Double Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

So, it turns out I’ve been on a bit of a gingerbread kick lately . . .

I love sugar and spice and everything nice, and gingerbread (in any form) is such an old-fashioned treat that I can’t seem to get enough of (even though I seem to eat the entire year’s worth between December 1-December 31st). I make some form of gingerbread every year over the holidays, but yet it never dawned on me that pairing it with chocolate would be so delightful and that it would just all make so much sense . . . until, of course, I made Gingerbread Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Being an SMB (or SMBC) lover, I couldn’t resist tossing some gingerbread spices into a big fluffy batch of Brown Sugar Buttercream, making it the gingerbread variation, for swirling onto holiday cupcakes. I suddenly seem to be using Brown Sugar Buttercream often lately, because it’s such a wonderful base for so many variations (such as here and for the deliciousness that was Peanut Butter Buttercream.

The thing was, I knew I wanted to make little gingerbread cookie toppers, and if I had made gingerbread cupcakes to go along with the gingerbread buttercream, that would have made them triple gingerbread cupcakes which seemed a bit, well, spicy (although, that may not be a bad thing–I will try this and get back to you). For this round, adding some rich dark chocolate to the idea just felt right.

Double Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

Then I remembered how much I’d wanted to try the chocolate cupcake recipe from a book I recently received: Making Cupcakes with Lola, which was written by the talented baker duo from Lola’s in the UK. This is one of the loveliest cupcake books I’ve read, and I’ve studied it for weeks–the cupcakes are a mix of classic and creative and the gorgeous photography & styling just brings it all to life.

I am eager to try many of their more unusual, or as they call it, “over the top” cupcakes (think Masala Chai Tea cupcakes, Gingerbread Latte cupcakes and more), but I couldn’t resist starting with their classic chocolate cupcake recipe. It stood out to me because they use both melted chocolate and cocoa powder and calls for no other liquid ingredient aside from 4 eggs. I was kind of intrigued! It’s a lighter, fluffier chocolate cake as opposed to the more fudgy oil-based chocolate cake I often use, which was a fun change, and I loved the double chocolate result.

Double Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes via Sweetapolita

So once I had my heart set on dark chocolate & gingerbread cupcakes, it dawned on me that my little gingerbread cookie toppers simply must be dipped in the finest dark chocolate — just makes good sense, right? I actually love making tiny gingerbread folk versus the standard size, because they are so cute and they are a perfect kid-sized treat. I was pretty excited when I remembered Reese having a teeny tiny house cutter in her playdough tool bin that was the perfect size for little chocolate gingerbread house toppers. So then we had a wee gingerbread girl and her wee gingerbread house. As far as we were concerned, it was kind of awesome. Why do things like this excite me so much? I’ll never know.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday filled with holiday baking and hopefully, for your sake, no shopping! Personally, I like to keep the circus element of my day in our own four walls at this time of year, just as I am today. This thought would comfort me, if it weren’t for the fact that I have barely started my holiday shopping. Minor detail!

I’ll be back very soon with another holiday delight!

P.S. I’m pretty sure we’d jingle Santa’s bells if we left him a plate of these and a tall glass of milk. Maybe we could even add a pretty wrapped box of the chocolate dipped gingerbread cookies for his elves?

Double Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes          {click to print}

Double Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes = Lola’s Chocolate Cupcakes + Gingerbread Swiss Buttercream + Chocolate-Dipped Gingerbread Cookie Toppers

Lola’s Bakery Chocolate Cupcakes

*written (with permission) as it reads in the book, Making Cupcakes with Lola

Ingredients

100 g/3 1/2 oz dark bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut Dark Chocolate Callets)

175 g/1 1/2 sticks butter, cubed

225 g/1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (caster) sugar

4 eggs

100 g/3/4 cup self-rising flour

2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder)

a pinch of salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

1. Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Heat, stirring, until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth, glossy mixture. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let cool for 10 minutes.

2. Now beat with an electric hand mixer for 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 10 seconds between each addition.

3. Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into the bowl and beat until blendid.

4. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake in the preheated oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Sweetapolita’s Notes

*Caster/castor sugar is also known as superfine sugar. You can create your own superfine sugar by substituting regular granulated sugar and processing it in a food processor until very fine.

