing sugar and beat until fluffy. This may take a while. Add the vanilla and the golden syrup and then mix to combine.
I used a large star nozzle to pipe the icing on. I piped reasonably swiftly in a circular motion. To finish, bedeck with a little jewel of crystallised ginger.