Thanksgiving Recap: Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing

To quote middle aged ladies from accounting with pictures of Channing Tatum taped up to their desks who go out to lunch only on special occasions, let’s start with dessert!

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Mom made a blueberry pie. Not exactly in season, but it’s dad’s favorite. And it’s the best dessert for eating in the morning and pretending like it’s breakfast. Pie breakfast is the best breakfast. 

I decided I would knock out the gingerbread cupcakes that I had watched Ina Garten so breezily make a week before. My god, this IS easy, Ina! But you and your rhetorical questions lulled me into a false sense of security.

As this was a brand new recipe for me, I actually read it 3 times before I made it. This did not prevent me from completely leaving out a step. Imagine what would’ve happened had I only read it once. …Oh, the humanity.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing, from FoodNetwork.com

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup dark rum or water | Let’s not kid ourselves. I used rum. Why would anyone use plain water?
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream | YOU, sour cream. You will be my demise.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup minced dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup) 

For the frosting :

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½  pound confectioners’ sugar, sieved | Genuinely think I forgot to sieve/fluff my sugar.

For the decoration:

  • 6 pieces dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup), sliced in half | My mom says she buys hers at Homegoods. Also, crystallized ginger a good remedy for upset stomachs. The more you know.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Like a boss.

Place the rum and raisins in a small pan, cover, and heat until the rum boils. Turn off the heat and set aside. When you do this at 10 am, you will feel like you are bending the rules of society. Go with it.

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Place the butter and molasses in another small pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cool for 5 minutes, then mix in the sour cream and orange zest.

OR. If you are like me. You will FORGET to mix in the sour cream and orange zest. You will feel confident! You will feel plucky! And then you will deflate, after you complete the next paragraph and you realize that you still have sour cream sitting on the counter.

Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together into a small bowl. Mix with your hand until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix only until smooth. 

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OH SHIT. The DAMN sour cream. At this point, my first instinct was to do what I always do when there is an emergency: tell my dad. But since this was an emergency of baking and not one of banking or braking, he could not help me in the slightest and told me to ask my Gramma. She said, “well, don’t tell your mother you messed them up and add the sour cream and orange zest in now.” So, I did. And, it worked. Phew. How did it look? Let’s not focus on that.

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Drain the raisins and add them and the crystallized ginger to the mixture with a spatula.

Divide the batter among the muffin pan (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. 

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For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter, orange zest and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined.

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Add the sugar and mix until smooth. I had some lumps, probably because I forgot to sieve/fluff my confectioner’s sugar. I tried to whisk them out, which might have thinned the frosting out a bit too much. But it tasted great. 

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and garnish with a slice of crystallized ginger.

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Despite my best attempts to screw this recipe up, I actually could not. I even had more batter left over after I made the 12 cupcakes the recipe calls for. So, I made a tiny loaf of gingerbread. This cupcakes were the good kind of dense and a little spicy. The frosting was light and sweet. It had great balance and it tasted like fall. 

My folks liked it. Gramma liked it. I liked it. I even think the ladies from accounting would like it. Not more than Channing Tatum, though. I mean, did you SEE Magic Mike? He was MAGIC.*

 

 

 

 

 

*I did not actually see Magic Mike. It was like Harry Potter, right? 

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