Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

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Okay, last week I was looking for my recipe for Lemon frosting for my Ginger-Lemon Cupcakes.  I have almost all of the Anne Byrn Cake Mix Doctor cookbooks – I love them.  While I was looking, I came upon this recipe for Fresh Pear and Gingerbread Cupcakes.  Obsessive as I am (and with my eye on the ripened pear in our fruit basket),  I kept it in mind until last night – when I made them.  I also just “happened” to get a can of crystallized ginger chips at William-Sonoma yesterday, too.

My husband had decreed our kitchen a “NO Cupcake Zone” a while ago, but he doesn’t seem to mind at the moment because the cupcakes are great!

If you are a purist about working from scratch, I guess you could add a diced pear to this recipe I found online.  But I was lucky enough to find a copy of Anne Byrn’s cupcake recipe in this Knoxville News article:

Fresh Pear and Gingerbread Cupcakes

1 (14.5-ounce) package gingerbread mix
1 cup water
1 large egg
1 medium-size ripe pear, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 heaping teaspoon crystallized ginger, finely chopped, optional
Confectioners sugar, garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with 16 paper liners. Place gingerbread mix, water, egg, pear and ginger in large mixing bowl. Blend with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and thickened, 2 minutes more, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Batter will make 14-16 cupcakes. Bake cupcakes 18-20 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Remove from oven and place on wire rack and cool. After 5 minutes, remove cupcakes from pan and place on rack to cool additional 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with confectioners sugar or frosting of choice.

They didn’t include the frosting recipe, so here’s a short one from another site:

In a bowl cream together 3 oz. cream cheese and 3 tablespoons butter, add 1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and beat the mixture until it is fluffy and smooth. Beat in the zest and the lemon juice, then add more confectioner’s sugar as needed to attain the right consistency.  Chill the frosting for 30 minutes, then spread on cupcakes.

I cooked the cupcakes for 15 minutes, then found they needed more, so I added 3 minutes.  I removed them from the oven and let them cool a bit.  When I lifted the cupcakes out of the pan, the bottoms of the cupcake liners were curiously damp,  But, when I unwrapped a cupcake to test if they were undercooked, they were fine.  I guess it’s all the water and the pears.  The cupcakes come out all of a piece when you unwrap them.

The suggestion about chilling the icing first is a good one – wish I had had it last night.  This icing recipe has the consistency of goop until you add enough confectioner’s sugar.  I iced the cupcakes one time, then let everything cool and iced them again.  I like a lot of icing on my cupcakes – that may not be everyone’s preference.

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