101 in 1001 {II}: 027 invent a bitchin’ cupcake recipe [completed 06.05.09]

the inspiration

it's hard to argue with the dark and stormy (dark rum over ginger beer and ice, sometimes with a bit of lime; our preferred version is gosling's black seal over maine root ginger brew and ice): it's flavorful and spicy without being cloying or fussy. those sounded like decent parameters for dessert invention, too, and the skies in new york were black and miserable yesterday afternoon and evening, so: i made dark and stormy cupcakes.

this recipe sounds time-consuming and a little kitchen-sinky - because it combines two batters, it does feature everything from fresh ground pepper and molasses to lemon rind and crystallized ginger - but i am the laziest cook i know, and i firmly believe that these little dudes are worth the work.

dark and stormy cupcakes
(adapted from david lebovitz, southern living, and slashfood recipes, with advice from a friendly food editor*)

dark (ginger cake) batter

- 2 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 c molasses
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 c flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 c water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 egg

in a large bowl, mix the molasses, sugar, and oil; in another bowl, stir the flour, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper together. zap the water in the microwave, stir in the baking soda, then add to the molasses bowl. stir in the grated ginger. whisk the flour mixture into the molasses mixture, then add the egg and mix until thoroughly combined (you'll have a dark, bubbling bowl, sort of like the la brea tar pits).

light (rum cake) batter

- 3/4 c butter, softened
- 3/4 c sugar
- 2 eggs, minus one white
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
- 3/8 c dark rum
- 1 1/2 c flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 c heavy whipping cream

beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add eggs and vanilla, then lemon rind, then rum, beating each time until blended (you'll have wee, curdled-looking chunks; don't worry, it's supposed to look like that). combine dry ingredients in another small bowl, then add to batter, alternating with the cream, beginning and ending with the dry stuff. stir until just blended after each addition.

act II: they meet

ladle dark batter into lined cupcake pans so that each is just over half-full, then top each with a big dollop (say, 2 to 2 1/2 tbsp) of light batter, like so.

dolloped and ready for baking

bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick or fondue fork** comes out clean. cool cupcakes for about 15 minutes (or about five minutes next to a slightly open window, if the weather is as bad as it was last night), then transfer cupcakes to two large platters and poke the hell out of them with a fondue fork (or a cocktail pick, if you want to be clever), like so.

nude cupcakes

combine 4 tbsp of butter, 3/8 c sugar, and 1/3 c dark rum (gosling's again) in a saucepan over medium heat; when mixture is liquid, stick it over by the window where the cupcakes cooled for about 10 minutes. ladle a large spoonful of the cooled rum sauce over each cupcake.

for frosting, beat 8 ounces (1 package) cold cream cheese with 2 1/2 tbsp. softened butter, 1 c powdered sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla until combined. add a glug of the gosling's and stir to combine; repeat as necessary until frosting has reached your optimal level of rumminess (i used three).

give each cupcake a dollop of frosting and sprinkle with finely chopped crystallized ginger, thus:

dark and stormy cupcake


*i consulted a food editor as i invented my recipe, internets: that's how much i love you.

**i use a lot of fondue forks when i cook. it's just a thing.


Amanda Bruns said...

Act II: They Meet?!?!

I could not love you any more.

wabes said...

good god, those look (sound) amazing! do you ship to the midwest?

i think my flavors of the season are going to be ginger, grapefruit, and basil. perhaps together, but everything i want right now has one of them in it. i'm going to try to approximate shishi cafeteria melon/feta/basil salad sometime this week, i think...

Shelby said...

I made this recipe as mini bundt cakes and veganized it. It was amazing. I'm making a whole batch of these as X-mas gifts.

lauren said...

i'm so glad to hear that, shelby! cool to know a vegan version works - i'll have to try that myself sometime. how did you sub?

Shelby said...

In the dark cake batter I used 1/4 cup applesauce for the egg. For the light batter I used 1/2 cup applesauce for the egg, equal amount of vegan margarine for the butter, and 1/2 cup coconut milk for the cream. For the frosting I subbed vegan cream cheese and margarine for the dairy items, and used margarine in the rum sauce. I also used blackstrap molasses for reg. molasses in this recipe, which worked great!

Jill said...

Amazing! Who knew that my long shot google search for my favorite cocktail in cupcake form would be granted! Thanks for sharing!

Beth said...

These look amazing! I think I'm going to give them a try! Does this recipe make 24 cupcakes?

kidchamp said...

as i recall, yup! 

Beth said...

Awesome! Thank you!