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Rush Hour Cupcakes

This recipe for rush hour cupcakes is from The Butch Bakery Cookbook, by David Arrick.

Rush Hour cupcakes - Stout-Spiked Gingerbread Cupcake topped with Ginger Buttercream, from Butch Bakery Cookbook - www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com

“Rush Hour” Stout Spiked Gingerbread Cupcake – photo credit: Jason Wyche

Authors David Arrick and Janice Kollar note:

These cupcakes have zing! There’s a serious amount of ginger in these gingerbread cupcakes — enough to get your motor running. At first we thought, we’ve gone too far this time. There’s way too much in there. But everyone who tried them didn’t think so at all. As a matter of fact, they loved them! We’ve added some beer to smooth them out just a little, but not too much. And then, topping them with ginger buttercream seemed to be the best way to complete the picture. We’re sure you’ll agree.

Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Sheri:

As I prepared my ingredients for the cupcakes, I realized that every recipe is for jumbo-sized cupcakes (continuing with the manly theme!). I don’t own any jumbo cupcake pans, but a quick read through the introduction put me at ease: the authors explained how to adjust the recipes for standard-sized cupcake pans, so instead of a dozen gigantic cupcakes, I got 18 smaller cakes.

The gingerbread couldn’t be easier to make. Everything is whisked up in a single bowl (but the authors are very specific about needing to sift most flours and all powdered sugar). I used a #24 portion scoop so I’d have even-sized cupcakes (I’m obsessive that way). Even though the batter is thin, a portion scoop works well to get the batter evenly distributed in the pans.

About 18 minutes later, gorgeous, slightly domed, fragrant cupcakes came out of the oven. They really looked perfect. While they cooled, I set out to make the buttercream — emphasis on “butter.” There’s also a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar in the buttercream, and other than a bit of ginger, cream, vanilla, and salt, it’s a pretty straightforward recipe. The buttercream whipped up beautifully and tasted terrific — not too much ginger.

The cupcakes in this cookbook aren’t just frosted — they’re constructed (the author’s terminology). My normal manner of frosting cupcakes is to use a Wilton M1 decorating tip and a pastry bag, but the instructions in The Butch Bakery Cookbook say to use a portion scoop and top each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting. No fancy swirls for these cupcakes: these are masculine hunks of sweet frosting, carved into a plateau on top of the cake, ready for additional adornments — chopped candies, salty snacks, or even decorative chocolate discs (there’s a section on making the discs included in the book).

The Rush Hour cupcakes are finished off either with chopped crystallized ginger or with what the authors call ginger sawdust (a mixture of sugar and ground ginger). I experimented with both and preferred the crystallized ginger, but the sawdust added a nice touch. I also experimented with the frosting, using a pastry tip to create fancy swirls of frosting. But the ginger doesn’t stick nicely on top of fancy swirls, and I liked the look of the Butch frosting “construction” much better. One thing to note: if you are making smaller cupcakes, I suggest making a batch and a half of frosting, since there are more cakes to frost. And there’s nothing wrong with extra buttercream.

These cupcakes are absolutely delicious. The cake is moist, not too sweet, perfectly smoothed out with the addition of stout. (The instructions also give an option for a virgin cupcake, using ginger ale instead of stout, plus ideas for mixing and matching with other cakes or buttercreams.) The buttercream is on the heavy side, but that’s not a bad thing, in my opinion. It stands up well to the bold flavor of the cake.

My willing taste-testers were a group of engineers who work at a small start-up, and they too loved the “Rush Hour” cupcakes.

Rush Hour Cupcakes - Stout-Spiked Gingerbread Cupcakes topped with Ginger Buttercream, Butch Bakery Cookbook

Rush Hour Cupcakes – Photo credit: Larry Klein, Pork Cracklins

We hope you enjoy this rush hour cupcakes recipe!

Butch Bakery Cookbook - www.cooksandbooksandrecipes.com

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Rush Hour

Featured Recipe From: The Butch Bakery Cookbook

Yield: 12 Cupcakes


For the Stout-Spiked Gingerbread Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 large eggs, broken into a small bowl
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup stout beer, such as Guinness, poured and settled before you measure

For the Ginger Butter Cream:

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted through a strainer
  • 11/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

For Toppings:(optional)

  • Ginger Sawdust (recipe follows)
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger


For the Cupcakes:

  1. Place a baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 6-cup jumbo-size muffin pans with liners and set aside.
  2. Place a strainer over a medium-size mixing bowl and sift together the cake flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, oil, molasses, eggs, and vanilla until creamy. Whisk in the flour mixture, combining well. In a small saucepan, heat the beer almost to boiling, and slowly add to the batter, stirring well to incorporate. The batter will be thin.
  4. Fill each prepared muffin cup with 1/3 cup batter, about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the tops are just firm to the touch and a tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 23 minutes. Leave the cupcakes in the pan on a rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to the wire rack to cool completely before frosting, about 1 hour.

For the Butter Cream:

  1. In a large-size mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, reduce the speed to medium, and add half of the confectioners' sugar, the heavy cream, ginger, vanilla, and salt, beating to incorporate.
  2. Add the rest of the confectioners' sugar, beating on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes until very smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Cupcake Construction:

  1. Get out that ice cream scoop (2 to 21/4 inches in diameter) and top each cupcake with frosting.
  2. Sprinkle the tops with 1/4 teaspoon Ginger Sawdust or 1 teaspoon chopped crystallized ginger, if desired.

Notes and variations;

Before sprinkling the tops, you can shine them up a bit by taking a butter knife (no serrated edges, please) and pushing the frosting down to about an inch high, flattening the top, and then taking the knife and making a flat 45-degree angled edge all the way around the side of the scoop of frosting.

Virgin Rush Hour:
In the gingerbread, substitute ginger ale for the stout.

Ginger Sawdust:
In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons sugar with 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

Mix and Match:
Rush Hour's Cake with Beer Run's Vanilla Stout Buttercream (page 81)
Rush Hour's Buttercream with Big Papi's Spiced-Up Cake (page 127)
Butch's Baking Lesson:

Here's a trick to get all of the molasses out of the measuring cup. Spray the cup with cooking spray first, and it will slide right out!

Cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container, or frozen for 1 month.

© 2011 David Arrick

Reprinted with permission from The Butch Bakery Cookbook, by David Arrick, with Janice Kollar (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

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