Gingerbread muffins with tart lemon glaze.



Like countless other people, my first experiences in the kitchen were as a small child, and took place standing on a dining table chair pulled up to the kitchen worktop. I remember rubbing butter into flour for crumble toppings, beating air into cake batters until my arms ached (the ache always began after all of about ten seconds), and stirring eggs and milk into scone dough. Performing those tasks now, in my own kitchen, still stirs up decade old memories of the cheese scones my Grandma used to make (so unsurpassably delicious I’m desperate to find the recipe she worked from in one of her old cookery books) and a blackberry and apple crumble we cooked together after a day’s blackberry picking on the heathland near where Jason and I now live.

And there are certain ingredients, too, whose fragrance is as comforting and nostalgia-inducing to me as the perfume my Mum wore when I was a tot**. I’m sure I’ve written here before about how the scent of dried ginger brings back memories of baking ginger biscuits with my Grandma- wafer thin and packed with golden syrup (I’d always, always beg for a spoonful of syrup to enjoy whilst we baked, and she’d always, always say yes), that were at their best when slightly underdone and gloiriously chewy. I’ve since had a go at making them, working from dog-eared page of the recipe book I inherited from my Grandma (she’d written an index of her favourite recipes inside the back cover, which was a gift in and of itself), and the effects weren’t the same at all. I’ll have to keep trying…



I forget quite how intrinsically linked my memories of food and cooking are to family, until I stop to taste test a batch of lemon glaze and am transported back to baking endless rounds of fairy cakes with my Mum (remember when we called them fairy cakes, and not cupcakes?), and can hear her voice in my ear saying ‘just a bit more lemon juice…maybe a bit more..and a tad more?’. Or how, each winter whilst making compote, the smell of the chunks of cooking apple softening in a pan with a tiny knob of butter and a pinch of cinnamon is so evocative I always stop and close my eyes for a moment to breathe it in. These culinary experiences- tasks, rituals, scents- traverse the years and the homes left behind and the loved ones who are now confined to memories instead of the present, and bring me right back home.

Recently, I was invited to share in Hive’s beautiful #ComingHome’ campaign. The campaign celebrates the sweet joy of returning home after a period of separation- whether that separation has been a mere week long (who doesn’t love walking through the front door after a week basking in the sunshine on some European island?), after the first long, tiresome term of university, or a gap that can only be bridged by the jogging of memories.

It was the beauty of the video I’ve included below that captured my heart. I’d encourage you to watch it- it’s so artfully put together, and I find the twists at the end of both this video and the other in the campaign, unexpectedly and wonderfully empowering.

For me this recipe, for dark and sticky ginger muffins with a tangy lemon glaze, is a ‘coming home’ experience in itself. The muffins’ key ingredients- warming ground ginger, sweet golden syrup, treacly stout, and a tart lemon glaze- are so prone to drawing out my nostalgic-side (which, let’s face it, doesn’t take much), they should perhaps come with a warning. They’re grown-up and spicy, sweet and rich- and both the act of cooking and eating them is an evocative enough experience that it requires a moment’s pause.

They are, for me, the very embodiment of ‘home’.

Golden-syrup-CiderwithRosie   Guinness-ciderwithrosie-food-photography Nigella-gingerbread-Cider-with-Rosie Ginger-muffin-batter-Cider-with-Rosie-food-photography Lemon-glaze-recipe Lemon-glaze-ginger-muffins

The recipe for these muffins belongs to Nigella. Repackaged (from sheet cake to mini-portions), tweaked (goodbye to ground cloves), and tinkered with (hello to that wonderful lemon topping) by me, but its roots are in Nigella’s Kitchen recipe book.

{Makes approx.16 muffins}
Ingredients ::
150g unsalted butter
300g golden syrup
200g dark muscovado sugar
250ml Guinness
2 1/2tsp ground ginger
2tsp ground cinnamon
300g plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml sour cream
2 eggs

1 lemon
Icing sugar

- Preheat an oven to 170 degrees celsius, and line two muffin trays with liners.

- Melt the butter, golden syrup, sugar, and spices together in a large saucepan, then stir in the Guinness.

- Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, making sure there are no lumps. Mix together the eggs and sour cream in a separate jug, and slowly pour into the rest of the mixture, whisking as you go.

