Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes 18-20 cupcakes
This cupcake, adapted by The Bee's Kathy Morrison from several sources, can be as rustic or as dressy as you like. Without topping or frosting, and a little less sugar, it could even be a muffin.
Morrison says: My favorite peach cobbler recipe uses cornmeal and minced candied ginger. I wanted to turn those flavors into a dessert that could travel to work. We have several Features birthdays in July, so I aimed for cupcakes. But instead of frosting them, I brought whipped cream and let the celebrants top their own cupcakes to taste.
Note: Bob's Red Mill makes corn flour, but a fine corn meal will also work here. I found candied, uncrystallized ginger at Trader Joe's. (An easy, subtle substitute would be 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and an additional 1 teaspoon of brown sugar.)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup candied, uncrystallized ginger, minced
3 ripe peaches (I prefer yellow)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/3 cups unbleached all- purpose flour
2/3 cup corn flour or fine corn meal (or more white flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 tablespoons), room temperature (not melted)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
11/2 teaspoons vanilla
Raw sugar or sanding sugar, optional
Whipped cream, for serving, or your favorite vanilla buttercream frosting, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners.
In a 4-cup measuring cup, combine the 2 tablespoons brown sugar and the minced ginger. Peel peaches and remove the pits. Slice fruit thin longways and then in thirds across. Add to measuring cup. Sprinkle on lemon juice and stir gently to combine. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Blend in buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, blending well after each addition.
From the cup with the macerating peaches, measure out a small amount of the accumulated juices no more than 1 tablespoon and add to the batter. Mix batter for about 2 more minutes until it is light and fluffy.
Spoon batter into the cupcake liners, just enough to cover the bottom. Using a slotted spoon, cover the batter with gingered peach pieces (about 5 per cupcake). Getting a little of the liquid is OK, but don't let the batter get goopy. (Save remaining gingery syrup, if desired, to use on ice cream.)
Cover peach pieces with remaining batter. Don't fill cups more than three-fourths full the overflow will stick to the pan and make removal difficult.
Bake cupcakes for 10 minutes. Sprinkle raw sugar or sanding sugar, if using, over the tops. Turn pans to ensure even baking, and bake for 10 more minutes or until cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove pans to cooling racks. Cool cupcakes in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans and cool thoroughly before topping or frosting.