This year, I've decided to experiment a little with the traditional Christmas flavours and so decided to try my hand at gingerbread muffins. I didn't bother researching recipes, instead I opted for one in my collection. It's not a gingerbread sponge per se, but rather a "spicy sponge cake", which had the same spices I normally use for gingersnaps with the exception of ginger.
It's also a recipe of a basic batter with variations, something I always find appealing. I've made the nut sponge cake version on many occasions, it's very good for cakes, however, this time I made one bad ingredient swap. Please read on.
Basic cake batter for a 1½ l cake tin or 12 muffins
50 g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 dl granulated sugar
3 dl plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 dl single cream
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground ginger
ready to roll fondant icing for decoration
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C for a cake and 175 °C for muffins and line the appropriate tin.
- Melt the butter gently and set aside to cool.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar light and fluffy.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder, then carefully add to the batter, alternating with the single cream.
- Finally fold in the melted butter and the spices.
- Pour into the tin and bake for about 35 minutes if making a cake or 15 -20 minutes for muffins.
- Test for readiness with a toothpick or skewer and when it comes out clean, remove from the oven and onto a wire rack to cool.
- Roll out some fondant icing, cut out shapes and decorate the cake/muffins.
I was not able to resist a new set of cookie cutters in the shape of snow flakes this year and I use them to cut the icing.
The ingredient swap I made was to use semi-skimmed milk instead of single cream. I believe this is the reason why the muffins ended up so very dry, however, I'll try to remember this for when making cakes which will be moistened with syrup. But in this case this was not a good idea. Perhaps I could have compensated by increasing the amount of butter, but I didn't. I also think I need to make adjustments to the amounts of spices - the ginger was a bit too strong for me, however I think the other spices need to be increased a little, rather than reducing the ginger.
I am quite pleased that the amount was right for 12 muffins, which Lundulph and I have been putting away at a decent rate over the week-end, since it's the first Advent. Lundulph has been really good and hasn't had any alcohol during the whole of November, so we had non-alcoholic spicy fruit punch instead of mulled wine, as we lit the first candle.
For another variant of this cake, swap 1 dl of flour for 75 g of ground nuts and bake for 40 minutes if making a cake.