I’m a forward planner. I like to know what I’m doing and where I’m going at all times. And I love Christmas more than anything, so I generally start planning for it in the early summer, picking up little stocking fillers, eyeing up festive baked goods to try, planning my celebrations. Christmas and gingerbread go hand in hand, so I started experimenting with these gingerbread muffins back in August and am glad I was such an early bird. It took three attempts to get the desired stickiness, so it’s just as well I had enough time to get them perfected before the festivities rolled around.
The recipe may seem rather heavy on the syrup, but my first batch was so dry I have increased the amount every time on subsequent bakings, with very pleasing results. The cakes are so nicely spiced, it was a shame to miss out on that lovely sticky moistness that you expect of a ginger cake – I think I’ve managed to get it back with all this syrup!
Makes 12, from Feast by Nigella Lawson
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
50g dark muscovado sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp corn oil
6 tbsp golden syrup
6 tbsp black treacle
1. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a muffin tray with paper cases.
2. Combine the flour, bicarb, baking powder and spices in a large bowl.
3. Whisk the egg in a large jug, and add the sugars. Mix together.
4. Add the milk, vinegar and oil to the jug, then the syrup and treacle. Whisk until well combined.
5. Add the liquid mixture to the flour and spices, stir until mixed but still a bit lumpy.
6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases and bakes for about 20 minutes until the tops are dry but the muffins still feel a bit squidgy.
7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly (and sprinkle with some festive glitter, if you like), though they are best eaten warm. They keep well for about 2 days, but why wait?