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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ginger Rogers Cupcakes

Today is Ginger Rogers' birthday and she would have been 101 years old today.  This cupcake honors her and her amazing talents.  The ingredients and inspiration come from the cocktail named after her.  The Ginger Rogers Cocktail is the most popular cocktail at the super trendy and super retro bar, The Absinthe Brasserie and Bar in San Francisco.  These guys really celebrate the era of great and creative cocktail culture and have a very cool bar companion book (that I MUST have), The Art of the Bar

I grew up watching Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire movies...Who in my generation didn't?  My sister and I watched them whenever they came on the T.V.  No DVR in those days, so watching a movie lots and lots of times kinda took the place of re-wind today.  Here is a clip from one of those movies, Swing Time.  They say this is the best dance scene these two great dancers ever filmed...You're about to see why.
Isn't that amazing.  I so dreamed as a little girl that I would dance like this one day.  Alas, no couples dancing ever came for me, but that doesn't mean I don't chair dance when I can.  Ya know, the kind you do in the car?  And, let's not forget dancing while your baking!  ;-D  Or, even while cleaning house. 

And, don't get me wrong: I am not adverse to learning swing dancing and the Texas two-step some day!

I know that you'll enjoy this cupcake...It's super moist with a great texture and full of exotic flavors: ginger, mint, lime and gin!  Kinda like being in Rio, huh, with Ginger and Fred. 
And, lest we not forget...there is a famous quote about Ginger: "Sure he [Fred Astaire] was great, but don't forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards...and in high heels!" -- Bob Thaves 1982 © NEA Inc.

I'm sharing this over at Cake of the Week's Baking with Spirit Challenge: Cocktail!  

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Combine the dry ingredients.  In a measuring cup, combine and mix the milk, ginger syrup, gin, ginger ale, and lime zest.  Set each aside until you are ready.  Oh, and I use half and half.  Always...
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy and add the eggs.  Add the extract.  On low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture alternating with the milk mixture.  Add the last portion of flour and mint leaves.  Mix until just combined....I always finish the last mixing by hand.  It's this last bit of gentle mixing that keeps these cupcakes light and fluffy.
I use a #12 scope (that's 3 oz.) to divide the batter evenly into the liners.  Then, with this batter, I add about 1/2 tablespoon more batter.  I'm always worried that I'll get too much overflow, but look...Beautiful domes of ginger, lime and mint cupcake goodness...
Let these golden beauties cool for 5 minutes in the pan then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.  Make the Ginger Lime Buttercream as directed...This frosting is so creamy and light.  Just lovely in texture and with just a little kick of ginger. 

I think you'll love these...

Ginger Rogers Cupcakes
Based on the cocktail from The Art of the Bar by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz
Makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1/4 cup Ginger Syrup
1/4 cup Ginger Ale
1/4 cup Gin
8-10 mint leaves, minced
Zest of one lime

Ginger Lime Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), softened but still cool (68 degrees)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp Ginger Syrup
1 Tbsp cream (or milk)
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Corn syrup
Mint leave and candied ginger for decoration

To Make the Cupcakes

Preheat the oven to 350º F, and grease or line 12 cupcake cups.
Combine baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and 1 1/2 cups of the flour in a bowl and set aside.  In a measuring cup, combine and mix the milk, ginger syrup, gin, ginger ale, and lime zest, set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well.  Add the extract and beat until creamy. On low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture alternating with the milk mixture. Add the last 1/2 cup of flour and mint leaves at the end. Mix as little as possible and just until the batter comes together.  

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups.  I used a #12 scope, plus about 1/2 tablespoons more batter.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make the Ginger Lime Buttercream
With a paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium until broken up, but not smooth about 1 minute (you don't want you butter to get too hot=runny).  Add the extract, ginger syrup, milk and lime juice.  Beat on medium for one minute, scrape bowl until just emulsified.  Beat for another minute, scrape bowl. 

