May 5, 2011
Surfing the tube over the past weeks, I’ve run into food programs entitled: cupcake wars, cupcake smack downs and cupcake throw downs.
Isn’t there a law against using aggressive terms next to the word “cupcake?” Certainly an oxymoron! “Cupcake” conjures up images of decadent flavors and heavenly frostings. Sweetness so delicious and perfect that it’s OK to ask for a second – or third. We also use the word “cupcake” to describe someone who is of gentle spirit (read pushover).
But not for wars. Rarely do you see cupcakes included with Army rations. And I doubt if the Marines carry cupcakes in their gun belts.
Cupcakes aren’t featured in athletic events either. So far, I’ve not heard of a 10K cupcake run. Or a cupcake marathon. A cupcake pole vaulting event just sounds messy.
Cupcakes come out to play when we’re celebrating something…birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, sure. But also a snow day from school or work, the clearing of an acne outbreak, making it to another Friday, the first flowers of spring, another payday, a day without an argument, a customer service call that didn’t take 34 minutes of elevator music. Cupcakes are for the important days and to make unimportant days sing.
So, in honor of making peace with cupcakes, may I present a recipe for Gingerbread cupcakes. I just made these up last night and they are heavenly with an earthy and robust flavor.
Don’t ask me for the nutritional value of these, because that’s not the point. Enjoy! – That’s the point.
Heavenly Gingerbread Cupcakes
Preheat oven to 350 and put those little wrappers in a cupcake pan (also called a muffin tin, but let’s not go there today.) – Makes 12 average-sized, not giant, but not mini.
½ cup boiling water
½ cup shortening (the new improved type without transfat)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup molasses
1 beaten egg (be gentle with the beating, these are cupcakes after all.)
Put these in a bowl and mix until blended. Then add the dry ingredients:
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ cups flour (if using whole wheat, please use ww pastry flour to keep them light)
Once the flour goes in, beat just until mixed. Scoop into pan.
Bake about 20 min or until done – ovens vary.
Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting
½ pkg cream cheese
½ stick of butter
Put these into the microwave and heat just until softened. Don’t melt them!
Add 2 tsp orange flavoring – or almond or vanilla – whatever you like, but orange is fabulous.
Beat in 2-3 cups of powdered sugar until the frosting holds stiff peaks. Don’t add too much sugar.
Frost when cupcakes are cool. Put them in the fridge for a few minutes if you really need one in a hurry after they come out of the oven.