Gingerbread Cupcakes

May has arrived, it is my favourite month of the year.  We are in Yorkshire, hence the dry-stone wall and the skipping lambs, we are down to photograph a calendar for Hotties Supporting Help for Heros, details of which can be found here. The shoot was so much fun, the girls looked fabulous. I will go into more detail when the calendar is out, in the meantime you can follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

The first of May was traditionally the beginning of summer and has been a day of celebration for over two thousand years here in this blustery outpost of Europe. These lovely cupcakes are inspired by the traditions associated with May Day. I was always in awe of the Maypole dances as a young girl; watching the children weave in and out of each other, making a beautiful pattern on the Maypole with their ribbons. That was back in the eighties, the custom seems to have wained these days which is such a shame as it is a wonderful kooky connection to our past and a great community event for the village. I’ve iced some of the cakes to represent the colourful, swirling ribbons.

Some May day customs are even older; in Celtic circles, it is known as Beltane and some of the rituals associated with this ancient feast day are still played out to this day. Edinburgh holds its Fire Festival on the evening of April 3oth every year, reviving the old custom of lighting fires on hilltops where people would have ritually passed between.I really wanted my May-time cupcakes to represent this so rather than opting for a light sponge I decided to go with a spiced, warming gingerbread.

Now, I know that gingerbread is associated with wintery festivals- Christmas, Halloween, Bonfire Night but why not have it now? It is so delicious and the dark spices reflect the firey origins of this time of year.

Below you will find two recipes. The second one is for Vegan/dairy-free Gingerbread Cupcakes. I have served them both, together, and no-one was any the wiser that some of the cakes were vegan! Decorate them as you feel fit; gold sugar sprinkles look very Christmassy, just a plain drizzle of glace icing gives a sugary hit against the treacly insides, they look fabulous un-iced or go for all out royal icing for a thicker, sweet crust.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

oven 190 C / gas 5

12 hole muffin tin lined with muffin cases

  • 100 g dark muscavado sugar
  • 4 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp mixed spice
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Place the sugar, treacle, golden syrup, butter and spices in a pan and put onto a low heat, until they all melt together to become a thick, dark syrup. Remove from the stove and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Stir in the milk to reduce the temperature further then add the egg, give it a good beat with a wooden spoon. Sift in the bicarb and the flour. and beat the batter until smooth. Fill the muffin cases about 3/4s full and bake for around 16-20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into a cake comes out clean. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes

oven 190 C / gas 5

  • 100 g dark muscavado sugar
  • 4 tbsp black treacle
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100 ml sunflower/vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice {or vinegar, balsamic would be good}
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp mixed spice
  • 150 ml non-dairy milk {I used coconut milk-substitute}
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Place the sugar, treacle, golden syrup, butter, lemon juice and spices in a pan and put onto a low heat, until they all melt together to become a thick, dark syrup. Remove from the stove.

Stir in the dairy-free milk and the ground flaxseed, then sift in the bicarb and the flour and beat the batter until smooth. Fill the muffin cases about 3/4s full and bake for around 16-20 minutes, until a skewer inserted into a cake comes out clean. Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

Ice them if you like,

For simple glace icing mix 150 g icing sugar with 2-3 tbsps of water, I used half and half pomegranite cordial and water for the ones I decorated with gold sprinkles, which gave a nice subtle flavour.

For royal icing I mixed 200 g icing sugar with 1 tbsp dried egg white powder, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp water. I added the water a bit at a time until the icing was thick enough to heavily coat the back of the spoon.

12 Responses

  1. These look so adorable and love the creativity!

  2. Oh, these cupcakes are so cute! And I love gingerbread….The spicy-sweetness is so comforting!

  3. They look delicious (and I bet they smell divine!) Can’t wait to try the vegan one with my egg-allergic kiddies.
    anne

  4. Those lambs look mighty interested in the cupcakes

  5. zestybeandog says:

    Such a great picture!!!

  6. I am in love with that top photo!