I remember last year that it seemed to take forever for spring to come. The winter was cold, bleak, sad, horrible and very, very long. This year hasn’t felt anywhere near as drawn out, but just looking through a couple of photos has really brought the difference between the two years home to me. These photos were both taken from the same angle, just one year apart:
This year, in fact, is running away with me so fast it’s making my head spin. Already half-way through April? What?! I’d ask how on earth that happened but I know – goodness, it takes a surprisingly long time to put yourself back together after everything comes apart. Naively, I thought a couple of months of dried-frog pills and a bit of time off work would magically make everything better – well, it didn’t. All it’s done has been to press pause on the things I should be getting on with while the rest of the world carried on without me. And now I’m left with nothing to feel proud of, nothing to feel happy about and an overwhelming sense of guilt that I’ve made a mess of everything. (Note to self: never think that things can’t get any worse. They can.)
So, I’m trying to catch up on five months of a strange type of absence. And what better way to get started with that than baking things again? You have to start somewhere, I guess. This afternoon I cranked up 6 Music and started to bake again. Little by little, I think I’m getting myself back.
Makes 8. Original recipe here.
I wouldn’t claim I’m an expert on cupcakes but this definitely has an unusual method – I’ve never had to heat up milk and froth baking powder into it to make a cupcake before! I wonder if that emphasises the ginger-y ness of it?
- 75g butter, softened
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 100ml black treacle (about 160g)
- 1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
- 180g plain flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 75g crystallised ginger, chopped into large chunks
- 100ml hot semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the icing:
- 100g butter, softened
- 200g full-fat soft cheese
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
- 400g golden icing sugar, sieved
- 2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
- 8 mini gingerbread men
- Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Prepare a 12-hole muffin tray and line with 8 muffin cases.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the treacle, followed by the egg and egg yolk, and beat the mixture until well combined.
- Sift the flour with the spices, add to the mixture and continue to beat until smooth. Add the crystallised ginger and stir to distribute.
- Mix the hot milk with the baking powder, add to the mixture and beat until combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases and place in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until the cupcakes are springy to touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before icing.
- For the icing, beat together the butter, soft cheese, cinnamon and icing sugar. Add the milk and beat until light and fluffy. Spoon this icing into an icing bag cut off the end so you have a wide nozzle and use to pipe the cooled cakes. (Or do as I did, and spoon it on top!)
- Top with a gingerbread man and serve with a dusting of cinnamon.
Per serving: 634 cals, fat 26.4g, sat fat 16.1g, carbs 93.5g, sugars 75.4g, protein 5.7g, salt 0.8g, fibre 0.7g