Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

Matt and I stopped by Susie Cakes on our way home from Napa last weekend and I decided to pick up a few things for “research”.  We bought a slice of Celebration Cake (inspiration for the last post), a Gingerbread Latte Cupcake (inspiration for this post) and a slice of the Peppermint-Chocolate Cake (maybe next post?).  All were amazing but I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the Gingerbread Latte Cupcake.  It sounded a little gimmicky or maybe cliche to re-interpret a Starbucks holiday coffee as a cupcake but trust me, the coffee and gingerbread flavors are perfect complements to each other.
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Makes 18 cupcakes
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup boiling water
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup molasses
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 pound (1 box or 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F.  Line two cupcake pans with 18 cupcake liners.
In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda and boiling water; set aside.  In another medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer or large bowl and hand mixer beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg, and beat until well combined. Add molasses and the baking soda mixture; mix on low until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium-high for 1 minute.
Divide batter among 18 cupcake liners, filling approximately half way.  Bake for about 20 minutes, very gently rotating pans after 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack and set aside until cool.
For the frosting:
In a small bowl, dissolve espresso powder in warm water.  Set aside until completely cool (or you can place ice cubes and cold water in a larger bowl and place the smaller bowl inside to cool the mixture more quickly).  
In a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter until creamed.  Add half of powder sugar and mix until well combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining powdered sugar, espresso and vanilla extract to the frosting; mix until combined and then beat on high for 1 minute until light and fluffy.  Use a large star tip to pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

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