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Ginger Island Cupcakes

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Ginger Island Cupcakes

Ginger Island Cupcakes
Lisa Warninger
Provided by:
total prep
Pastry chef Claudia Fleming created one of the moistest, gingeriest, ginger-stout cakes on the planet in her cookbook The Last Course. I love that cake, but I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I started tweaking it to see how far I could take it. I added whole-wheat pastry flour and buckwheat flour for nutty heft, swapped out the Guinness for intense, locally made Rogue chocolate stout, and threw in more fresh ginger and a pinch of dry mustard for heat. Then I baked it into cupcakes and gave them a ginger syrup bath for good measure. The result is a seriously moist, seriously intense spice cake with a fluffy mound of maple cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Recipe courtesy of The Sugar Cube: 50 Deliciously Twisted Treats from the Sweetest Little Food Cart on the Planet by Kir Jensen/Chronicle Books, 2012.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut (preferably Angel Flake) for garnish
  • CUPCAKES:
  • 1 cup chocolate stout beer
  • 1 cup blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon yellow mustard powder
  • GINGER SYRUP:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and freshly grated ginger
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 recipe Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
  • MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (Makes 2 1/2 cups):
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened (I prefer Philadelphia)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, plus more to taste (optional) (or make it fancy with seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons grade B maple syrup

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the coconut in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.

  • To make the cupcakes: In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, combine the stout and molasses and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat and whisk in the baking soda. Set aside to cool and allow the foam to subside. When cool, whisk in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, grated ginger, vanilla, and eggs (be sure the pot and the mixture are cool or the eggs might curdle).
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour, buckwheat flour, ground ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and mustard powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined.
  • Divide the batter equally among the muffin cups, leaving about 1/4-inch of room at the top. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes.

  • To make the ginger syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and grated ginger and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil for 1 to 2 minutes to concentrate the flavors. (You can make the syrup a few days in advance; refrigerate until ready to use.)
  • While the cupcakes are still hot, brush the tops with ginger syrup. (You won’t use it all. Just refrigerate the rest and use it in a cocktail or in the Fizzy Lifting Drink).

  • To make the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a medium bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup and beat until fluffy. Taste and add more salt or vanilla (if desired).

  • Let cool completely before frosting with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting. Place a large pinch of toasted coconut on top for garnish.