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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vanilla Mascarpone Buttercream

Updated: May 28, 2020

2020 is fast-approaching and I have fallen very behind in posting the recipe for these gingerbread cupcakes. Even though Christmas is over, it's never too late for gingerbread cupcakes, right?



I've been meaning to post about the recipe for these gingerbread cupcakes with vanilla mascarpone buttercream before Christmas, but I've been pretty busy the past 2 weeks baking and spending quality time with family and friends. I'm not complaining though; it has been incredibly fruitful and my heart has been full.


Anyway, I've always wondered why Christmas desserts often contain a lot of spices (especially ginger and cinnamon). I'm not complaining though; I love spices, with cinnamon and nutmeg being my top two favourites. It's just something that has always puzzled me. However, one day my dad casually remarked (in mandarin), "Ginger has some 'heat'. Eating it would definitely make you feel warmer inside." Then it clicked within me. It made so much sense! For some countries in the world, especially if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, Christmastime can get very cold. This is true even for me. Even though I live near the Equator (precisely 1.3521°N of the Equator) and therefore do not experience the four seasons, it has been a very stormy December, with temperatures dropping to 23°C on some days (which to us locals is considered rare, precious and comfortably chilly weather). It's no wonder when Christmas rolls around, gingerbread and ginger molasses cookies and hot chocolate and spiced lattes and spiced citrus cakes etc etc (I could go on, but you get my drift) start popping up everywhere. People just want to keep warm! Also, spice is delicious. Enough said.


So this December, I jumped at the opportunity to make something spicy. In particular, I took it upon myself to make gingerbread desserts.


Can you believe that this is my first time making gingerbread cookies and anything gingerbread for that matter? I've never really gotten down to it because my family aren't huge fans of gingerbread (don't get me wrong; they would eat it, but it's not the first thing they would prefer). Yet I just wanted to try it out and taste it for myself, you know?


I'm happy to report that I have no regrets making these gingerbread cupcakes. Most of them I gave away to friends and kept some for my family and myself. The cake itself is tender and wonderfully flavourful and spiced, definitely reminiscent of Christmas. The vanilla mascarpone buttercream is like a cloud, its sweetness and creaminess pairing perfectly with the cupcake. To finish it off, I decorated each cupcake with gingerbread cookies from Sally's Baking Blog.


This would probably be my last post for 2019, so here's wishing all of you a great 2020 ahead! See you in the new year!



 

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Vanilla Mascarpone Buttercream

Makes 22 to 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

For gingerbread cookies (an optional but cute addition to the cupcakes)

  • I used the recipe from here.


For gingerbread cupcakes

  • 340g (2 2/3 cup) all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • 3 tsp ground ginger

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

  • 170 g unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 300 g dark brown sugar or dark muscovado sugar

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 4 large eggs

  • 54g oil

  • 170 g (1/2 cup) unsulfured molasses

  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract

  • 125 g (1/2 cup) Greek yogurt or buttermilk


For vanilla mascarpone buttercream

  • 35 g (about 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

  • 150 g white granulated sugar (about 3/4 cup)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 250 g (1 cup) whole milk

  • 226 g unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 170 g mascarpone, room temperature

  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract


Method

Step 1: Make the gingerbread cookies (if using to decorate the cupcakes) - follow the steps on Sally's Baking Blog

Step 2: Make the gingerbread cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C and line regular cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. In another large bowl, whip butter, sugar and salt together using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Into the large bowl with the butter-sugar mixture, add in the eggs one at a time, whipping to ensure that each egg is incorporated before adding the next one. Then, slowly drizzle in the oil, molasses and vanilla. Whip to combine.

  4. Using a spatula, fold one-third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the Greek yogurt or buttermilk. Then, fold in the remaining flour mixture until everything is just combined and there are no lumps of flour.

  5. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, divide the batter into cupcake liners, filling the liners up to two-thirds full. Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are puffed up and golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Once the cupcakes have baked, remove them from the pan and set them on a wire rack to cool completely.


Step 3: Make the buttercream

  1. Add flour, sugar and salt in a large pot or saucepan and whisk to combine.

  2. Pour the milk into the pot with the dry ingredients and whisk together.

  3. Set the pot on a medium heat, whisking gently all the time, until the mixture begins to bubble gently. Continue to cook the mixture until it has thickened to a pudding-like consistency – it should be able to hold its shape a little bit.

  4. Remove the pot from the heat. Pass the pudding mixture through a sieve into a bowl to get rid of any lumps. Press clip wrap onto of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Set the pudding aside to cool completely. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools. (You can make the pudding a day in advance. Store in it in the refrigerator.)

  5. Once the pudding has cooled completely, whip the butter in a large bowl using stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand-held mixer. Whip until pale and fluffy. Then, whip in the mascarpone a spoonful at a time until it is well-combined with the butter.

  6. Add the pudding into the whipped butter-mascarpone mixture a spoonful at a time as the mixer continues whipping. Scrape down the bowl occasionally to ensure that all the pudding mixture has incorporated into the butter.

  7. Add in the vanilla and whip to combine. You should now have a fluffy, silky buttercream.


Step 4: Assemble!

  1. Put the buttercream into a large piping fitted with a star piping tip (I used Wilton 1M). Starting from the middle of the cupcake, apply pressure to the piping bag and move the piping bag outwards in a circular motion to form a buttercream swirl.

  2. Place a gingerbread cookie on top to decorate, if desired. Share the cute little cupcakes with family and friends, and enjoy!


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