filling the empty nest with food

Ginger Cake Morning

IMG_1125When the weather turns chilly and gloomy, the time seems right to bake a cake. Well, OK, the time is always right around here for baking cakes. Last time it was empty houses and bad days at the office. Today it’s fall rain and clouds. There’s something in the wind calling for a cake with spices and nuts and perhaps a splash of Madeira.

If I were to imagine an audience for my cake, it would be a young girl preparing an afternoon tea with her dolls. The setting is ideal for a ginger and walnut cupcake with cream cheese icing as she sets their table with old-fashioned-looking china. A ginger cake because it sounds slightly British and perfect then for tea-time; a cupcake so that each guest, human or human-like, can have her own; tall twirling icing because girls like twirly things (when they can’t be twirling themselves); and walnuts so she can teach her dolls to like nuts, which is a grown-up thing to like.

Where does your imagination take you on an overcast October morning?


Ginger and Walnut Cupcakes  with Cream Cheese Icing (adapted from Craig Claiborne’s 1982 Walnut and Ginger Cake recipe)

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup candied ginger, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt to taste if desired
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Madeira wine or sweet Sherry wine



Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Lightly grease and flour 24 cupcake cups, or line with paper liners. (This makes a lot of cupcakes. If you want to halve the recipe, I suggest using 3 eggs or 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk.) In mixing bowl combine the ginger, raisins and walnuts.
Sift together 3 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Sift this mixture over ginger and nut mixture.
Put butter into bowl of electric mixer. Start beating while gradually adding sugar. Cream mixture well and gradually beat in eggs. Beat in Madeira.
Pour and scrape this mixture over flour/nuts mixture and blend the ingredients thoroughly. This is best done by hand.
Divide batter among 24 cupcakes. Bake 20-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.


1/2 cup butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbls milk or cream, if needed

Put all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer and beat until smooth and creamy.


2 comments on “Ginger Cake Morning

  1. Caroline
    October 6, 2013

    Those look delicious! Really nice job on the frosting styles!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Join 95 other followers

Follow thebutterchronicles on


%d bloggers like this: