It's been a weird few weeks, you guys, and I'm sure you're getting that from my frustratingly vague melancholy of late. But, today I went on a 10 mile sponsored walk for Teenage Cancer Trust, and it was pouring with rain and the sky was an unfaltering slate grey, and the forest floor was made of slippery leaves & deep mud. But I went with my friends, and with my Mum, and I bundled up in Hunters & a Barbour and those were all pretty good defences against the storm. So too was the laughter. Endless, endless laughter, as we cascaded down hills and trudged through dirt and waded through puddles. And I s'pose that's the best defence against most things, really, isn't it? Against the dark, against the cold, against the weird and strange and small days where you feel weird, and strange, and small. But anyway - I realise this isn't the most food bloggy sort of chat for a food blog, but I'm defrosting in front of the fire now, with aching legs & an aching stomach from laughing so much, and it just felt like the sort of thing I'd like to write down.
Of course, when we're considering defences against life's hurdles, cake comes in at a firm number two. And you guys, I love these cupcakes. Dense, dark, rich, treacley, full of flavour & warming spice - offset by deliciously light and tangy cream cheese frosting with every bite. I've shamelessly stolen it from here, but I hope you guys don't mind because I couldn't not share this with you. They're Christmas with every bite, and would make the ideal thing to box up & ribbon up & pass out to only your very favourite people. The sort of people who will splash through the muddy forests with you and make you laugh the whole time, not batting an eyelid when you hair becomes inexcusable because of the rain. Yes, these cupcakes are worthy of even the very best sorts of people. Make these. Make. These.
To make 12 cupcakes, you will need:
- 75g unsalted butter.
- 100g caster sugar.
- 125ml black treacle. You can substitute with golden syrup if you prefer, but treacle gives a much richer, more authentically gingerbread-type flavour.
- 1 egg.
- 1 egg yolk.
- 150g plain flour.
- 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder.
- 1 & 1/4 teaspoons of ground ginger.
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground all spice.
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground salt.
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
- 125ml hot milk.
To make enough icing for 12 cupcakes, you will need:
- 25g unsalted butter.
- 50g full fat cream cheese.
- 80g icing sugar.
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
2. In a large mixing bowl, begin by whisking 75g unsalted butter with 100g caster sugar until fully creamed together.
3. Add in the treacle, followed by the egg & then an additional egg yolk.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.
5. Add the flour mixture into the wet mix, and stir together until just combined.
6. In a saucepan, heat up 125ml of milk over a medium-high heat.
7. Once hot, add in a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. It will froth up quickly; immediately pour it into the mixing bowl and stir together. Do not overmix, as it is this which gives the mixture its lightness.
8. Pour the batter evenly into cupcake cases & bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. They should come out slightly springy to the touch.
9. Leave to cool & begin preparing the cream cheese icing.
10. To make the icing, simply cream together the icing ingredients. If it's a little stiff, feel free to add a small amount of vanilla extract or lemon juice (no more than 1/2 a teaspoon).
Once the cupcakes have fully cooled, smother them in the cream cheese icing & add whatever festive sprinkles you fancy. The more the better! I used these silver balls because I love the crunch, and also because, well, they're pretty. But this is the season to get as tacky with your decorating as you possibly can, so enjoy!
Only 10 more sleeps!