Monday, January 14, 2008

Gingerbread Cupcakes w/ Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

photo courtesy of the lovely Nayereh

Okay, so I know the holiday season is over and no one feels like hearing about gingerbread anymore but I wanted to post this anyway, because you know what? Better late than never. Right? Isn't that what they say? Okay then. Here we go. And from now on I promise to be more timely about posts.

I have been a Bobby Flay fan since I became an intensely addicted to Iron Chef America and since I visited Bar Americain last March, which I STILL recommend to New Yorkers looking for creative (and rather costly) meals. That being said, I usually avoid his recipes because they are so intensely complicated I just feel overwhelmed and inept after looking through them. I decided I wanted to use one of his recipes when making gingerbread because its such a multifaceted flavor that already has so many components, I might as well go Bobby Flay on it.

I usually am not the biggest fan of gingerbread, partially because I hate molasses and hate having to buy it for gingerbread, but also because I had such a dreadful and unsuccessful time attempting to make gingerbread men (they are harder than they look, dammit!) a few Decembers back. Still, I bought the most adorable Santa cupcake liners and I had to use them with something and I figured gingerbread cupcakes were the most holiday-related cupcake around. Bobby tops his cupcakes with a Carmelized Mango Buttercream, which sounds delicious but was a bit too adventurous (and complicated...hmph) for me. Instead I opted for Rachael Ray's pumpkin cream cheese frosting. A little complex, yet not too out there for a Christmas dinner at Yasmina's. Although, now that I think about it, Yasmina's Pakistani family loves Mango, so perhaps the Mango buttercream would have been more of a crowd-pleaser...

Either way, I thought the cupcakes turned out excellent and Nayereh managed to snap a photo before they were eaten up. They were moist, balanced, and not too strong (spiciness is exactly what I think turns off gingerbread haters). The ginger glaze between the cupcakes and the frosting adds a bit of moisture and more of a ginger kick (again, without too much intensity). I'd definitely recommend them if you feel like gingerbread without all those pesky little men.

Gingerbread Cupcakes
from Bobby Flay
makes 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons black strap molasses
3/4 cup water

For the ginger syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

For the ginger syrup, bring all the ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar has melted and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and infuse for 30 minutes. Remove ginger just before using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12-muffin tin cups with paper cupcake liners and spray the inside of each liner and the top of the pan with nonstick cooking spray (Instead of cooking spray, I invested in one of these which you fill with olive oil or whatever you like and reuse it. I love it and recommend it to everyone!).

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves into a medium bowl. Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and molasses in a large bowl until blended. Add some of the water to batter then some of the dry ingredients to the batter. Continue alternating with the water and flour until everything is added and smooth.

Fill each paper liner with 1/3 cup of the batter, about 1/4-inch below the top of the liner. Place into preheated oven and bake just until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted into the center come out clean, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove from the oven and brush the tops liberally with some of the ginger syrup. Allow cupcakes to cool prior to frosting.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
from Rachael Ray

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 orange, zested
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered confectioners' sugar

Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, nutmeg, orange zest and vanilla with hand mixer at medium speed. Beat in sugar until frosting is fluffy. Frost cupcakes and top with crystalized ginger or sprinkles.


Patricia Scarpin said...

I didn't make gingerbread or gingerbread men last Xmas, so these are making me drool! :)

Deborah said...

These sound delicious!! I really like Bobby Flay as well, but have only tried one of his recipes, and it was a simple green chili sauce that I now have to always have on my hamburgers!!

Kee said...

Mmmmm... these sound scrumpscious! Ginger & pumpkin are such a great combination. I shall definitely have to try making them!