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Gingerbread Cupcakes

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These soft and spiced gingerbread cupcakes topped with creamy cinnamon cream cheese frosting are a perfect treat for the holidays. They’re easy homemade cupcakes with loads of festive flavor!

Looking for more gingerbread recipes this holiday season? Try my party-ready gingerbread snack cake or these mini gingerbread cheesecakes, too!

Soft and Spiced Gingerbread Cupcakes

If you love the flavor of gingerbread cookies, you’re going to LOVE this gingerbread cupcake recipe. These fluffy and moist gingerbread cupcakes are filled with winter spices and are perfect for holiday baking.

Each bite is met with rich and buttery molasses flavor rounded out with cozy ginger and cinnamon, and the softest cupcake crumb. They’re frosted with rich and tangy, creamy cinnamon maple cream cheese frosting. Seriously irresistible!

Why You’ll Love This Gingerbread Cupcakes Recipe

  • Simple ingredients. All you need are a few pantry staples, plus the molasses and spices that give these gingerbread cupcakes their characteristic flavor.
  • Made with oil. Making cupcakes with oil in place of butter results in a tender cake crumb with loads of moisture and flavor.
  • Lightly spiced. The spices and molasses are present in these cupcakes without being overpowering. Frosted with creamy cinnamon and maple cream cheese frosting, every bite tastes like the holidays.
Two unfrosted gingerbread cupcakes stacked on top of one another.

Recipe Notes

After some trial and error to get the flavors and texture just right, these holiday gingerbread cupcakes came out perfectly. Below are some notes on the key ingredients. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card with the full amounts and recipe instructions.

  • Sugar – You’ll use a combination of light brown sugar and granulated sugar, to give the cupcakes a deep, caramelized flavor along with extra moisture. You can use all brown sugar or all white sugar if you prefer.
  • Oil – Cakes and cupcakes made with oil stay moist and tender for longer. I recommend vegetable oil or another neutral oil, like canola.
  • Molasses – Molasses is key to gingerbread’s characteristic rich, dark color and smoky, sweet flavor. Dark molasses is the best choice for these gingerbread cupcakes.
  • Sour Cream – My secret ingredient for extra moist cupcakes and cakes. If you don’t have sour cream, I recommend substituting plain, nonfat Greek yogurt. 
  • Spices – Ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves give these cupcakes the perfect amount of festive spice.
  • Frosting – I make a variation of my cream cheese frosting flavored with cinnamon and real maple syrup for frosting these cupcakes. The flavors pair so well! Cold butter and cold cream cheese are key to a perfect frosting consistency.

How to Make Gingerbread Cupcakes

Moist, flavorful gingerbread cupcakes are the best treat you’ll make this season. Here’s how easy this recipe comes together:

  • Combine the wet ingredients. Cream together the butter and sugars, and beat in the oil, eggs, molasses, vanilla, and sour cream.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and ground spices. Then alternate adding the dry ingredients to the wet batter with the milk, mixing to combine, then add the remaining half, beating until combined.
  • Fill the cupcake pan. Next, divide the cupcake batter evenly between the wells of a lined cupcake pan. I like to use a cookie scoop for this, as it helps portion out the batter evenly.
  • Bake. Bake the cupcakes at 350ºF for 14-16 minutes, then take them out to cool completely before frosting. 

Frosting the Cupcakes

When your cupcakes have cooled, it’s time to make a quick batch of cinnamon cream cheese frosting and get decorating:

  • Make the frosting. Start by beating together the butter and cream cheese. When the mixture is fluffy, gradually add powdered sugar, then mix in heavy cream, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. Continue to whip until the frosting is light and creamy.
  • Frost the cupcakes. Use a large piping bag fitted with an open round tip to pipe the frosting over the cooled cupcakes. See the section below for more detailed decorating ideas.
Close up of a frosted gingerbread cupcake on a wire rack topped with a small rosemary sprig.

Recipe Tips

I went through a few rounds of cupcakes before they turned out perfect! In doing so, I rounded up some additional notes that you might find helpful:

    • The batter is quite thin. Give the batter an extra stir from top to bottom after mixing to make sure the ingredients are well incorporated.
    • Use room temperature ingredients. It helps to incorporate the batter together with all ingredients are the same temperature
    • Sift the dry ingredients. This includes the flour, leavening agents and salt. Sifted flour will also incorporate in the batter much better.
    • Use cold ingredients to make the frosting. Make sure that you’re using cold butter, cream cheese, and heavy whipping cream. Chilled ingredients are key to an ultra-whipped, pipeable frosting.
    • If your frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar a little at a time until it’s thickened to your liking. You can also pop the frosting into the fridge before piping.
    • Prepare the frosting in advance. Whip up your cheese frosting up to 1 day ahead, and store it airtight in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. I recommend taking it out an hour ahead of frosting.

