One of the things that I always wanted to do was be part of a baking group. I think it is a great way to expand my skills and to try new things with baking that I might not otherwise do. However, many baking groups, like Tuesdays with Dorie, want you to bake and post once a week, which I am just not up to doing.
In my blog travels, I came across Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club. It is a group of people who are baking their way through Martha Stewart's book, Cupcakes. Now, I have no particular attachment to Martha Stewart (she's no Dorie, after all) but I do love cupcakes and the posting of once a month (with a possible bonus each month) sounds just about right. In addition, Martha has all these cute decorating ideas and step by step directions, and I have been wanting to improve on my decorating skills, so it seems like a good match.
However, I have not been officially approved as a member of the group yet (there is a waiting list), so I thought I would bake along unofficially until I am part of the group.
These cupcakes, which come from page 246, seem just right for the Christmas season. Now, being Jewish, there is no Christmas in our house, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a little gingerbread once and a while. These cupcakes were not quite spicy enough for me. I actually thought they were too sweet and it overpowered the gingerbread flavor. It is only at the end that you get a little kick from the spices. If I make these again, I will cut back on the sugar.
I made her recommended frosting -- fluffy white frosting. I made 3/4 of the recipe and used less sugar than she called for. I had a lot left over, so I might make only half when frosting 19 cupcakes (which is how many I got). I cut back on the sugar because I knew that I would find it too sweet with all the sugar in the frosting together with the cupcakes. I think these cupcakes would be good (or even better) with chocolate or cream cheese frosting.
Sorry there was no decorating this time. Martha suggests gingerbread cookie cutouts, but I just didn't have the time or energy to make them. Sarah made them at school -- perhaps we should have joined forces.