Recipe: Gingerbread Kisses with Cream Cheese Frosting & Salted Caramel

These little individual cakes are very, VERY good. You can keep a stash of unfilled cakes in the freezer for emergencies.

Walk Japan

Words and Recipe: Ruth Pretty Photos: Murray Lloyd

280g plain flour
200g brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons powdered ginger
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
360g golden syrup
225g butter, roughly diced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250ml milk

Preheat oven to 150°C. Lightly grease bases and sides of 12 cheesecake mould trays (or large muffin trays) with baking spray. Line the bases with baking paper and grease again with baking spray. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside.

Melt golden syrup and butter together in a small saucepan over a low heat (don’t allow it to boil) and stir to emulsify. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients, followed by the eggs and milk. Quickly whisk together by hand until just combined. The batter will be very wet. Pour into prepared tins to half full. Bake for 25 minutes or until a metal skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and leave in tins for at least 15 minutes before turning out. Remove baking paper and leave to cool completely.

To assemble the cakes, start by cutting them in half horizontally. Pipe or spread a generous amount of cream cheese frosting onto the cut side of the bottom halves (it should be a similar depth to the cake layers). Set the second halves on top, then pipe or spread with salted caramel. Sprinkle generously with ginger crumble and serve immediately or refrigerate in a tightly lidded container for up to three days. Makes 12 x 7.5cm cakes.

Put 75g caster sugar into a small heavy-based saucepan set over a low heat. As it cooks, brush down sides of saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Do not stir! Cook for 3-4 minutes or until sugar dissolves, then raise the heat and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, until syrup begins to brown. Shake the saucepan from side to side so the caramel colours evenly.

Reduce heat to medium, carefully add 35g diced unsalted butter and 75ml cream (it will bubble and spit). Stir continuously to encourage any caramel lumps to dissolve and prevent burning. Add another 75ml cream when the mixture is smooth and stir well. Lower the heat and simmer the caramel until thick and reduced by
25 per cent.

Remove from the heat, then stir in ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract and ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt. Set aside and cool to lukewarm before piping onto cakes, or refrigerate until required. Bring back to room temperature before using.

Beat 375g cream cheese until smooth. Add 1 heaped tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon and 150g sifted icing sugar. Beat again until smooth.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a frying pan set over medium heat. Add 1 packet gingernut biscuits, coarsely crumbled in a food processor, 2 tablespoons demerara sugar, ½ teaspoon five-spice powder. Toss together until the crumbs are crispy. Cool before use. You will not need all of this crumble for the cakes – store it in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to six months. Also makes a great garnish for poached fruit with whipped cream.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.

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