Monday, 29 October 2012

Gingerdead Cupcakes

The next couple of days are going to be quite busy baking wise.  I have four different batches of cakes to make for Hallowe'en.  All cakes were baked today and the majority will be decorated tomorrow evening.  However, one set is for the fiance to take to Dundee tomorrow so they had to be finished today.  

So these cakes came from a book I picked up a few weeks ago and after perusing it, I asked the fiancĂ© if he would like these cakes for to take for Hallowe'en.  He jumped on the idea.  Chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and gingerbread gravestones.  Fairly easy and yet surprisingly effective.  And fun to photograph too.  I had fun playing with the lighting.

I only made two modifications to the recipe.  The first was to leave out the espresso coffee because I didn't want that to come through in the cakes.  At the very least the fiancĂ© doesn't like coffee and I want him to enjoy them.  The second was using lemon extract instead of lemon zest for the gingerbread.  I will also note that the amount of gingerbread that resulted from the recipe was far too much for making 12 graves.  So I ended up with a few spare graves (in case any broke in assembly) and nearly two dozen gingerbread bats.  I figure I'll keep them to hand out to trick-or-treaters.  Hence in the write-up, I'm going to halve the gingerbread recipe.

Recipe - adapted from A Zombie Ate My Cupcake
Makes 12

  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 60g/2oz unsalted butter
  • 50g/1.75oz granulated sugar
  • 80ml/2.8fl.oz black treacle
  • 1 small egg
  • 3/4 tsp lemon extract
  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and the treacle and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the lemon extract and mix in. 
  5. Gradually add the flour a bit at a time, mixing until fully incorporated before adding more.  You may need to use your hands for the last of it as you end up with quite a thick dough.
  6. Split the dough in two, shape into balls and wrap each ball in clingfilm.  Put in the fridge to rest for about 3 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line 2-3 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin.
  9. Roll the dough out to be about 5mm/0.25inches thick and then cut out gravestone shapes with a knife.  Transfer each shape to a tray, spacing the biscuits about 1 inch apart.  You need 12 gravestones but it's worth making a couple of spares in case any break.  Remember not to make them too big or they won't fit in the cakes.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes before removing from the oven and leaving to cool on a wire rack. 

  • 60g/2oz butter
  • 140g/5oz caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 115g/4oz plain flour
  • 30g/1oz cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 80ml/2.8fl.oz sour cream (or sour cream substitute)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases, preferably black or dark brown.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until very pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda and salt by sifting them together.
  5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the cake batter and mix in thoroughly.
  6. Add half the sour cream and mix.
  7. Now add half of what is left of the dry ingredients and mix.
  8. Add the rest of the cream and mix.
  9. Add the last of the dry ingredients and blend together well.
  10. Spoon equal amounts of batter into the cases and then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  11. Cool on a wire rack before decorating.

  • 60g/2oz unsalted butter
  • 30g/1oz cocoa powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g/8.8oz icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  1. Beat together the butter and cocoa powder until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the salt, vanilla extract, icing sugar and milk and beat until well incorporated.
  3. Add the cream and mix in until smooth.
  • A small amount of white ready to roll fondant / 12 ready-made fondant flowers
  • White writing icing/chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  1. Spread about 2 heaped teaspoons of buttercream onto each cooled cupcake and smooth to the edges with a spoon.
  2. Set the cakes on a sheet of baking parchment and use a sieve to dust with icing sugar.  Try to cover all the buttercream.
  3. Use the writing icing to decorate the gingerbread gravestones and then push one into the middle of each of the cakes.  They should stand on their own.
  4. If using ready to roll fondant, use a small flower cutter to make little fondant flowers.  
  5. Place the flowers on top of the cocoa covered buttercream.

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