12 Days of Christmas – Gingerbread Cupcakes

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Gingerbread is one of my favourite types of cake.  I’m not even that fussy about it being homemade, McVitie’s Jamaica Ginger Cake is amazing with a spread of butter on top.  Home baked is best though, especially when paired with this nutty, caramel-y brown butter frosting – delicious!

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I baked these cupcakes this past weekend for the Glasgow Baking Club Christmas meet up, which was a very lovely Sunday afternoon round at Bex beautiful flat!  It was just a small gathering of us this week but that made for a cosy chat around the kitchen table with good laughs and great cake. It was fun to see some of Bex decorations in ‘real life’ too after reading about them on her blog, they looked fab!

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My favourite part about these cute little cakes is the way they look.  I spotted those tartan cupcake cases in Paperchase last week and snapped them up right away.  The only problem with the dark gingerbread is that you don’t pick up on the tartan too well, next time I would probably double line them with a white coloured case first so the tartan would show up better.

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The snowflake cut outs on the top have been my Christmas baking trademark for the last couple of years- they’re from Lakeland.  For the last couple of years I have used them to decorate the Christmas cake with white fondant snowflakes but I still haven’t decided what to do this year.

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Browning the butter before making this buttercream makes such a difference.  Ever time I use brown butter frosting it gets rave reviews and people want to know what is in it to make it taste so good.  Browning the butter separates the milk and fat, causing the milk particles to sink and start to caramelize.  It can then be used in cookies, cakes, glazes and icing.  I find that it really shines in buttercream frosting though – make it and love it!

Gingerbread Cupcakes
recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery

140g unsalted butter, softened

150g caster sugar

50g dark brown sugar

60g black treacle

60g golden syrup

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

310g plain flour

1 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp salt

240ml (1cup) hot milk

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.  Line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases and set aside.

Beat together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add in the treacle, syrup and eggs, beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, spices, baking powder and salt.

Fold, or mix on a low speed, the dry ingredients into the batter, in three additions, alternatnig with the milk.  Be careful to not over mix.

Using an ice-cream scoop or a spoon, divide the batter between the cake cases.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes, until springy to touch.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.


Brown Butter Frosting

120g butter, melted and browned to give 1/2 cup (80ml)

2 cups icing sugar

2tbsp milk (more as required)

1 tsp vanilla extract

To brown the butter, melt it in a pan over a moderate heat.  It was start to bubble and crackle a bit.  Swirl the pan to keep it moving and browning evenly.  When it starts to turn a deep amber colour remove from the heat and pour in to a heat proof bowl to avoid burning.  Allow to cool for five minutes or so.

Add 1 cup of icing sugar, the milk and vanilla to the butter and beat until combined.  Add in the remaining icing sugar and beat until smooth.  Frost and decorate your cooled cupcakes as desired.