Having been born and grown up in a Western environment, you really can’t pass by a year without noticing the big kerfuffle about Christmas. No matter if you’re religious or not, Australians take it as a great excuse to gather together friends and family for sessions of excess eating and sharing…and then there’s always the heady thrill of the Boxing Day sales the day after to work off all of those Christmas calories 😉
Gingerbread biscuits have always been a favourite of mine. Iced in a range of garish colours and designs, the simplest biscuit can immediately brighten up the day of the crankiest child. It was with some surprise about a year ago that I discovered that you could actually get real “gingerbread”: soft, light as air and aromatically spiced.
It was my good foodie friend Kulinary Adventures of Kath who had made these delightful cupcakes at the bake sale we held a few months ago, and despite it not being any time near Christmas, they went down an absolute treat as people were intrigued by the unique combination of gingerbread and maple. As soon as I tasted one myself, I knew these would be the perfect thing for Christmas (or even Thanksgiving), and so asked Kath for the recipe..which she was more than happy to give me, of course 🙂
For the gingerbread cupcakes, you will need:
- 125g softened unsalted butter;
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar;
- 1 egg;
- 1/2 cup molasses (look in the health food section of your supermarket);
- 1/2 cup water;
- 1 + 1/3 cup plain flour;
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder;
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda;
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon;
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger;
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg;
- 1/4 teaspoon ground all spice.
For the icing, you will need:
- 90g softened unsalted butter;
- 30g cream cheese, softened;
- 60ml maple syrup (the thicker imitation one is best);
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract;
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar;
- 1 cup icing sugar.
In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the water and molasses. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicard and the spices, and add to the mixture. Beat on a low speed until combined, then beat on a medium speed for two minutes.
Fill 12 cupcake cases two-thirds full.
Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tray, before removing to a cooling rack.
For the icing, cream the butter, cream cheese and brown sugar in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Sift the icing sugar and gradually beat in until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
Depending on consistency and how you would like to ice the cupcakes, more icing sugar can be added to stiffen the mixture, or alternatively, icing can be refrigerated before icing the cupcakes, especially during summer. Place icing in a piping bag to ice cupcakes or spread on with a spatula.
Decorate as you like. I just sprinkled a few simple silver cachous balls over each cupcake 🙂
Enjoy your weekend, lovelies! For next week, look out for my recipe for Oatmeal Hotcakes with Berry Compote (perfect for entertaining overnight guests the morning after Christmas feasts!), a review of Barrafina Tapas in the city, and an amazing Cherry & Raspberry Scottish Trifle (all the ingredients available from your local Aldi supermarket). Catch you all then xx