Gingersnaps are known as spicy, crispy cookies. In some iterations, the “snappiness” of the cookie comes only from its texture, while in others (the better ones, in my opinion), generous spicing is what makes them “snap.” I wanted to capture that spiciness in a cupcake and make something that would stand out from regular gingerbread.
My favorite gingersnap recipe is one that was originally from Chez Panisse. The recipe was passed around the blogosphere a few years ago and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since. I used the same spicing for these cupcakes, so they include a generous amount of ginger, cinnamon and ground black pepper. I also added some ground cloves, simply because they contribute a really warm, wintry flavor. There is comparatively little molasses in the cupcakes and, softened by the inclusion of brown sugar, its flavor takes a backseat to the spices.
The flavors from all the spices work together beautifully and these cupcakes really do taste a lot like gingersnaps. The cupcake rise nicely above the rim of the baking sheet and if you eat them without any topping, you’ll even get a hint of crispiness from the dome of the cake. The cake itself is moist and fairly dense, offering a really substantial texture and flavor that can stand up to a lot of frosting. Again, I used a vanilla cream cheese frosting to top these off. Cream cheese goes extremely well with gingerbread of all kinds, and it is no exception here. The light, fluffy sweetness of the frosting is a perfect contrast to the moist, spicy cupcakes.
Reminder: Don’t forget to enter the holiday cupcake baking contest!
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, soften
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light. Blend in spices and egg, followed by molasses. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the milk and the remaining flour mixture. Mix only until no streaks of flour remain.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tin.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
4-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
approx 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat until smooth, then mix in vanilla extract, milk and 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar. Beat until very smooth, then gradually blend in additional sugar until frosting is fluffy, thick and easy to spread.
Frosting can be spread onto the cupcakes or piped on using a piping bag.
Makes 12 cupcakes.