I love gingerbread in all its forms, but cupcakes are the cutest of cakes and the sweet, spicy gingerbread goes wonderfully with this slightly sharp icing. This recipe should make about 12 muffin sized cupcakes, but I used shallower fairy cake type cases (is that distinction at all meaningful outside the UK?) and ended up with one extra large cupcake baked in a ramekin. Bonus! You can also go the more traditional route and bake it in a 900g / 2lb loaf tin.
115g / 4oz light muscavado sugar – this is my go to sugar for almost all baking, but you really need its richness in this recipe
85g / 3oz butter
170g / 6oz molasses or black treacle – I know that molasses is healthier (it’s less refined) and it’s easy enough to find here but it doesn’t come in the wonderful red tins that Lyle’s black treacle come in so in this case ending up with a pretty tin to keep things in wins over nutrition.
8oz plain flour – I use light brown flour, which is essentially half wholemeal half white, I think that balance gives the best flavour in most cakes but you can use what you like.
1 tsp bicarbonate soda / baking soda (exactly the same thing, just the UK / US naming)
150ml / 5 fl oz milk – I used oat milk
spices – the recipe I based this on used 1 tbsp of ground ginger and 1 tsp of mixed spice. I had no mixed spice, so I substituted cinnamon and after adding 1 tbsp of ginger I tasted the mixture. I could barely taste the ginger so I just kept adding more until it tasted good. All in all that was about 4-5 tbsp, but I love ginger. Tasting as you go is probably wise. At that point I decided it was gingery enough, but needed more of a kick so I through in a tsp of mild chili powder. I think the resulting flavour is wonderful, but I haven’t tested it on anyone else yet.
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c, 325 degrees f, gas mark 3.
Melt the butter, sugar and molasses or treacle. Mix the dry ingredients together, make a well in the centre and pour in the melted mixture and the eggs and milk. Beat well and pour into paper cases – the mixture will be pretty runny so I found that this was easiest with a measuring jug. Bake for about 20 minutes, until well risen and firm. A big cake should take 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours. Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Mix the zest and half the juice of a lemon in a bowl with a tbsp of Greek yogurt. Beat in icing sugar until it’s the right consistency and pipe onto cakes.
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