I'm not wacky about cupcakes, but I like them a lot. The two of us went to the new Sprinkles shop in Houston and tried a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting and it was pretty good. The vanilla cream cheese frosting was stellar.
I'd like to try out the recipe below, which I adapted from the recipe of the same name found in Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz. Visit the Fine Cooking website for a picture. These sound very different from the vanilla-vanilla we just devoured, but they seem like they'll be very tasty! I hope I can keep my cake moist; that's the only thing I don't like about cupcakes as opposed to cake. Sometimes it gets a little dry.
Yields 12 cupcakes
125 ml (1/2 cup) stout beer, such as Guinness (apple cider also works)
125 ml (1/2 cup) mild-flavored molasses
125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. baking soda
170 g (3/4 cup packed) light brown sugar
185 g (1 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
50 g (1/2 cup) finely minced candied ginger
60 g (4 Tbs.) salted or unsalted butter, at room temperature
180 g (1 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
40 ml (2 1/2 Tbs.) freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
1 Tbs. whole milk
Strips of candied citrus peel or candied ginger, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with twelve cupcake liners.
For the cupcakes, combine the stout, molasses, and oil in a very large saucepan. With the stove on medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the baking soda until dissolved. The mixture should foam up and then settle down. Stir in the brown sugar and leave to cool.
Sift flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt into a small bowl.
Into the large saucepan of stout mixture, whisk in the eggs and then the flour mixture until just incorporated. Gently stir in the minced candied ginger.
Fill the cupcake liners with batter and bake until the cupcakes are just set in the center, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool completely.
For the frosting, beat the butter on high speed for about 10 seconds or until smooth. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add half the confectioners' sugar. Turn the mixer off and scrape down the bowl to make sure everything gets incorporated. Mix in the lime juice, then add the remaining confectioners' sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the milk and beat the frosting on high speed until completely smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add a few more drops of lime juice if you'd like your frosting more tart.
Place a dallop of frosting atop each cupcake, or use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe rosettes of frosting on each cupcake. If you'd like, you can top each cupcake with thin strips of candied citrus peel or a piece of candied ginger.
Keep your cupcakes at room temperature in an airtight container and eat them within four days.