This time of year there is so much sugar- Christmas cookies, candies, cocktails…that these cupcakes are a refreshing break from all things sweet. They don’t rise too much and are more of a ‘flat topped cupcake’, but their damp, almost black interiors are richly spiced and festive. 

Smeared with a ginger-coffee icing, these cupcakes are great for short-notice, informal holiday get-togethers. We like them plain, for breakfast- big surprise there!

As the temperatures are finally warming up here from those single digit days we had last week, it’s been nice to actually venture outside. Warm Colorado sunshine streaming in through the windows highlights all the snow laying on the ground outside. It’s been a beautiful time of year. 

I just finished a cake this week and enjoyed photographing it with some natural light. 



What types of goodies have you all been baking? I know I promised some kind of candy(ies) and I’m hoping to get to a few next week. I can’t believe Christmas is so near!

Hope everyone is enjoying this sunshine. Happy baking!






How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Adapted from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Recipe type: High Altitude Baking
  • ¾ cup stout beer
  • ½ cup brewed coffee
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • scant ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2¼ teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners, and line 6 more cups in a second muffin tin.
  3. In a large saucepan, bring the beer, coffee, and molasses to a boil; whisk together to combine.
  4. Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda. It may bubble up quite a bit. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to cool.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, raw sugar, and grated fresh ginger.
  6. Whisk in the egg.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt.
  8. In three additions of each, whisk the flour mixture and beer mixture into the brown sugar mixture to combine.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling them ¾ full.
  10. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched.
  11. Invert them onto a rack, turn them top side up, and let them cool completely.
  12. TO MAKE THE ICING: put the powdered sugar in a bowl and whisk in the coffee, molasses, and vanilla. Adjust the consistency to your liking by adding more powdered sugar for thicker icing, or more coffee for thinner icing.
  13. Dip the top of each cupcake into the icing and return to the wire rack to let the icing set, at least 30 minutes.
  14. Makes 18 cupcakes.

Note: This recipe was adapted for high altitude baking. To make at sea level, increase the baking soda to 3/4 teaspoon and the baking powder to 2 1/4 teaspoons. The baking time may vary slightly. 

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