Ok, I know, I know, it’s been way too long since my last post. But believe me, this recipe should (somewhat) make up for it and it’s just in time for your holiday parties, dinners, etc.! I came across this recipe from Martha Stewart a few years ago and love to make it for guests. Love or hate Martha, you’ve got to agree that it’s an ingenious idea to invert a cupcake and pour some ganache over it. It takes it from average, everyday cupcake to a beautiful, elegant individual dessert. Ok, well, you don’t have to agree that it’s ingenious, but I sure think it’s pretty cool. And it makes it look so much more complicated than it actually is.
I first made these cakes on a fall night a few years ago when Joseph, my sister, Jessica, and her future husband, Adam, were all meeting up at my parents’ house to watch a Redskins game. I think it was an important game. I don’t remember, I wasn’t all that interested. I had decided that I would pass at least part of the time by baking something for dessert and I had gotten Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook recently and really wanted to try these. I asked my sister if it would be weird if I made a fancyish dessert when we were just watching the game (or at least some of us were) and having a simple dinner. She was thrilled and seemed to think the fancier the better. Her enthusiasm made more sense when she and Adam announced just before dessert that they were engaged!
I have no memory if the Redskins won or lost (knowing the Redskins, they probably lost) and I have no idea what we had for dinner. What I do remember is that that night I gained a brother and perhaps even more amazingly, he absolutely loved the dessert. Adam loves food, but he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. So I was flabbergasted when he was so enthusiastic about these. They’re not as sweet as many desserts (but believe me, sweet enough) and ganache makes almost anything delicious. Oh, and they go pretty nicely with some sparkling wine and even better with good news.
Chocolate Glazed Gingerbread Cakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
5 Tbsp (60 g) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 ½ cup (215 g) flour, plus more for pan.
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup (157 ml) boiling water
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (150 g) packed brown sugar
2/3 cup (230 g) unsulfured molasses
1 ½ tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
2 pieces crystallized ginger, thinly sliced lengthwise, for garnish (if you’re like me and can only find small pieces of crystallized ginger, you’ll need more like 6 or 7 pieces)
Preheat the oven to 350. Generously butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, tapping out excess flour.
In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda and boiling water and set aside.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, and beat until combined. Add the molasses, fresh ginger, and the baking soda mixture and beat until combined. (Don’t worry if the batter looks curdled, it will come together when you add the flour.) Add the flour mixture and beat until well combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about halfway. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack to cool completely.
Spoon chocolate ganache over each cake, letting some drip around the sides and garnish. Once glazed, the cakes can be refrigerated, in airtight containers for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
½ pound (225 g) best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Place the chocolate in a nonreactive, heatproof bowl.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring cream to a boil and turn off the heat. Don’t leave the cream unattended during the heating process — it has an amazing ability to go from looking like it’s nowhere near boiling to boiling over very quickly.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and swirl to completely cover it with cream. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk mixture until smooth. Let the ganache cool to a good, pourable consistency, stirring frequently. It should be pourable but still thick enough to coat.