Nothin’ like a lil’ Christmas Bunko Party to kick-start the holiday festivities! This morning my head is spinning, my cheeks are sore and my mouth is still watering from the new dessert I baked up for the festivities!
These Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting from @eighteen25girls were DELISH!!!! The cake was moist, the frosting fluffy and the candied toppings made the whole dessert a showstopper.
Just A Few Changes
After reading the comments on their blog post, I did change a few things from the recipe.
Cake: the recipe was ALMOST perfect! Ingredients were perfect. Cooking time was perfect! There is just one typo in the directions. It says to “add egg”. Make sure to add eggS (the recipe calls for 2 eggs).
Frosting: based on one reader’s comment that their experience with the recipe was that it was too runny, I went to my favorite cream cheese recipe by Mrs. Ina and adjusted this one just a tad to be similar. I added more butter to make the ratios a bit more balanced, reduced the lemon juice and omitted the milk all together. It was perfect.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8oz. cream cheese softened
- 1/3 c butter softened
- 1tsp. lemon juice
- 1tsp. cinnamon
- 1tsp. vanilla
- 4c powdered sugar, sifted
Mixed it all together, scooped it into a ziplock bag, snipped off 1/2″ from the corner of the bag and piped the frosting on.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel there is never enough frosting and way too much cake at the bottom of the cupcake. Are you with me?! 🙋🏽♀️. I have to have a little frosting in every bite (or…a LOT of frosting 😏). To solve this dilemma, I use his fabulous tool called a cupcake corer, given to me by my foodie, crafty, thoughtful & dear friend Julie Hays. It punches out the center of the cupcake, making a lil’ cavity where you can either put a filling (can you say custard? or raspberry mascarpone?) or like I did with this recipe, I added more cream cheese frosting in the cavity! It’s delightful! Pipe your frosting right over the secret lil’ compartment and voila! Frosting problem solved.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read (or at least be ready to bag it all)
In the comments on the Eighteen25 blog, someone had given a recipe to candy the rosemary and berries and so I tried it! Let’s just say it was an EPIC FAIL! 😑. As soon as I submerged the cranberries in the boiling water, they began to POP, loosing their firm outer layer. For the rosemary, when I boiled them, their coloring went from a beautiful bright green to a brown-green similar to the canned green beans moms of the 80’s tried to pass off as a nutritious side vegetable for dinner. 🙄. I must have done something wrong.
For the future, I would SKIP the “flash boil” and go straight to candying. Lesson learned.
Here is what I ended up doing:
Sugar Coated Garnishes
Basic Simple Syrup Recipe
Mix 1c sugar + 1c water
Bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer, stirring till the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
Wash cranberries and pat dry.
Wash and snip all your rosemary into little sprigs, and pat dry.
Soak Your Fruit/Herbs
Gather 2 shallow sauce pans, bowls or anything that has a flat bottom.
Place rosemary sprigs in one. Place cranberries in the other. (I had about 16 sprigs and a half a bag of cranberries: roughly 1c.)
Pour 1/2 the simple syrup over the rosemary and 1/2 over the cranberries. Let them sit for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge. Tilt the containers every once in a while to move the syrup around and coat the whole berry/sprigs.
In a shallow bowl, place about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.
Place 2 paper towels or a clean dish towel on your work surface. Cut a piece of parchment paper and place next to the paper towels.
In batches, take the rosemary sprigs out of the syrup and place on the paper towels. One by one, using tongs, place a sprig or two in the sugar. Sprinkle sugar over the sprigs (I used a small spoon), coating the entire sprig. Using the tongs, shake off excess sugar and place on the parchment to dry. Continue until all the sprigs are sugar coated.
Repeat process with the cranberries. You may have to replenish your paper towels as they begin to get saturated with sugar water.
In batches take out a bunch of berries (10 or so), place on paper towels, transfer to the bowl of sugar, sprinkle berries with sugar, then remove with tongs, shaking off excess sugar and placing them on to the parchment paper.
Are These Eatable?
I was afraid the cranberries would be more sour than the sourest sour patch kid! But my adventure-seeking son HAD TO TRY THEM and sure enough, he loved them! Why not give it a try? I ask. And so, I popped one in my mouth and sure enough, they were sweet, a lil’ crunch then down to the perfectly tart center. It was like eating cranberry juice. Really really tasty, y’all! I was pleasantly surprised!
As for the rosemary…🙄
Even though I flash boiled the rosemary, (and then color-dyed them back green!!! 😩), those lil’ twigs were still a bit too strong to eat for my tastebuds. BUT, I may suggest nibbling on one lil needle at the end of your meal. It’s kind of like a great mouth freshener before you kiss goodnight! 😉
I love these gals! We are still texting about the mysteries of the evening, like “Where is Cara’s parrot? It is missing!”. All Sheila has to say is, “Ohhh!” 😆
If you need a showstopper dessert to bring to your next holiday party–this is a winner! Or, a Manos/Monroe family favorite is the Peppermint Ice Cream Pie. Yummers!
Happy holidays, my friend!