On perusing my favourite new baking book, Dan Lepard’s fabulous Short & Sweet, this recipe for pumpkin ginger cupcakes very quickly made its presence felt. We had four massive Boston Marrow squashes (you can see last year’s pictures here) from our plot this year. These are big with firm orange flesh and are easier to grow in our climate than most. They are also thin skinned, like a butternut squash, so are easy to prepare. The downside of this is that they don’t keep very well. We have, therefore, been supping on squash soups, curries or stews most nights for the last month or so. I’ve made pumpkin syrup, pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin butter and now these cupcakes. Luckily, I love squash, so I’m sort of pleased and sort of sad that we’ve only got enough left of this year’s crop for another 4 or 5 meals plus maybe some pumpkin scones.
Another reason, if another was needed, for making these particular cakes, was the element of ginger. I wanted to submit something to TeaTimeTreats, a new baking challenge set by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Kate of What Kate Baked. Ginger and bonfire treats is the chosen theme for November. I did make an apple and ginger oat pudding a few weeks ago, which I was going to enter, but cakes are more of a teatime treat than puddings.
Having made the pumpkin butter, I was keen to use it, so the topping is not the one Dan prescribed but one I made up. I also swapped the nuts for chocolate – how could I not? And made a few other amendments. This is what I did:
- Grated 250g squash.
- Finely chopped 100g crystallised ginger.
- Roughly chopped 50g dark 70% chocolate.
- Creamed 175g molasses sugar with 125g unsalted butter.
- Beat in 2 large eggs, one by one.
- Stirred in the pumpkin and ginger.
- Mixed in 200g flour (half spelt, half white), 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp allspice, a grating or two of nutmeg and 1/8 tsp ground cloves.
- Stirred in the chocolate and spooned into twelve muffin cases.
- Baked at 180C for 20 minutes, left to cool for 5 minutes then turned out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Beat 100g icing sugar with 125g mascarpone until smooth.
- Stirred in 2 tbsp of pumpkin butter.
- Spread onto the cooled cupcakes and decorated with slices of crystallised ginger.
I was so pleased with my pumpkin butter topping, it was delicious; creamy and spicy, with a nice tangerine tint to it. Once again, I had to refrain from eating the lot before it went onto the cakes.
The cakes tasted like a Jamaica ginger cake, according to CT, only not nearly as sweet and considerably more substantial. The lumps of ginger were nice and chewy and the chocolate chunks a welcome addition. Amazingly, with all these strong flavours, the pumpkin was detectable, in both the cake and topping. In fact, CT, in uncharacteristically techie mood, summed it up as being “like the html behind the blog”. He also noticed it left a clean and refreshing taste in the mouth.