Toffee and Gingerbread Cupcakes

I've definitely said this way too much recently, but my favourite flavours around Christmas are the spicier ones. Whilst chocolate orange and peppermint are absolutely mouth-watering, my heart completely lies with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. They're all just so warming and taste amazing together, which is why I love gingerbread. I know it isn't for everyone, though, so that's why I came up with this alternative! These are toffee and gingerbread cupcakes, that are packed full of spices with a sweet topping to contrast. They're super quick and easy to make, plus, you get to show off and make your own toffee for the icing!

I'm not normally very adventurous with buttercream. I like to stick to what I know, which is usually plain vanilla, or if I'm feeling daring, I'll add white chocolate or a bottled essence. So when I decided I was going to add real toffee to this buttercream, I must've been having a particularly good day! Toffee is very easy to make, as it only requires 3 ingredients, but with this, I added just a touch of ginger as well, just to give it some extra warmth. Of course, if you don't want to make toffee, you can always buy it pre-made from a supermarket. By adding it, not only does it give the icing a very sweet and decadent flavour, but it also makes the icing smooth and silky. Seriously, this stuff was an absolute dream to pipe, and even more of a dream to eat!

You will need:
350g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g soft brown sugar
3 eggs
150g self-raising flour
Half teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger, plus a little extra for the icing
Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
Quarter teaspoon ground nutmeg
200g icing sugar
2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
Fudge pieces (optional)

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4 and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.
  2. Cream together 150g of the butter and 150g of the soft brown sugar until light and fluffy. Make sure that your butter is room temperature, but if not, you can give it a quick blast in the microwave for a couple of seconds.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then sift the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg into the mixture. Mix this together to form a smooth batter.
  4. Divide your mixture between the cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool in the tin for around 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  5. While your cupcakes are cooling, you can make a start on your icing! In a pan, melt together 50g of your butter and the remaining 50g of soft brown sugar over a low heat. Make sure to stir constantly so that the sugar doesn't burn. Once completely melted, add the 2 tablespoons of milk and a pinch of ginger, and stir well to form a thick, glossy toffee sauce. Leave to one side to cool.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, beat the remaining 150g of butter until smooth, then start to sift in the icing sugar, beating regularly. Once your toffee sauce has cooled, add it to the butter-sugar mixture, and beat until thoroughly incorporated. If your icing seems a little thick, you can always add a splash of milk, but it should be light and creamy, otherwise.
  7. Add little fudge chunks for decoration, or drizzle over some toffee sauce if you made extra.
That's all there is to it! I think the little fudge chunks are very cute and allow these cupcakes to be made at any time of the year, not just Christmas. I was tempted to use gingerbread people sprinkles instead, but I'm so pleased with how they've turned out! They're beautifully light and fluffy with added texture from the chewy fudge and silky icing. You really need to give them a go!

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