- Divide the mixture between the muffin cases (filling each about two thirds full), and place in to the preheated oven to cook. I found the muffins in tulip cases took 18mins, and the muffins in regular cases 15 minutes to cook.

- When cool, top with a glaze made from icing sugar stirred together with lemon juice until it reaches a smooth dropping consistancy. I drizzled the glaze over from a height, but feel free to coat the tops completely in glaze if you like things super sweet.


Hive are running the loveliest competition right now, in which you can nominate a loved one to win a special and unique ‘coming home’ experience valued at £1500. To enter, visit Hive’s Facebook page and comment on the competition post they’ve shared, letting them know why the person you’re nominating has spent time away from their home (in any way, shape, or form), and why they deserve an unforgettable ‘coming home’ experience. I think it’s such a lovely idea! (Full T&Cs for the competition can be found here)


* The post was sponsored by Hive, as part of their ‘#ComingHome’ campaign.

** It was YSL’s Rive Gauche, in case you wondered.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Laura

    The photos and gif in this post are just gorgeous Rosie – and the recipe sounds delicious – one I shall have to add to my baking list! x

  • Lauren S

    These photos are incredible! Wow I wish I had a muffin right now, and they look so rich and warming – I love the ginger spice

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty –

  • Giada

    I’ve loved this post Rosie! At some points I was even able to see my child self stirring the wet ingredients of a cake at my mum’s command (because she only let me stir!) or observing her kneading shortbread for her glorious nutella tarts!

    These pictures are stunning too and as much as I’m not the biggest fan of ginger, I’d actually gladly give this recipe a try! Thanks for sharing!

    x Giada | Miel Café

  • Mimmi

    This is such a lovely post! It’s true, some baked goods and their scent and taste just evoke so many memories.
    These muffins sound so good! I love anything with spices, and a lemon glaze on top sounds like the perfect finish.

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

  • Miranda | Miranda’s Notebook

    What a lovely looking recipe! These muffins look delicious, and what a sweet message on the pleasures of returning home. xxx

  • Rosie McKay

    These look dreamy Rosie!
    I remember the smell of baking in my Great Grandma Kittys house in Devon. Even now the smell of scones takes me straight back to her kitchen.

  • Amanda @ Rhyme & Ribbons

    Looks lovely! I always think a good spicy cake is divine! x

  • Ala

    Fabulous photos Rosie! They sound divine too x

  • Emily

    Lovely post, I remember standing on a chair attempting to help my mum with baking as well haha
    They look so yummy!

  • Anna

    love your pictures Rosie!!

  • Izzy

    I love anything gingerbread flavoured, even shower gel haha. These sound delicious and gorgeous photos as ever x

  • Sarah & Mel

    Love your photos, and those paper cases make the muffins look so good, do you make or buy the cases? S

  • Terri @ Little Wanderings

    Ginger is a big memory thing for me too! My nana brought me up on ginger fluff sponge cake and ginger nut biscuits. Now that I think about it I think she must have played a big part in my insatiable sweet tooth, haha.

  • Caroline L.

    Yes – food is so, so intrinsically tied with memories of family and childhood and all things lovely! Although I can’t say ginger brings the same kind of warm memories to my mind… ginger makes me think of scrunched-up noses after accidentally biting into a sharp bit in dumplings or a stir fry or whatnot ;)

  • Elizabeth Rebecca

    Those look so incredible.

    Lizzie Dripping


    Your writing is so touching. It reminds me of the first days I started to cook with my family. The ginger bread muffins seem to bring a lot of memories. I like it when you add the tart lemon glaze to the muffins.

  • Kezia @ Super Naturally Health

    Love the photo graphs and love putting business in cake – so good and adds a good amount of minerals to it too – always a winner in my books:)

  • Sally Crangle

    Rosie i just love your food photography – its the dreamiest. I swear to god i’d eat anything you shot. And i’m one fussy little madam! Plus the idea of lemon glaze with a ginger muffin just sounds like the bees knees and elbows!!!!

  • Pingback: Read, Eat, Do | Creative Countryside()

  • Pingback: Nuffnang UK | The World’s Leading Blog Advertising Community » Some Hive Favourites: #ComingHome()

  • kathrynsharman

    I used to make ginger biscuits with my granny too and they were the best I ever tasted (and no I can’t find a recipe to replicate them since).

Read from the beginning >