**As with any cake or cupcake recipe I bake, I used room temperature eggs (not cold).

***I filled the cupcake liners a little more than I typically do, as I divided the batter evenly among the 12 liners, as directed. They were just over 2/3 full. I typically don’t prefer a “muffin-top” cupcake, but because I knew I wanted a wider cupcake to hold very billowy swirls of buttercream, I went with it. I may never look back.

Gingerbread Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Yield: ~5 cups, enough for filling and frosting an 8-inch round cake, or frosting 12+ cupcakes.

Ingredients

5 large egg whites (~150 grams/5 ounces)

1 1/4 cup (250 grams/8.5 ounces) dark brown sugar (you can also use light brown sugar)

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks,  340 grams/12 ounces/3/4 lb) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

1/2 teaspoon ( mL) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

a pinch of ground nutmeg

a pinch of salt

Method

1. Wipe the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and brown sugar and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140-160°F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot, about 5 minutes if you used room temperature egg whites. About 8+ minutes if they were cold.

2. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so and is so important–never add butter to warm meringue). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing on medium-low and it will come back to smooth).

3. Add vanilla, salt and spices, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Sweetapolita’s Notes on Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

* Can make buttercream ahead and keep in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, re-whipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

** Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.

***If not satiny enough upon rewhip, take 1/3 of buttercream and microwave in a microwave-safe container for ~8 seconds, then add back to mixing bowl and remix with remaining buttercream.

****For more detail about making Swiss Meringue Buttercream, you can find my FAQ here and photo tutorial here.

Chocolate-Dipped Gingerbread Cookies

1. Bake your favourite gingerbread cookie dough, and cut desired shapes–I prefer bite-size cookies in general, especially when using them for cupcake toppers. For these cookies, I tried Martha’s Molasses-Gingerbread Cookies recipe, and I followed it to the letter. I love them because they are dark and have a very deep molasses taste. The dough is gorgeous–just note that you will likely need to add quite a bit of flour while rolling and you will need to flour your cutter often, otherwise it is quite sticky. Once baked, let cookies cool on wire rack. *I found my little house and gingerbread doll cutters in my little girl’s playdough tool box, so don’t feel you have to stick with traditional cookie cutters.

2. Melt some (depending on how many cookies you are covering) quality chocolate in the microwave, and if you follow this easy tempering process (when, using the microwave, your chocolate will be tempered in seconds, which is how we get the chocolate to harden with a nice sheen. For these cookies, I used Callebaut Dark Chocolate Callets, which is rich, dark and perfect for covering cookies and is intended for melting down.

3. Dip cookies into chocolate using two forks (or if you have a chocolate-dipping fork), covering entire cookie, or even just half, depending on the look you want to achieve, letting the excess chocolate drip back into bowl.

4. Place on Silpat or wax paper-lined cookie sheet.

5. Place filled sheet in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set.

Place upon cupcakes or simply eat them as they are. Or both! Store at room temperature.

Good luck & enjoy!

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Comments

  1. Alba says

    Super lovely! <3 This is going to be my little gift for my family this Christmas Eve. Thank you so much for such a lovely blog(once again), and MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you & your family, Rosie! (:

  2. says

    How funny, I am planning to devote tomorrow to making tiny little gingerbread men and dipping them in chocolate because I think it’s just the perfect combination. They will feel slightly lacking now though if they’re not standing atop a cupcake with that lovely billowy pile of buttercream!

  3. says

    ohhhh these are so adorable, rosie! i love them! i was so excited when i saw your little gingerbread cookies on instagram & couldn’t wait to see what you were doing with them. what a perfect holiday treat! hope you’re having a wonderful weekend :)

  4. says

    Seriously, Rosie?!? This is flat out amazing. You are so talented and love seeing the sweets you dream up and bring to life on the blog. I’m glad you dipped the gingerbread in chocolate too. Only fitting. Lovely photos too!!

  5. says

    These are perfect – what a fantastic combination of chocolate and gingerbread and peanuts butter. I have some leftover gingerbread in the fridge so am off to try these. Wonderful.

  6. says

    I’m on a bit of a gingerbread kick at the moment too – the spiciness and depth of flavour always reminds me of Christmas. And I’m completely in love with your chocolate cloaked gingerbread people…they are so cute!

