Not, like, the super crunchy, glue it together with icing, and keep it for 10 years kind of gingerbread. Not the cookies.
He loved actual gingerbread.
He used to buy the boxed mix and make it at least half a dozen times every Christmas.
He’d serve it up hot from the oven, all buried under piles of fluffy, melty whipped cream.
I think that if he hadn’t been ill for the majority of my childhood, he would have developed a hell of a homemade recipe. As it was, box mixes were simple and easy for him…and seriously, it was damned good.
I’ve known for months that I wanted to do something gingerbread for my dad this Christmas, but it wasn’t until the last second that I decided to do gingerbread cupcakes.
I wanted it to be a little different than basic gingerbread, and cupcakes are so cute, and easy to eat.
The gingerbread I remember him making was always very dark, so i added a dash of cocoa to m cupcakes for the color, but also for a little more depth in flavor.
They ended up being so perfect. They were like a blast from the past. And with the whipped buttercream frosting on top, it was like those squares of warm gingerbread with clouds of white whipped cream ont op all over again.
Didja know it’s National Cupcake Day today?
Is there really a better day?
I mean, I guess National Chocolate Day ranks pretty high up there for me. And National Ice Cream Day is definitely in, like, the top five.
Today, though, is National Cupcake Day.
National. Cupcake. Day.
In honor of this glorious day, not only do you get a new cupcake recipe to try, but I also wanted to share my Top 10 favorites of my cupcake recipes:
10. Sweet Watermelon Cupcakes. These are actually very high on my list, but they use artificial flavoring, which I’m not keen on, so it bumps them to ten. They’re still so yummy, though, that they are definitely in the top ten.
9. Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cakes. These are simple, simple, simple, but amazingly delish. These were one of those treats that I just couldn’t stop eating.
8. Creamy Lemon Cupcakes. Easy, basic, wonderful. This was one of my very first cupcake recipes ont he blog, and it’s still one of my very favorite recipes ever.
7. Chai Tea Cupcakes. I love Chai Lattes. So it’s kind of obvious that I’d love Chai Tea Cupcakes.
6. Orange Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Walnut Glaze. These were inspired my a much more complex…and scary…recipe that I saw on TV. That recipe had figs and cheese. I replaced the figs with candied walnuts and the cheese with cream cheese, threw it all on an orange cupcake, and holy-oh-my-goodness! One of the best cupcakes. Ever.
Now, all of the top 5 have been made in the last two and a half months. Clearly, I’m on my game lately.
5. Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes. I made these based on a craving for cinnamon rolls, but a laziness that made me not want to make them. So I made the cupcake version instead. Thank goodness for cravings and laziness.
4. Death By Chocolate Cupcakes. Do I really need to explain why I love these?
3. French Toast Cupcakes. This particular recipe was inspired by cupcakes that I had during my trip to South Carolina back in October. The cupcakes I had then were tasty, but flimsy. I thought maybe I might be able to do them a little better. I just happened to get lucky and do them a lot better.
2. Gingerbread Cocoa Cupcakes. Today’s cupcakes!! This high on the list…fer rillz. They’re seriously that good.
1. Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes. Salted caramel, chocolate, and coffee. In a cupcake. Heaven.
Yay for cupcakes!
When they’re done right, they’re a perfect little happy bright spot in the day. I don’t care how cheesy that sounds. A good cupcake is like a two minute vacation sometimes.
These gingerbread cocoa cupcakes today…they were more like ten minute vacations…….cause I’d eat, like, five in a sitting.
But whatevs. They were totally worth it.
And they were pretty, too.
Let’s face it, a cupcake that tastes good and is pretty to boot?
I was so very pleased when I pulled these from the oven. Just look at how perfectly domed they are. And they came out with the perfect crumb…wonderfully moist, but with a nice bite to them. I love when things work out so wonderfully!
When making whipped frosting, you want to beat the frosting on medium speed until the butter is light in color and creamy. It’s surprising how light in color it gets, and it’s so silky looking. Funny how lovely butter can be.
This frosting is more or less identical to my favorite buttercream, but has a lighter texture and a smoother consistency. It is now officially my new favorite vanilla frosting. It’s not just the creaminess and beautiful vanilla flavor. I also love to work with it. It pipes and spreads beautifully, making decorating cupcakes, and cakes alike, easy, and everything looks lovely every time.
I had grand plans to decorate these cupcakes with gingerbread treats, like mini gingerbread houses, but I topped one of the cupcakes with a pretty red Sixlet, on a whim, and there was no way these needed anything else. So I broke out the rest of my Christmas-y Sixlets in red, green, and white. One little candy topping each cupcake was just right.
I can’t even begin to express how delicious this frosting turned out. It’s completely irresistible. When I sat down to eat m first cupcake, I found myself eating all of the yummy, cookie crumb-filled frosting without touching the cupcake!
These cupcakes are amazing with either frosting, but I honestly prefer the cookies and cream version. It was the perfect compliment to the cupcakes, and I loved the texture that it added. As for the cupcakes, they have the perfect spicy flavors of true gingerbread, with just the right amount of rich cocoa flavor to compliment them. I had no idea when I planned this recipe if it would work or not, but these cupcakes easily made it into my top five favorites. They’re truly incredible. Plus, they’re satisfyingly fast and easy to make…always a bonus.
If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas dessert that has traditional holiday flavors with a new twist, then these are just the ticket. Enjoy!
And Happy National Cupcake Day!
Gingerbread Cocoa Cupcakes [Printable Version]
Makes 16 standard cupcakes, 32 mini cupcakes
FOR THE CUPCAKES
1 cup (8 ounces or 250 ml) strong brewed coffee, hot
1/4 cup (28 grams) cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (191 grams) brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon molasses
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, or a two cup measuring cup, stir the cocoa powder into the hot coffee until dissolved. Set aside until cooled to room temperature, or place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Once the cocoa/coffee mixture has cooled, preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners; set aside.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the molasses, then add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined; stir in the vanilla. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the bowl and mix until just combined. Add 1/2 of the chocolate mixture, mixing again until just combined. Repeat with reamining flour and chocolate mixtures, ending with flour. Mix only until flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix.
Place 3 tablespoons (for standard cupcakes, 1 1/2 tablespoons for minis) of batter in each cupcake liner. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes (12 to 15 for minis), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Whipped Gingerbread Cookies and Cream Frosting [Printable Version]
Makes 24 ounces
1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound (about 4 cups or 450 grams) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons (45 ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup crushed gingerbread cookies, or gingerbread graham crackers (optional)
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the butter for 6 minutes on medium speed, until the butter is light in color and creamy.
Add the sugar and cream and mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. Increase mixer to medium speed and whip the mixture for another 8 minutes, until the frosting is very light and creamy.
Fold in the cookies until evenly distributed.
Recipes by Darla