Friday, October 10, 2008

Midnight Baking

Remember how I told you about midnight baking? I do a lot of that. Most of my waking hours are spent in class, and thinking about what I did in class, and writing long, complicated papers about the things we talked about in class. Not that I don't love school, but sometimes I'd rather get up in the morning and bake cinnamon roll muffins than go talk about literature.

The problem with midnight baking is that it doesn't always--okay, fine, ever--make for the best photography. My pictures come out blurry, and even though the food is wonderful, the photographic evidence is only so-so. What I'm saying here is that you'll need to trust me on these things.

Last weekend, after I came home early to work on a paper that I did not want to write, I got hungry. Really, really hungry. And at 11:30 on a Friday night, when I was feeling sorry for myself, I didn't want pasta or a sandwich. I wanted baked goods. Preferably with cream cheese frosting.

A quick recipe search later turned up exactly what I was looking for: gingerbread cupcakes. So what if it's not Christmas? These cupcakes, eaten at one in the morning, were just what I needed. Spicy and warm, with melting frosting. And you know how I feel about cream cheese frosting.
It's starting to get cold now, with the wind sneaking in under our collars and the leaves turning to gold and orange. You need to fortify yourself for the long winter ahead, and the way to do that is with cupcakes. Trust me.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Gourmet

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Just shy 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened
1 pound box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt


Into a bowl sift together the flour, the ground ginger, the cinnamon, the cloves, the allspice, and the salt. In another bowl cream 1/2 stick of the butter, add the granulated sugar, and beat the mixture until it is fluffy. Beat in the molasses, the yogurt and the egg, beating until the mixture is smooth. In a measuring cup combine the baking soda with 1/2 cup boiling water and stir the mixture to dissolve the baking soda. Stir the mixture into the molasses mixture (the mixture will appear curdled) and stir the molasses mixture into the flour mixture, stirring to combine the ingredients well. Line twelve 1/2-cup muffin tins with paper liners and spoon the batter into the liners, filling them halfway. Bake the cupcakes in the middle of a preheated 350°F. oven for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (The cupcakes will be flat or slightly indented on top.) Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and let them cool.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Beat in confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and salt. Use liberal amounts to frost cupcakes.

1 comment:

Alex said...

i always bake at night! i think it tastes better then. and gingerbread is starting to sound good right about now.