When I blogged the first recipe I tried from Jennifer McGlinn's new book, Gingerbread, my friend Nancy commented that she'd also bought the book for herself. I was excited because I knew we'd bake something together via Twitter at some point! We finally got that chance this past week. There were a lot of good candidates for us to choose from, but in the end we went with the first recipe in the book - a simple gingerbread cake.
The author bakes the cake in an 8-cup Bundt pan but I wanted to halve the recipe so I decided to make cupcakes. The cupcakes were also easy to pop in the freezer and save for another time, which was a big draw. The recipe came together easily and my half recipe made 9 cupcakes, which baked in about 16 minutes. I decided to forgo frosting for now since I was going to freeze most of them, opting instead for a simple dusting of confectioners' sugar. I was surprised by the lightness of these cupcakes. Maybe it's a result of using cake flour in the recipe instead of all-purpose but these are tender and springy. The molasses flavor is strong; the cupcakes aren't very sweet nor are they spicy. My step-father happily gobbled them up and I liked them, but if I made them again it would probably be because of the texture more than the flavor. Nancy really enjoys the combination of lemon with gingerbread (I think she's done lemon curd as well as lemon cream cheese frosting) so maybe I'll try that when I retrieve my cupcakes from the freezer.
from Gingerbread by Jennifer McGlinn
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line wells of cupcake pan with paper liners. (I made 1/2 batch of the above recipe, which yielded 9 cupcakes.) (If using a Bundt pan or traditional cake pan, butter and flour the pan.)
Whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the brown sugar to the bowl and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Pour in the molasses and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, drop in the egg, and mix until incorporated, stopping at least once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and alternately add the flour mixture and hot water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl at least once or twice.
Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake pan, filling each about 2/3 full, and bake for about 16-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and set on a wire rack to cool completely. (If you're using an 8-cup Bundt pan, baking time will be closer to 45 minutes. Set the gingerbread on a wire rack to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before turning out to cool completely.)