I made these cupcakes for my boss’ last day, which happened to be a few weeks ago. She happens to live in Providence, and we work in Boston, so her daily train commute was close to 3 hours, on a good day. We were all very sad to see her go, but were also understanding of why she left. She also happened to be one of the best bosses I have ever had (especially since she came after one of the very worst, so that was a breath of fresh air), and she will be very missed. The office is in a bit of a tizzy, what with hiring freezes and budget cuts, but as Tim Gunn would say, “make it work.” And that is exactly what we are doing.
Anyway, on to the cupcakes. I made these, well because I always bake when people leave, or come in, or have a birthday. In the office they like to think of me as the in house Betty Crocker. Because if it’s baked, chances are I made it. Although my colleague Lauren is working on it (and her birthday is coming up, and I need to figure out what to make for it).
Gingerbread I kind of chose from out of thin air, it’s winter (and a darn cold one at that), and gingerbread is one of those wintry foods. It’s not just for Christmas, people. I also happen to love cream cheese frosting with a passion, so anything I get to frost with it is a bonus. I found this recipe on allrecipes, and doubled it. I did a different frosting as well. The recipe probably would have made well over 2 dozen cupcakes, but I filled mine really a bit too high, so I got 24.
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup unsulfured molasses
2 egg yolks
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder (I used what I had in the cabinet, which is not Dutch process)
2-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup hot milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter or line with paper liners muffin tins.
Cream butter with the white sugar. Add the molasses and the eggs and egg yolks. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk (use a larger bowl/measuring cup than you think necessary, this bubbles up a lot).
Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the hot milk mixture.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tins. I poured at least 3/4 full, you might want to do more like 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes or until slightly springy to the touch. Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan and remove to a rack to cool.
For the frosting I did a very simple cream cheese frosting. I combined 1 stick of unsalted butter, 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese and mixed them together. I added in a splash of vanilla and then slowly added in about 3-4 cups of sifted powdered sugar. It made barely enough frosting, so I might add more butter next time. It was still quite delicious!