Slowly add in all the confectioners’ sugar.  Beat on medium for 1 minute, scrape bowl.  Beat on medium for 1 minute, scrape bowl. To achieve desired spreading/piping consistency:  Add 1 tbsp corn syrup and beat for 30 seconds, repeat as necessary until desired consistency.   Beat for 1 minute on medium high.  Decorate!
So, this is my favorite dancing scene of Ginger (with Fred).  I left this one for the end because it's long and we have to suffer through Fred singing.  Not to mention the Spanish subtitles.  Sorry...I absolutely LOVE this dress...So very glamorous and so very chic.  Just like Ginger.


Ginger Rogers Cocktail from Absinthe Brasserie and Bar
8-12 mint leaves
½ oz. ginger syrup (Ginger Syrup by The Ginger People)
1 ½ oz. gin
½ oz. fresh lime juice
Ginger ale
Lime wedge for garnish

1. Put mint leaves in a glass, cover with syrup, and muddle lightly until the mint begins to release its aroma.
2. Fill a glass with ice; add gin and lime juice and top with ginger ale.
3. Using a bar spoon, stir the drink from the bottom up to mix. Garnish with lime wedge.
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  1. That's a great photo! :) They look SO FREAKIN' GOOD too.

    1. Thanks, Dorothy, I've been really trying to get a good picture. And, thanks to you (and Ashton) my PicMonkey skills are improving. :) There are lots of cupcakes here today so swing on by!

  2. Ellen, I think this is the best post, yet! What gorgeous cupcakes - perfectly domed and what a delightful medley of flavors! I love the vintage videos, too. Takes me back to my swing dancing days. Happy Birthday, Ginger!

    1. Thanks, J! :) I envy your swing dancing skills...I always wanted to learn. I'm hoping to bring in come of these lovelies to work tomorrow. I'm also bringing in a strawberry rhubarb for Martha cuz she's so sweet! I'm already stressed about taking all this on the bus! ;)

    2. We can carpool in tomorrow if you wanna! I need to be at work by about 7:30. Call me if you want a ride!

  3. I'll raise my glass to one classy gal! Now, can I have a cupcake...pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!!

    1. You would be the first friend I'd call to come sample...You know that! :) And, in researching this particular cocktail, I learned about a new booze: Absinthe. Seems kinda like liqueur-moonshine of sorts. Pricey, though.

  4. Hi there....This looks so yummy. I found you through the Sacramento Bee. I am your newest follower and also a fellow neighbor. I live in Auburn. I hope you pop by my blog for a visit. A tip - turn off the word verification in settings under comments. Most people avoid leaving comments on blogs with word verification. Linda

  5. Thanks, Linda, for letting us know about the comment verification! Looks like blogger was at it again as we've had several mystery defaults of late. :) I visited your blog last week and you have great photos! Such a beautiful home!! :) Glad you're our newest follower and thanks for stopping by today!

  6. How cute! Raising my glass to a beautiful actress and an even more beautiful cupcake!
    PS absinthe cocktail?! Yiiiiiikesssss.

    1. Thanks, Hayley!! Yes, I've even contacted the Absinthe bar in SF to see if they can suggest one of their cocktail creations as a source for my absinthe baked "this or that." I would imagine at 138 proof one doesn't ever need to make a double absinthe cocktail. One shot, I'm positive, is enough! ;0

  7. I love these and your post w/videos is wonderful! Thank you for sharing on Thursday's Treasures Week 39. Please join again next week. <3 and hugs!

  8. These look so good. I love the candied ginger on top! I wanted to let you know that I'm passing along the Versatile Blogger Award on to you. You can get more info here Versatile Blogger Award

  9. I love this idea for a cupcake! They look amazing. :)


  10. The cupcakes look gorgeous, Ellen! The flavours in the cocktail sound like they lend themselves well to cupcake form, so I bet they went down well when you served them. Thanks for entering Baking With Spirit!

  11. This was an outstanding blog post. I loved it. I’ll be back to read more. Thanks !

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