A student's guide to baking

Posts tagged ‘Ginger’

Ginger Cupcakes with Buttercream and Lemon Syrup

Ginger and lemon cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 12):

The cake:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 120g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 85 honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g sour cream

Lemon syrup:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • 60g butter
  • 115g caster sugar


  • 200g butter
  • 400g icing sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.
  • Beat together the butter and brown sugar in a bowl.
  • Add the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and continue to mix.
  • Pour in the honey and beat in the eggs.
  • Mix in the sour cream until smooth.
  • Split the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 30 minutes or until they pass the knife test.

With a thicker cupcake mixture, it tends to end up like this rather than flat when adding the mixture to the cases.


If you stir the mix gently with a teaspoon, you get a swirled effect that will make for a flatter, more even cupcake when baked.











While the cakes are in the oven, you can start making the syrup and buttercream.

  • Beat one egg in a small pan.
  • Add in the lemon juice, butter and sugar and stir whilst heating until the mixture thickens.
  • For the buttercream, beat butter until it softens.
  • Sieve in the icing sugar and beat gently until the mixture becomes pale and forms stiff peaks.
  • Once the cakes are cool to the touch, use a knife to apply the buttercream and finish by pouring the lemon syrup over the top.

(Recipe adapted from http://mingmakescupcakes.yolasite.com)


This was the last of my baking for the Lichfield Festival. Just over a week after the Festival itself had ended, there were debrief meetings to review how the Festival had gone and what we could improve on in future. So, seeing as we were having a meeting (or in the case of the ladies in the office, 4 meetings), we agreed that we ought to have cake as well. Now that I wasn’t working at the Cathedral for the Festival for most of my waking hours, I had time enough to bake again and spend a little longer on presentation.

With the other cakes I’d baked for the Festival, I went with my standard trio of flavours: vanilla, chocolate and lemon. Of course, I added the gin cake after I came across the recipe and saw it as a way of maintaining that holiest of traditions at the Festival. So when it came to the last round of baking, I did ask in the least macabre way possible, whether any of the staff had any last requests.

Jen, our wonderful Festival Manager, said she had a particular liking for ginger cake, so thankfully I had a good starting point with that. My only worry was that I tend to associate ginger and other spices like nutmeg and cinnamon with winter and Christmas, and given that this was the middle of July, I was wary of trying to make it still a more summery cake.

Normally with flavourings in cake, I’ll tend to verge on the generous side when it comes to helpings of the main ingredient, just to avoid creating a rather bland and nondescript cake. However, with this one, I decided instead to err on the side of caution and didn’t go overboard on the ginger. I decided to use the usual pairing of ginger and honey in the cake, and adding that helped to keep the taste as well as the texture lighter. The addition of the lemon helped too, and the syrup seeped into the cake and the buttercream to give the whole thing a consistent flavour. The only downside was that it did leave many people with sticky fingers at the end, so be prepared!