Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Double Chocolate Cupcakes (with a hint of ginger) and a leaving do

Last week one of my colleagues left work to go on maternity leave. She's having a boy! What started out to be a small good luck gathering, snowballed into a long list of food to bring and a couple of hours scoffing in the office - a very rare event, believe me!

No stranger to my gluten free offerings, I asked the excited (and very round) mum-to-be what flavour cake she would like me to make, and was not in the least surprised when she requested chocolate. Being a special leaving do, it had to be made pretty and fit for a congratulatory baby send-off.

Wanting to make the cakes a little different, extra decadent and also to add a depth of flavour, I threw some ginger and a bunch of chocolate chunks into the mix. The ginger, although not overpowering in any way, completely changed the dimension of the sponge so that it was deep in flavour and warming on the palate.

I often use ground almonds in sponge, as this ensures a long-lasting moistness. But these cupcakes are made with a no-nut sponge, moistened by butter and yoghurt. Nuts or not, it is wonderfully soft, rich, chocolatey, slightly sticky, but light and very moist! The sponge is not over-sweet, but is topped with vanilla frosting, which perfectly compliments what lies beneath.

In keeping with the celebration, the icing has been lightly coloured blue and decorated with some added sparkle. Unfortunately the little icing buttons I so lovingly made to top each cake, went on a bit too early and wilted with moisture picked up when being stored overnight. Oops...... evidently way too early. They ended up looking rather limp and sad. Oh well........

The photos don't really do them justice........... To be honest, the wilted buttons were a bit disheartening........ But the cakes were so good, I couldn't keep the recipe to myself!

In reality, the wilted buttons made no difference. The cakes were delicious and were enjoyed by all.........

Good Luck A! You're going to be a great Mummy!!!

Double Chocolate Cupcakes (with a hint of ginger) with Vanilla Frosting (makes approx 28 large cupcakes)

Ingredients - Sponge

310g gluten free plain flour blend (I used mix A from this post)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
480g unsalted butter 
250 ml water
40g cocoa powder
400g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
200 ml plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger
200g chocolate chunks (I used 100g white & 100g milk)

Ingredients - Vanilla Frosting

125g unsalted butter - room temperature
approx 500g icing sugar - sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60 ml almond milk (or cows milk)
Food colouring - optional
Sprinkles to decorate - optional


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and prepare your cupcake cases in cupcake trays.
  2. Weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter, water and cocoa powder in either a saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring, or in a glass bowl and melt in the microwave on 30 second bursts (stirring between each). Ensure all the ingredients are evenly blended.
  4. Once melted, transfer to a large bowl, add the sugar and whisk for about five minutes until airy and cool.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking thoroughly between each.
  6. Add the yoghurt, vanilla and ginger and whisk again.
  7. Gently fold in the flour mix and chocolate chunks with a large spoon until just blended. Be careful not to over-mix.
  8. Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the sponge springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  10. Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter until soft and then gradually add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk (a little at a time) until the desired consistency is reached. Add the colour to your chosen shade.
  11. When the cakes are completely cold, pipe or spread the frosting on the top of each one and decorate with your chosen sprinkles.
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  1. These are so pretty Kate! And I really like the idea of adding ginger.

    1. Thank you Laura! The ginger is so wonderful against the chocolate.

  2. These look fabulous and perfect for a leaving do (and a baby boy)! Love the bright blue against the chocolate background and those sparkly sprinkles really make it look special.

    1. Thanks Katie. I'm definitely a fan of sparkly sprinkles!

  3. they are just so perfectly pretty aren't they. And I love chocolate and ginger too. Gorgeous!

    1. Well thank you Dom! Chocolate & ginger is fast becoming one of my favourite combinations....

  4. Ginger really does add something to a chocolate mix. Such pretty cakes!

    1. Thanks Ness. It does seem to make it much richer and more grown up!

  5. These look absolutely amazing and I'm sure the mum to be was pleased. I'm not a fan of ginger but I know chocolate and ginger go well together.

  6. Wow! So beautiful and so delicious! You have done a great job here. The mum must be more than pleased!

  7. Well, I think they look very pretty and sound delicious too - what's a few limp buttons between friends. A very thoughtful bake to take a long.

    1. Thanks Choclette. In the grand scheme of things, limp buttons are the least of our worries!

  8. What a lovely thing to make for the leaving do! Very pretty indeed. I am not gluten-free, but I have friends who are, so I do a fair amount of gluten-free baking and recipe development. The touch of ginger sounds good, I wouldn't like it if it were overpowering, but it sounds like you added just the right amount.

    1. Thanks Jean. The ginger is definitely not over-powering in these. Just a nice warming amount!

  9. A hint of ginger is always welcome - what pretty little cakes they are too!


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