Gingerbread cupcakes

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RECIPE: I was testing recipes for wedding cupcakes and wanted something a bit different from the usual. This recipe was easy to follow and everyone raved about the results. They’ve got a great gingerbread flavour with the molasses creating strong undertones that make them really interesting (and tasty) to eat. The heat of the ginger is balanced nicely by the maple cream cheese frosting. If you’re converting the US measurements, write them down so you don’t accidentally use a wrong measurement halfway through. I topped the cupcakes with gingerbread hearts that I made from a Bourke Street Bakery recipe – any recipe would probably do.

COMPONENTS: The cake is very light and fluffy, and the first time I made it the cupcakes collapsed a little when I added the toppings. I possibly could have prevented this by creaming the butter and sugar for less time. It’s also important to cool the cakes in the tin for long enough that they firm up and don’t break apart during removal. Making the buttercream was straightforward, but it needs to be kept cool. If it’s a warm day, it might be necessary to cool it part way through so it doesn’t separate.

ASSEMBLY: The buttercream has no stabiliser (typically egg), so melts really quickly. It needs to be cooled before applying, and kept cool. I had terrible trouble with what is called ‘broken’ buttercream, which happens when it is too hot or too cold. Some recipes use either vegetable shortening, lard, or egg in some form to stabilise the buttercream so it’s better able to cope with the heat. I’ve tried all these methods and they are all an improvement. The gingerbread hearts were prepared well ahead of time and stored in a plastic container.

IMPRESSION: Great recipe once you get the techniques right. I’d consider swapping some of the butter for shortening, just to help stabilise the buttercream in hot weather. The gingerbread hearts made a great crunchy ‘topper’ for the cupcakes. They were a big hit!

Recipe from A Taste of Home (with US cup sizes)

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