Well, this winter I kind of took an extended break from baking, which I'm sure my wallet appreciated. But the start of a new year seems to have lit the baking flame within me again (?) -- I made two kinds of cupcakes within one week, mwahaha.
To be fair, the second batch of cupcakes was made in an easy, sort-of-cheating way. First I broke out the Trader Joe's Gingerbread Mix I'd been hiding since the holidays. Then, taking inspiration from 1) Dawn's Gingerbread Cupcakes and 2) Bake it in a Cake, I made these babies:
Yep. These are filled with white chocolate candy, making them my first This is Why You're Fat-type creation, and I'm pretty dang proud. The gingerbread cake was deliciously spiced and moist. The white chocolate filling remained melty and RICH....but thankfully the cream cheese frosting was extremely light, fluffy and delicate, with hints of sweet lemon and ginger. All the different flavors melded to make one awesome combination.
Gingerbread Cupcakes with White Chocolate Truffle Filling
and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
(Makes 12 cupcakes.)
For the cupcakes:
1 box Trader Joe's Deep, Dark Gingerbread Cake & Baking Mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
12 Lindt White Chocolate Truffles
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the mix, egg, oil and water according to the Trader Joe's package. Line 12 muffin tins, then fill each about 1/3 full with batter. Place one unwrapped truffle right in the center of each cup, then top off the tins until they're now 2/3 full of batter. Bake until a toothpick (not poked through the truffle!) comes out mostly clean (mine took about 20 minutes). Cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Dash of powdered ginger (optional)
With a mixer blend the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and lemon extract (I ended up using about 1/2 tsp of lemon extract, but you might want to use more or less according to taste). Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, and add more if needed until it reaches a fluffy consistency. If desired, add a few shakes of ginger while mixing to add depth to the flavor. (I also sprinkled just a tiny bit of ginger on my finished frosted cupcakes for a hint of color.)