Like everyone else, we've missed being able to gather with friends during the pandemic -- not just to socialize and see people we miss, but also to celebrate important life milestones. So I was particularly delighted to attend and bake for a baby shower (outdoors and masked, of course) for friends expecting their first baby. I asked the mother-to-be for her cake flavor preference, and she asked if I could make a cupcake that tasted like a gingersnap, with cream cheese frosting. Even though I didn't have any recipes in mind, I promised it wouldn't be a problem.
After some Googling, I decided to use Sally McKenney's recipe for "Gingerbread Cupcakes." With molasses, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, I figured they would taste like a gingersnap in cake form. And they're easy to make. You just beat softened butter with brown sugar until creamy; add an egg; incorporate milk, molasses, and vanilla; and mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the spices. I poured the batter into lined cupcake tins to bake.
pumpkin raisin bars, and it's simply a mixture of softened cream cheese, softened butter, and powdered sugar (and I usually add a pinch of salt too). I love the frosting because it's not too sweet, has a luxurious mouth feel, and retains the distinct tang of the cream cheese. I made a double batch of the gingerbread cupcakes and a double batch of the frosting as well.
I piped on the frosting could have left it at that, because I had some gold baby shower-themed cake toppers that I was going to add right before serving. But I wanted to add a little more color, so I searched through my bin of cake decorations and was happy to find a bottle of "little prince" Fancy Sprinkles (the baby is a boy, so the blue color theme seemed appropriate). These cupcakes were very moist and tender, with a distinct molasses flavor but none of the denseness or heaviness you typically find in traditional gingerbread. They were delicious, although I have to admit that the frosting was my favorite part.
I also made something for the father-to-be, who loves strawberry paired with chocolate. For him I made Alice Medrich's strawberry celebration cake, which is chocolate genoise sandwiched around a layer of mascarpone filling and fresh strawberries, covered in a chocolate band and topped with chocolate ruffles. I also used some BraveTart strawberry whipped cream to cover the sides and top of the cake before applying the band and ruffles.
a cake for this couple's wedding shower, and I can't wait to see all the wonderful things in store for their baby boy.