Gingerbread Cupcakes with Egg Nog Frosting

Mom never let us drink straight egg nog.

She would only buy it a quart at a time, and just between you and me, a single quart of egg nog doesn’t go very far when you’ve got four eager children vying for the stuff. So Mom diluted it down with milk to make it last longer. And that’s what I grew accustomed to.

To this day, I think my egg nog flavor perception is a little off. This frosting was a beast to get right. But I think I won.

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Egg nog is tricky stuff because people generally either love it or hate it. If you’re a hater, don’t give up on me yet. You can turn this into non-egg-nog frosting if you substitute milk for the egg nog, and omit the rum extract and nutmeg. No sweat.

I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone who didn’t like gingerbread. I think it’s a crime this time of year, actually. And I rarely talk with convicts, so that probably explains it.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes

adapted from Lion House Bakery

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1 egg

1 cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

2-1/2 cups flour

1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup very hot water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and molasses and beat well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Add hot water and beat on low until smooth, about 30 seconds. Batter will be very thin.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake tin, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan to cool completely. Decorate with frosting and garnish with a pinch of ground nutmeg.

Egg Nog Frosting

adapted from Wilton.com

Ingredients:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons rum extract

4 cups (approx. 1 lb) powdered sugar

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

dash of salt

3 tablespoons egg nog

Directions:

Cream butter and shortening together until smooth. Add vanilla and rum extracts. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Add nutmeg and salt. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add egg nog and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. Refrigerate leftover icing in an airtight container, up to 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.