  7. Nina says

    Those look delicious! Are those cupcake boxes in the background? They’re so pretty — where did you find them? Happy holidays:)

  8. Heather says

    I laughed when I read your comment about the tiny gingerbread girl and how awesome you thought they were; my husband just laughed at me yesterday when we were in Canadian Tire and I saw the cutest mini-trifle clear bowls – Immediately my imagination flew into full swing of what I could create in these! So I too can relate – I think we get such a kick out of the little things in life when our creative selves think of something that will be cute but useable and it just fuels our creativity. Nice job! I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves cute little things :) Merry Christmas to you and your family; thanks for providing such an amazing blog for us, your readers’ enjoyment! =o)

  9. Mary says

    Too adorable! And you know my taste for anything gingerbread…chocolate must make it just that much more divine!!!!! Love! xo

  10. Gwyn M says

    This look divine, Rosie! I’m so excited for a new variation on SMB – I never thought about using brown sugar – and can’t wait to try these cupcakes.

  11. says

    you know, I’ve only just discovered pumpkin gingerbread and oh lordy am I in love!?!! So, on this newly discovered gingerbread love in I’m clearly going to have to try some chocolate gingerbread and these will be it. This may be, the fact that the fluffy frilly frosting on these also looks deeeevine. Here’s to little cookie cutters and the places we find them!

  12. Quinn says

    Hi Rosie!

    I (silently) follow your blog and have made many delicious recipes from it! (The meringue layer cake I made for Easter last year still gets talked about) I just made these cupcakes- a funny story actually about the flour, I was tired and was tripped up by your use of “/” when giving the gram and cup/oz measurements and read “3/4″ as “4 cups” of self-rising flour! haha! I kept adding it and kept saying, “something isn’t right, but the recipe says 4…” then i came back and read it and had a total DOH moment!

    Also, the SMB is so good, a lovely twist on it with the brown sugar. I just thought I would mention for anyone else making it, when I was done adding the 3 sticks of butter, it was way too runny. And I’ve made SMB many times before, with my recipe usually calling for a whole pound (4 sticks) of butter. I added another stick and it fixed the problem, so all was saved. Not sure why I had to add the last one, unlike you did, but I thought I would pass that tidbit along!

    Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  13. Kate M says

    I made these last night for Christmas and they went down a storm. I topped mine with little nuggets of stem ginger dipped in dark chocolate.

    Can I ask what nozzle you use to pipe your swirls of buttercream – I didn’t manage to get the same effect with a star nozzle.

    Thanks
    Kate

    • says

      Hi Kate! So glad to hear the cupcakes went over well! I love what you did wih the nuggets of ginger dipped in dark chocolate–that sounds amazing. To frost the cupcakes I used Ateco tip 887. I hope this helps, and I wish you a Happy New Year!

  14. Rebecca L says

    Rosie,
    I also share a love of all things gingerbread! I had to make these cupcakes combining two of my favorite foods. The icing is divine, and the cupcakes have a wonderful taste. I found a small snowflake cookie cutter, reindeer, and a gingerbread boy cookie cutter for cookie toppers(so cute! :) ). My cupcakes needed to be a little more moist; they were too crumbly for my taste, and the tops were hard or slightly crunchy. I think that I overbaked them slightly. How many minutes should they cook? This information was not included in the recipie.
    Thanks,
    Rebecca

  15. Lauren says

    I want to try this chocolate cupcake recipe, how long do you bake them for though? Thanks, Lauren

  16. Nicole says

    i just made these cupcakes and they taste AMAZING! However, can you give me any pointers for high altitude? I live in Colorado and I’m having a horrible time with them not sinking in the middle. Do I need to add some extra flour? Any idea would be super helpful!

  17. Sonya says

    Hi… I m from malaysia and i love ur blog!! It would be a dream come true for me if i could ever bake like u .. i need some advice
    I followed this recipe exactly like u said.. However the top of my cupcakes cracked badly… why is that?? plus it is takin me more than half hour to bake the cupcakes… what could i have done wrong… help pls

  18. Katey McM says

    Hey Rosie, these look ridiculously moreish, maybe I shouldn’t be making them….
    Just wondering how long you cooked them for, and if I were to make mini versions how long that would take?
    Many thanks x

  19. Emily says

    I just made the double chocolate cupcakes and am in heaven. I haven’t even started making the buttercream yet but couldn’t resist taste testing the cupcakes. You did forget to mention how long to bake them for but I just kept testing with a skewer every few minutes and they ended up taking around 18 minutes.

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