These moist and tender Gingerbread Cupcakes are packed with the rich flavor of molasses and warm holiday spices. Topped with a silky vanilla and cinnamon cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are the perfect holiday dessert!
This is one of my Cupcake recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
In my opinion, peppermint and gingerbread are two of the most iconic winter holiday flavors. I’ve just shared a peppermint recipe last week, so I figured it was time for some gingerbread!
Gingerbread cookies are probably the most classic, but we’re huge fans of cupcakes, so I brought the two together.
These gingerbread cupcakes are moist and tender, and just packed with those classic warm holiday spices. And the frosting takes regular cream cheese frosting and adds vanilla and cinnamon to take it up to the next level.
The combination of soft cupcakes and silky frosting is mouthwatering, and I know you’ll love it!
How to make gingerbread cupcakes?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Combine dry ingredients. I like to do this in a smaller mixing bowl. In this recipe, it would be the flour, spices, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Combine butter and sugar. You can use a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer.
- Add molasses and eggs.
- Add liquids. In this recipe, that would be the milk, sour cream, and vanilla.
- Stir in dry ingredients. Just until there are no more flour streaks.
- Scoop batter into muffin tin.
- Cool. Set aside the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack.
- Beat butter and cream cheese. This can be done in a stand mixer or hand mixer.
- Add flavor add ins. In this recipe, that would be the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
- Add sugar. Do this gradually, and with a low speed to keep the sugar from flying out of the bowl.
- Beat. Increase the mixer speed and beat until fluffy.
- Transfer to piping bag. You can use any decorating tip.
- Pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes.
For the perfect cupcakes, have all the cold ingredients at room temperature before you start mixing. Room temp ingredients will always mix together better and more fully, than cold ones will.
Variations of this recipe
- Molasses – molasses are a key component of gingerbread, so I don’t recommend substituting it. In the grocery stores near me, Grandma’s Molasses (the original flavor), is readily available, and what was used for this recipe.
- Greek yogurt – you can substitute full-fat plain Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream if you’d like.
- Vanilla extract – while I highly recommend the vanilla bean paste, if you can’t find it, you can use vanilla extract instead. Just make sure it’s real vanilla, not imitation.
- Eggnog – if you’re an eggnog lover, you can add a tablespoon or two of eggnog to the cream cheese frosting, as well as adding 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg and about 1/4 tsp of rum extract.
- Drizzled – for extra flavor, try drizzling some caramel or melted chocolate over the top of the frosting.
Yes, for up to 3 months. See the section below titled “Freezing” for all the directions.
You can bake the batter in traditional round cake pans – bake times will vary depending on size, but two 8” rounds will bake for about 30 minutes or a sheet cake (9×13) will bake for about 35 minutes.
Making gingerbread cupcakes ahead of time
Cupcakes are great to make ahead of time, because when stored properly, they can last a couple of days before frosting.
I don’t usually like to make mine more than a day ahead of time, just because I want the ultimate fluffy and moist texture.
Leftover frosted cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Unfrosted cupcakes can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
To freeze unfrosted cupcakes, add cupcakes to a baking sheet and place the whole thing in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until hard.
Wrap frozen cupcakes individually in plastic wrap, then transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container, label it with the date, then freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.
I don’t recommend freezing the frosted cupcakes.
Tips for perfect cupcakes!
- Room temperature ingredients. As I mentioned earlier in the post, the ingredients will all mix together better if they’re room temperature.
- Be careful with how much you’re mixing. Over mixing can leave you with a tough, overly dense cupcake. Just mix the dry ingredients into the batter until no flour streaks remain as you stir.
- Pay attention to how much you’re filling the cupcake liners. Follow what the recipe suggests for how full to make them. Fill them too much and they can overflow, too little and they won’t even reach the tops of the liners.
- For optimal results, bake one pan at a time. I know it’s a hassle, and most of the time, I’m guilty of cramming two pans in there side by side (but then rotating and switching sides halfway through baking). But when you’re starting out, or want perfect cupcakes, bake one pan, and put the pan right in the middle of the center rack.
- Let them cool. Don’t try to frost a cupcake that’s still warm, it’ll end up a big ol’ mess. Let the cupcakes cool, then pile up that frosting as high as you’d like!
- Follow the recipe. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s a reason the recipe is written the way it is; because it works that way. With cooking you may be able to swap out ingredients, guess on the measurements, etc, but with baking you really don’t want to do that. Only use any substitutions specifically mentioned, and follow everything to the letter.
Cookie scoops are perfect for scooping the perfect amount of batter every time. This size is perfect for muffins/cupcakes!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup molasses unsulphured is preferred
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 Tbsp sour cream full fat works best
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Cream cheese frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 16 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature (full fat bricks are recommended, not the spreadable kind)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 5 cups powdered sugar whisked to remove lumps
Make the cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- To a medium mixing bowl, add flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and cloves. Whisk and set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add brown sugar and butter and whisk until smooth and creamy.
- Add molasses and whisk until combined. Add egg and egg yolks and whisk to combine.
- Add milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract and whisk again, until combined.
- Add dry ingredients from step 2 to the wet batter and whisk until just combined and no flour streaks remain.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling them about 2/3 – 3/4 of the way up.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few moist crumbs, or clean.
- Let cupcakes cool in the muffin tins for a few minutes, then remove the cupcakes to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Make the frosting
- Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a mixing bowl with a hand mixer) and beat until creamy.
- Add vanilla, cinnamon and salt and beat until combined.
- Add in powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing on a lower speed to prevent the sugar from flying out of the mixer.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat for another 2 minutes or until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Frost the cupcakes
- Transfer frosting to piping bag fitted with a closed star tip (or desired tip), and once the cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe swirls of frosting onto cupcakes.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- Recipe makes approximately 12-14 cupcakes.
StorageLeftover frosted cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or at room temperature for 3-4 days. Unfrosted cupcakes can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
FreezingTo freeze unfrosted cupcakes, add cupcakes to a baking sheet and place the whole thing in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until hard. Wrap frozen cupcakes individually in plastic wrap, then transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container, label it with the date, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting. I don’t recommend freezing the frosted cupcakes.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.