Chai Gingerbread Cupcakes with Coconut Icing

Temps des Fêtes 2007
food and drink

BY: Anna Olson

The addition of cardamom and black pepper to the standard gingerbread spice blend really updates the flavour profile.

2 cups plus 2 tbsp (500 mL plus 25 mL) pastry flour
1 cup (250 mL) sugar
½ cup (125 mL) golden brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) fine salt
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cardamom
¼ tsp (1 mL) ground allspice
¼ tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper
⅓ cup (75 mL) canola oil
¾ cup (175 mL) buttermilk
1 tbsp (15 mL) fancy molasses
1½ tsp (7 mL) vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated

¼ cup (50 mL) unsalted butter at room temperature
6 tbsp (90 mL) cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
3½ cups (875 mL) icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
½ tsp (2 mL) coconut extract (optional)
Sweetened coarsely shredded coconut (see Tip below)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Line a muffin tin with paper cups. Sift flour, ½ cup (125 mL) of sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add oil, buttermilk, molasses and vanilla. Beat 1 minute with electric beaters. Add egg yolks and beat another minute.

3. In a separate bowl and using cleaned beaters, whip egg whites until foamy. Gradually pour in remaining ½ cup (125 mL) sugar and whip until whites hold a stiff peak. Fold whites gently into batter and spoon into muffin cups. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when pressed. Allow to cool.

4. For icing, beat butter until fluffy. On low speed, beat in cream of coconut and icing sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and coconut extract (if using). If icing is too thin, add a touch more icing sugar, and if too thick add a touch more cream of coconut. Spread icing onto cupcakes, garnish with shredded coconut and serve.

Tip: For an attractive alternative garnish, use a vegetable peeler to peel large coconut curls from the meat of a fresh coconut (shelled). Place curls on a parchment-lined baking tray, dust generously with icing sugar and bake in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes. Cool and garnish cupcakes.

Makes about 18 cupcakes