Yield: Makes 10
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup unsulphered molasses
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 recipe Butter Glaze
1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
1 recipe Meringue Buttercream
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk
Yield: Makes 1 3/4 cups, or enough for 10 large cupcakes
6 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
Yield: Makes 3 cups, enough for one 2- or 3-layer cake or about 2 dozen cupcakes
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
5 large egg whites
Pinch cream of tartar
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 jumbo muffin tins with paper baking cups, and set aside. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.
3. Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
1. Place 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat; immediately pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugar. Add 4 teaspoons milk; whisk until mixture is smooth. Working quickly, dip the top of each cupcake into the glaze, and place cupcake right-side up on a wire rack.
2. Repeat step 1; glaze remaining cupcakes. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes, before decorating.
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and place in a medium bowl. Scald the cream, and pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.
2. Let the glaze stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
3. For the smoothest possible surface, carefully dip the cupcakes into the prepared chocolate glaze. Let cupcakes drip, dripped-side down, for several seconds, and then turn right-side up. Allow glaze to set before decorating.
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer onto the saucepan. Boil the syrup, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization, until the syrup registers 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium high until stiff but not dry peaks form.
3. With the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl (to prevent splattering) into the egg whites in a steady stream, and beat on high speed until the steam is no longer visible, about 3 minutes. Beat in butter, piece by piece. Add vanilla; beat until smooth and spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes. If it looks curdled at any point during the beating process, continue beating until smooth.
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