Gingerbread cupcakes with clementine buttercream

I hate blogging things out of order, but as Christmas is becoming more and more of a distant memory I had better bosh out my Christmas bakes first.

I started a new job just before Christmas, and as is tradition with my old colleagues, had to endure a leaving buffet in the meeting room! I'm really not ungrateful, but these kinds of things are up there on the anxiety-o-meter at the best of times, and so when they're for ME it tips me off the scale! Anyway, as is also tradition I had to bring some cakes along and I wanted to make something festive, but that was relatively quick and un-complicated because I had an absolutely horrendous last week trying to finish everything off.

I looked back through some past recipes and decided to re-visit these Gingerbread cupcakes with clementine buttercream. I was a bit hesitant as I didn't remember raving about them particularly at the time, but they were made during the whirlwind of baking that was Christmas 2010 and so I'm not surprised really that some things I made then might be a bit hazy in the old memory bank.

It was a good choice. They were dead simple to make - just a standard cupcake with the addition of clementine zest and spices, and a standard buttercream plus clementine zest and juice. But the effect was really striking - tastes of Christmas without being overpowering or too rich. I could probably have done with a bit more clementine juice for the buttercream as it was pretty stiff to pipe but other than a bit of mild hand cramping, no complaints.

Here's the recipe, seen online here:

150g butter (I used Stork)
150g caster sugar
150g self raising flour
3 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
zest of two clementines

To decorate
160g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
zest of one clementine
juice of 4 clementines

1. Beat all the ingredients together in a bowl and divide between 12 cupcake cases.
2. Bake on 190c for 20 minutes until risen, firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.
3. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
4. To make the buttercream, beat together the butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract, clementine zest and a small amount of the clementine juice until all combined.
5. Add the rest of the clementine juice a little at a time until the pipeable (I used all the juice and could have done with a bit more, but I could have just been stingy with my juicing!). Note this makes A LOT of buttercream so you can be very generous with your piping!

I will definitely be busting these out again next Christmas as a nice lighter alternative to all the Christmas stodge! Plus, I hate most things Christmassy such as mince pies, Christmas pudding etc so it's nice to have something festive that I can actually stomach!


  1. I know I should be focusing on the cupcakes but AWWWW the robin is so cute! I like the sounds of these cupcakes, Christmassy but not overly rich or heavy. Congratulations on the new job too!

  2. Seasonal and Christmassy but no sign of the over the top heaviness that comes out at that time of year. These sound like my sort of winter cake. I refused to do the leaving buffet when I left my last job and went to a noodle restaurant instead.


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