Now with over 100% more words!
I was going to write this last night, I really was, but then there were one too many dark mojitos at the resto after work, and when I got home the couch beckoned once again. Damn you, delicious, delicious dark mojitos.
So: Guinness-gingerbread cupcakes, courtesy of BFF-in-my-mind David Lebovitz and Ready for Dessert. They start with molasses (as all good gingery baked goods do), veg oil and beer, heated together. David specifies a Very Large Pot, because the mixture foams up when you add baking soda. I’ll admit that I was hoping it would foam up Massively! and Violently!, and the foaming action was not as glorious as I’d wanted, looking quite dwarfed in my Very Large Pot. Brian sensibly pointed out that that is, in fact, the point of using a Very Large Pot, but I was still a little disappointed.
Brown sugar went into the liquid mixture, and then I set it aside to cool while I got the dry ingredients together and engaged in some general time-killing bustling-about. I’m an excellent bustler.
The dry is pretty much what you’d expect: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and, of course, a goodly amount of ginger.
When the liquid was cooler (but not exactly “tepid,” as specified…it was a weeknight, I don’t have that kind of time), I whisked in a couple of eggs.
I whisked the egg-fortified wet together with the dry until they were just combined…
…then folded in a heap of candied ginger. I think I was actually supposed to make the candied ginger myself but (1) again, weeknight; (2) I already had some store-bought stuff in the pantry; and (3) I am not Martha Stewart. I’ve never been to jail, and I have better hair.
I was AT a jail once, a medium-security prison, while interning for a defense laywer during law school. There were surprisingly few security procedues to enter and leave the facility. While I was there, an inmate sold me a lollipop for charity. It was all quite civilized, and so easy to sneak in the file I’d baked inside a cake!
I portioned the cupcakes using an ice-cream scoop so they’d all be uniform. I guess I overfilled my scoop a bit, because I only got eleven cupcakes, so one indentation in the cupcake tin had to sit there unfilled and forlorn.
Twenty-five minutes in a hot oven, and voila! Guinness-gingerbread cupcakes. I actually managed to let them cool completely without eating a single one, even though the desire to bring the total number of cupcakes to an even ten was OVERWHELMING.
And then, it was time for the tangy lime frosting.
I will say up front that, in general, I LOATHE frosting that’s made from butter and confectioners’ sugar. Don’t like the texture, don’t like the taste, don’t like anything about it. But I was willing to put my complete trust in La Lebovitz because, you know, he’s David Freaking Lebovitz. Perhaps the magic of a Parisian gadabout would transform the humble frosting into something edible.
So I beat my butter, added some sugar, put in lime juice, added more sugar and finished it off with a drop of milk. Et voila!
I still loathed it.
Still, I frosted a few cupcakes. Gotta see the finished product, and maybe the combination of cupcake and frosting would elevate it.
It didn’t. For me, anyway. The cupcake itself? Fantastic. Moist, great crumb, just the right spice level, with a depth of flavor from the beer. The lime frosting didn’t quite mesh with the flavors in the cupcake, and I definitely still hate confectioners’ sugar-based frostings.
I can’t help but think that maybe *I* did something wrong, so implicitly do I trust La Lebovitz. Still, I probably won’t try this frosting again. Personal confectioners’ sugar bias. I’m a Swiss buttercream kinda gal.
To reiterate, though: the cupcakes themselves? Killer. All they need is a glass of cold milk, no gilding the lily necessary. A++, will definitely do business with again.