Sunday, 24 January 2010

Sticky gingerbread cupcakes with ginger Swiss meringue buttercream

I fancied a really sticky intense gingerbread topped off with Swiss meringue buttercream but couldn’t find a recipe for it. Not sure why as the light whipped buttercream is the perfect companion to the rich, dark gingerbread. So I’ve come up with my own recipe – as they say, necessity is the mother of invention...and it couldn’t get much more necessary than this!

What prompted my need for ginger cupcakes was finding this in my local supermarket:

It’s ginger conserve i.e. jam made with stem ginger. I’ve never seen this before and impulsively bought a jar. It has large chunks of ginger in it and all I could think about was how to incorporate it into a cake. It’s funny because I think we all look to more high-end or exotic shops to intrigue us with products yet here this was sitting on a shelf in my local Co-Op! This is what it looks like straight from the jar:

Because of the large chunks of ginger I decided against stirring it into my Swiss meringue buttercream as I thought it might not sit well with the smooth texture. Instead I spooned some onto the cupcake...

... before piping on the frosting and this worked well. If you can’t find ginger conserve you can of course make these cupcakes without.

For those of you interested in seeing the cupcakes straight from the oven, here they are:

For the cupcake sponge:
75g unsalted butter, at room temperature
70g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 eggs
1 ball of stem ginger, finely chopped
110g plain flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2-4 tablespoons milk

Optional: ginger conserve

Swiss meringue buttercream (optional):
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Ginger extract (or you could use some syrup from a jar of stem ginger)


- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

- Line a 12 hole cupcake pan with paper cases.

- Beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy and well combined.

- Beat in the treacle, golden syrup and eggs. The mix will look curdled at this point.

- Stir in the chopped ginger.

- Beat in the flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda.

- Add milk gradually using just enough to loosen the batter to a soft dropping consistency.

- Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean. Mine took 15 minutes.

- Leave to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing the cupcakes from the pan and leaving to cool completely on the wire rack. Be gentle as they are very soft.

- Now make the Swiss meringue buttercream: Place the egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir pretty much constantly to prevent the egg from cooking.

- After 5-10 minutes, when the sugar has dissolved (when you cannot see any crystals on the back of the spoon), remove the bowl from the pan of simmering water and whisk until the meringue has puffed up and the mix is cool.

- - Add the butter and ginger extract to the meringue and whisk until the butter has been completely incorporated into the meringue. At first it will look a disaster – it will collapse and look curdled but don’t worry! Stop when the mixture is smooth, light and fluffy.

- If using, spread some ginger conserve over each cupcake. Don’t go right to the edges as it’s nice to have it covered by the buttercream as a surprise for the eater!

- Pipe the Swiss meringue buttercream on top of each cupcake.

- Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


Laura said...

ohh cool idea, they sell a ginger conserve in sainsburys too, I've made cookies with it before, it's really nice! Might try these cupcakes out, thanks for the recipe

C said...

Ooooh, that's such a good idea - they look fab, and you've reminded me of the jar of ginger conserve I bought (also impulsively) in Sainsburys ages ago. Must locate it and get round to using it..... Love ginger :-)

Currently got a banana glut though so trying to work my way through that...

silverpebble said...

I have died and gone to gingery cupcake heaven.

shevie said...

....ooh I wish you would'nt at this time of night-they look divine!Love the idea of the meringue butter icing & the dollop of jam hiding underneath! A question for you-I saw in a magazine a picture of Whoopie Pies-American I believe,& not a pie at all more like 2 big flat buns stuck together with'cream'-ever made them?

Margaret said...

I've got some ginger chunky preserve in the fridge and it looks very similar to yours, great idea for using some of this up.
The cupcakes look fabulous and you have piped them beautifully.

Jacqueline said...

I am definitely making these! I am very excited about them and I have a new piping set to try out :)

Cakelaw said...

These look delish - and that ginger conserve has me drooling - I adore ginger!

Joy said...

I had better go out and get some ginger conserve quick smart!

Beth said...

You're piping looks so good. Mine is rubbish. The main thing is they taste good though - got to try these

Trekkie said...

OMG, they look amazing!!!!!

Lisa said...

Good god that is the most gorgeous buttercream. I love ginger conserve (I have a jar called preserve, same thing I believe) and it's most excellent on buttered toast. Those cupcakes, however, give it much more respect.

Shevie: Whoopies pies are easy to make, even better to eat. Two cakey cookies sandwiched with soft buttercream, they're no more difficult than cupcakes, really. Plus, they freeze well (individually wrapped in waxed paper) so you can make a full batch and have some for a month later when you want a treat.

Lucie said...

This post should carry a warning 'DO NOT READ IF HUNGRY' :) These are one the most tempting looking cupcakes ever! thanks for sharing

lynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trekkie said...

Well, I've bought the conserve!!!!!

Choclette said...

I do so like the sound of these - I love ginger. I keep hearing about making meringue icings, but can't quite get my head around it. I guess I'll just have to give it a go. I wasn't quite clear from your recipe about adding the butter - does it need to be melted before adding to the whisked egg whites and sugar?