Last weekend was another cross country race and that gave me another excuse to try out a recipe I haven’t done before and experiment with the decorating. I chose stem ginger cupcake as I wanted a flavour that would be warming in this cold weather, also I hadn’t made them before so it was good to tick off another recipe from the long list! I struggled a bit to think of something to theme the cupcakes with as this time of year seems to be quite uneventful, unlike Christmas. So I chose to make some cows and daisies that could incorporate a subtle red and yellow theme – by using red and yellow centers for the daisies – Serpentine running club colours.
I started by making stem ginger cupcakes, here is the recipe:
Stem Ginger Cupcakes (adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
For the sponge:
120g Plain Flour
140g Caster Sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground all spice
Pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter, softened
1 large eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
120ml whole milk
200g stem ginger in syrup – finely chopped and reserve the syrup
For the frosting:
160g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar, sifted
1 lemon zested
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line 12 hole muffin tray with cases.
In a large bowl or electric mixer, mix all the dry ingredients plus the butter until you’ve got a sandy consistency.
Pour in half the milk and beat until just mixed, then add the egg and vanilla to the remaining milk, whisk together quickly and pour the whole lot in. Mix it all together for a few minutes until smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl to catch any lumps of flour, then stir in the chopped ginger.
Fill each case two-thirds full, bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. Remove from the oven.
Remove from the tins and place on a cooling rack. Pour about 1 tsp of the reserved syrup from the stem ginger on to the top of each cupcake.
I made the buttercream from the recipe, but it was far too runny because of the additional milk. So I wouldn’t make it again, but instead make a lemon buttercream or may be vanilla.
To make the buttercream, using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment, whisk the icing sugar with the butter and lemon zest on a low speed until fully combined and the mixture is still powdery in texture.
Gradually add the milk and, once this has been incorporated, increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy.
Put the butter cream into a piping bag with a star nozzle and set aside for later.
I spent the afternoon methodically cutting out all the shapes for the cows and daisies and then sticking them all together to build the cows. No surprises – it too longer than I anticipated!
I started by cutting out large circles from the white fondant and then making the ears one in white fondant and one in black with a small piece of fondant shaped into an ear shape and secured in place with a dab of water behind the white circle.
The noses were made with pink fondant and cut using the same round cutter that was used for the white circles. I cut a circle and then cut off the rest of the circle to make the nose shape with the cutter. I then used a small piping nozzle to cut out holes for the nose and a curved tool to make an imprint for the mouth. These were secured in place on the white circle with a light brush of water.
Next I cut out all the black shapes, 2 small circles with the same nozzle I had used to cut the holes out of the pink for the nose (as these black circles are place in these holes). I used another larger nozzle for the spot on the right side of the cows face and an oval cutter for the spot around the eye which I then cut the bottom bit off using the large round circle cutter that was used for the nose and the white base of the face. These were secured in place with a light brush of water.
The eyes were made by cutting small circles out of light blue fondant and even smaller ones with black fondant. They were secured in place with a dab of water.
The daisies were made with a small daisy cutter and red/yellow fondant rolled into a little ball for the center.
Eventually all the cows were finished and the buttercream was piped onto the cupcakes and the cows and daisies were added. They didn’t last long at the cross country race – I might need to invest in a cupcake carrier that holds more than 36 cupcakes!