November 21st is National Gingerbread Day!
“Gingerbread is a sweet food product flavored with ginger and typically using honey or molasses (treacle) rather than just sugar. Gingerbread foods vary, ranging from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. The different types likely share a common origin.
The first documented trade of gingerbread biscuits dates to the 16th century, where they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers’ markets. One hundred years later the town of Market Drayton in Shropshire, UK became known for its gingerbread, as is proudly displayed on their town’s welcome sign. The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates back to 1793; however, it was probably made earlier, as ginger was stocked in high street businesses from the 1640s. Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.” (Source)
While my first thought of gingerbread went to gingerbread men and gingerbread houses, I knew I wanted to make a soft gingerbread dessert. Note: I have never made a gingerbread house. I need to make a gingerbread house! I did some searching and found a recipe for gingerbread cupcakes. Ok, now what kind of frosting? I knew a cream cheese frosting would be really good, but that wasn’t thrilling me. I decided on a salted caramel frosting. The combination is wonderful! The cupcakes are a delight- rich with molasses and spices, while the frosting has a little hint of salt that hits your tongue, followed by the sweetness of the caramel. Don’t be too surprised when I post this combination in other recipes!
One Year Ago: Apple Cider Bread Pudding
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes 18 cupcakes
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup molasses
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
3 tablespoons milk
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 18 muffin cups with liners. Set aside.
In a small heat-safe bowl, whisk together the boiling water and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, spices, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the molasses and the water/baking soda mixture, and mix well. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add in the flour mixture. Add in the eggs and mix until well combined. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the pan onto cooling racks and let cool completely.
To make the salted caramel sauce:
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, or is a medium brown color. Note: you will usually see the color start to change in the center of the pan. Once you see that happening, start to carefully swirl the pan the make sure the sugar mixture doesn’t burn in the center.
Once the mixture has turned medium brown, remove from the heat and add in the butter. Carefully stir until the butter has melted, then add in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble and boil when the cream is added, so be careful and don’t lean directly over the pan. Return the pan to the heat, this time over low, and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Once it is smooth, remove from the heat and add in the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Let cool completely before using it in the frosting. Note: The caramel sauce can be refrigerated until needed. Use any leftover sauce over ice cream or apple pie!
To make the frosting:
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and salted caramel sauce. Add in the powdered sugar, alternating it with the milk. Mix until you have the frosting consistency you like (adding more powdered sugar or milk to get the consistency you prefer).
To finish the cupcakes:
Once the cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes. Note: I used a pastry bag with a star tip. Once the cupcakes are frosted, drizzle on additional salted caramel sauce, if desired. Enjoy!
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