Adapted from Joy of Baking. Makes 16.
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup boiling hot water
1-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, roughly chopped
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp water, or a few drops more, as needed
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl, stir the cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and powdered ginger.
Then in the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the crystallized ginger and the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
Fill each muffin cup two-thirds full with batter and bake for 16-20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. After 5 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the pan, and let them sit on the wire rack until completely cool.
When the cupcakes are cool, combine confectioners sugar and water in a small glass measuring cup, and whisk together until it forms an icing. If the icing is not a pourable consistency, add water, a drop at a time, and continue to whisk until you can pour the icing. Drizzle over each cupcake.