Saturday, 22 January 2011

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

I'm an avid recipe reader and now have a huge collection of recipes I have been able to cut out plus the handwritten ones and put into scrapbooks. Every so often - not that often, if the truth be told - I have a purge and throw out the ones that turned out not to be as good as I had thought.  But you will understand why I cut this recipe out of the Saturday ‘Weekend’ magazine in The Guardian when I was in the UK last autumn and put it aside for a rainy day. In fact, I’ve had it on my desk ever since just biding its time because I knew that given the right moment I would make it.

 It was the ingredients that attracted me, the pumpkin, the ginger.  I skimmed through and saw walnuts too. What a delicious-sounding combination was my first thought, followed in quick succession by a further thought: what’s more, all easily available here in Istanbul right now. This is always the issue here: can we get the ingredients? There was an inviting picture as well. I always think pictures are essential for recipes, don’t you? They lure you in. These cupcakes looked just right for a January afternoon at home with friends.

one perfect uniced cupcake

In my haste to make them, I didn’t wait for Son to be here to eat them up so I am happy to report that they freeze very well.  I froze them uniced.  Defrosting them was quick and completing with the icing the morning my friends were coming round was easy. Half the amount given in the recipe for the icing was exactly right for the 8 I had defrosted. Son has yet to try them.

Ingredients for Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes
Makes 12-16
125g stem or glace ginger in syrup ( my ginger was not in syrup)
175g brown muscovado (or molasses) sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened
2 large 
250g pumpkin (or butternut squash flesh), grated
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp each ground ginger and allspice
¼ tsp each ground nutmeg and clove (I didn't have clove)
125g chopped walnuts (or pecans)
200g icing sugar
125g full-fat cream cheese
1 tsp extra ground ginger for icing.

before and after

·         Pre-heat oven to 190C/170C fan-assisted/375F/gas mark 5.
·         Finely chop the ginger. Beat sugar and 125g butter until smooth, then beat in the eggs, one by one. Stir in the pumpkin and chopped ginger, sift in the flour, baking powder and spices, add the nuts, and stir until smooth.
·         Line the pockets of a deep muffin tray with muffin papers, then fill each one almost to the top.
·         Bake for 25 minutes, then set aside to cool.

For the icing:
·         Beat the icing sugar, cream cheese and remaining butter until smooth. Add 1 tsp ground ginger.
·         Swirl a dollop of icing on each cupcake and decorate with a single piece of chopped stem/glace ginger.
1.       It’s amazing how this amount of grated pumpkin is magically absorbed into the other ingredients. Also the grating itself is much easier than it sounds.
2.       I recommend filling each muffin paper, as the recipe calls them, full as the mixture doesn’t overflow and they look terrific when beautifully risen. So next time – and there will definitely be a next time -  I will go for  12 -14 cupcakes, I expect.
3.       The reason that syrup was mentioned in the list of ingredients is that the recipe states that a little may be necessary for the icing ‘to make it easily spreadable’. However I didn’t find this necessary: the icing spread beautifully and tasted exquisite.

just right for tea with friends
 Afiyet olsun! 

Hope you like them as much as we did!