welcome to cupcake heaven

miette‘s gingerbread cupcake was reportedly named the best cupcake in america, although i didn’t know this before i bit into one that someone had brought into the office today. i have to say i whole-heartedly agree. it was moist and flavorful, with a wonderful gingerbread-y taste that didn’t overwhelm, properly balanced with an amazing cream cheese frosting.

luckily i found the recipe online, definitely plan on trying it out next time i NEED to bake something comforting and delicious. for those of you wishing to take it a bit further, miette has published a cookbook with all of their delicious recipes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Makes 18-24

11/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons stout beer, such as Guinness

3/4 cup molasses

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups cream cheese frosting (see below)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt together.

3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the stout and molasses, and bring to a boil. Whisk in the baking soda, whisking constantly as the mixture foams up. Remove from heat immediately and let cool to room temperature.

4. Using an electric mixer with the stand attachment, combine the eggs and sugars and whisk on medium speed until well combined and lightened in color, 3-4 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the oil and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add stout mixture. Stop and scrape down sides with a rubber spatula. Return to low speed and add dry ingredients, beating until just combined. Fold a few more times with the spatula. Strain the mixture through a medium-mesh sieve into a clean bowl.

5. Fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full (a 1/4-cup measure works well). Bake until the tops spring back when touched and a tester inserted in the center emerges clean, 20-25 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

6. When completely cool, use a piping bag to adorn the cupcakes with a swirl of cream cheese frosting.

— Meg Ray, “Miette” (Chronicle Books, 224 pages, $27.50)

Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 3 cups

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sifted, powdered sugar

2 cups (1 pound) cream cheese, room temperature

1. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, beating until smooth and glossy.

2. Add the cream cheese and mix thoroughly. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed. Transfer cold frosting to a stand mixer and beat until smooth before using, 2-3 minutes. Cream cheese frosting lasts 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

— Meg Ray, “Miette” (Chronicle Books, 224 pages, $27.50)

another reason to make these cupcakes: so i can pack them up in jars for easy transport! you should have seen me bringing a cupcake to E today after work, i tore off the top of a tissue box to form a “carrier,” and was walking around town looking like a crazy sick lady. i can imagine this is a much better (and cuter)  option.

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