Ways to Decorate Gingerbread Cupcakes

I like to use a large open round tip to decorate my gingerbread cupcakes, as pictured. To get this classic look, hold the piping tip over the center of the cupcake. Gently squeeze the piping bag, forcing the frosting out towards the edges of the cupcake, before lifting up and away. Top each cupcake with a small cutting of rosemary as a cute, wintery garnish.

For a lighter frosting, try my cinnamon maple whipped cream. These gingerbread cupcakes would also be delicious topped with brown butter frosting or mascarpone whipped cream. You can even make holiday gingerbread cupcakes frosted to look like Christmas trees!

If you’re just getting the hang of frosting with piping tips, check out my tutorials on how to decorate cupcakes, how to use a piping bag, and how to use piping tips for more helpful tips and tricks.

An unwrapped gingerbread cupcake topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and a rosemary sprig on a wire rack, with more cupcakes in the background.

How to Store Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • To Store. Your frosted gingerbread cupcakes will keep at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. Make sure to store them covered airtight. If you live in a hot or humid climate, you can keep them in the fridge instead for up to 4-5 days. In this case, I recommend taking the cupcakes out ahead of serving to let them come back to room temperature first.
  • Make-ahead. Prepare the cupcakes and frosting ahead, and store them separately in airtight containers for up to 2 days. Longer than that, and I recommend refrigerating the cupcakes and frosting until you’re ready to use them.
  • Freeze. Freeze the unfrosted cupcakes in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Thaw the cupcakes in the refrigerator overnight, and bring them to room temperature before frosting and serving. I do not recommend freezing the decorated cupcakes.

More Easy Homemade Cupcakes to Try

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Close up of an unwrapped gingerbread cupcake topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and a rosemary sprig.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 14 minutes
  • Total Time: 44 minutes
  • Yield: 14-16 cupcakes

Description

Soft and spiced gingerbread cupcakes topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting are the perfect holiday treat. Make easy homemade cupcakes with loads of festive flavor!

Ingredients

For the cupcake:

  • ½ cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (48g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (59ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup (59m) molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (48g) light sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (5g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ cup (118ml) milk

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, cold
  • 8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, cold
  • 34 cups (390-520g) powdered confectionary sugar
  • 1 tablespoons (15ml) maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream or milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, vegetable oil, eggs, molasses, vanilla extract, and sour cream. Beat on medium speed until the well combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all remaining dry ingredients. Then, add half the dry ingredients to the batter followed by half the milk, and beat until it starts to combine.
  4. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the milk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  5. Using a large cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly, filling each liner 2/3 full.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 14-16 minutes. Test the cupcakes for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.

For the frosting:

  1. Cut the butter into 1-inch blocks. Beat the butter for 1-2 minutes until it is slightly softened.
  2. Then add the cream cheese and cream together for 2-3 minutes until they are fluffy and free of lumps, scrape down the bowl occasionally.
  3. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar 2 cups at a time, followed by the heavy cream, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, and cinnamon.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until you reach your desired consistency, at least 2 minutes.
  5. Using a large piping bag fitted with a large open round piping tip, pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Notes

  • The batter will be quite thin. It’s important that you stir the batter after mixing, to ensure everything on the bottom of the bowl is well mixed.
  • Sour Cream: You can substitute the light sour cream for Greek yogurt. You can also use full-fat sour cream if needed.
  • To make 24 cupcakes simply double the ingredients
  • Storage suggestions: If you live in a hot and humid environment then I would suggest that you refrigerate cupcakes that are frosted and allow them to come to room temperature before serving. Otherwise, they can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature.
  • Make-ahead: These are best served within 2 days of preparation but will proper storage they can stay fresh for several days. Add the cookie garnish prior to serving.
  • Freezing: If needed, flash-freeze the cupcakes on a baking sheet for 15 minutes then transfer them to an air-tight, freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator for several hours then bring to room temperature prior to serving. If possible, it’s best to store them unfrosted and add the frosting prior to serving.
Nutrition Information:
1 cupcake
380
42g
75mg
16g
54g
0g
3.8g
62mg
  • Category: Cupcake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4 Responses
    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Yes! I have a recipe coming soon! To bake in a 9×13 inch pan, it’s 35+ minutes and then the frosting recipe is about half.

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