For Christmas, I received a cupcake set from one of my friends. So time to bake some cupcakes! With such fantastic weather, we needed a winter warmer and these cupcakes did just the trick. I found the recipe in my trusted The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. If you’re not a big fan of icing (like me) you can leave out the icing altogether, the cupcakes are delicious without it as well. If, like my boyfriend, you think the icing is the best part then you can go all the way!
First, for the ginger frosting, put 100 ml milk and 1 large piece of fresh ginger (peeled and chopped into 4 chunks) in a jug, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible. Preheat the oven to 160 C and line a 12-hole cupcake tray with paper cases.
Put 120 g plain flour, 140 g caster sugar, 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground allspice, a pinch of salt and 40 g softened butter in a bowl and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Add half of 120 ml milk and beat again until just incorporated. Whisk the rest of the milk with 1 egg and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated. Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Stir in 200 g chopped stem ginger in syrup (reserve 100 ml of the syrup) by hand until evenly dispersed.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 min until golden brown. While the cupcakes are baking, pour the reserved ginger syrup and 100 ml water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil until reduced by one-third. When the hot cupcakes come out of the oven, pour a tablespoon of syrup over each one. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before transferring to a wire-rack to cool completely.
For the ginger frosting, beat together 400 g icing sugar, 125 g softened butter and the zest of 1/2 lemon on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to low speed and slowly pour the ginger-infused milk into the butter mixture (discarding the chunks of ginger). Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer to high speed and continue beating for at least 5 min until the frosting is light and fluffy.
When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the ginger frosting on top and finish with some more chopped stem ginger and lemon zest if you like. Enjoy!
Tip: if you can’t find stem ginger in syrup (in Belgium, try the English supermarket Stone Manor if you need some, they are the only ones that stock it as far as I know), use candied ginger instead. To make the syrup, use 100 ml water, 50 g sugar and a grated thumb-size piece of ginger instead, straining it before pouring on the cupcakes. Or you can just leave out the syrup altogether, your cakes will still be delicious!