Addictive Recipes from a Self-Taught Baker

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Spiced gingerbread cupcake recipe with tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting. Moist and flavorful, these homemade cupcakes are the perfect treat during the holidays!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today is our first snowfall! Only appropriate I make some wintery cupcakes to celebrate the snowflakes, right?

Kevin has lived in both Colorado and Utah. He loves the snow. And Jude was born in Colorado, so he’s a natural snow bunny. I, on the other hand, can brave the snow if there’s a steamy hot chocolate waiting for me afterward. Don’t get me wrong, I love a fresh blanket of snow. But I once tried snowboarding (Kevin’s a natural) and got the wind knocked out of me. Ouch.

I better stick to what I’m good at – cupcakes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Kevin described today’s spiced cupcakes as one of the best things I’ve ever made. Coming from the man who taste-tested all 75 recipes in my cookbook, as well as 95% of the recipes found on this blog – that says A LOT!

What may look like your typical gingerbread cupcake is anything but average.

Deep inside each super-moist crumb you’ll taste cinnamon, ginger, and other warming winter spices. The taste of molasses is pungent, yet not overpowering in the slightest. Buttery and rich, these easy cupcakes are Christmas in a wrapper. There are no flavors I associate more with the holidays than cinnamon, ginger, and molasses.

Gingerbread cupcakes on sallysbakingaddiction.com

It took me a few tries to perfect this gingerbread cupcake recipe. I used some trusty trial-and-error techniques to find the perfect ratio of ingredients. The cupcake batter starts with creamed butter. Batch #1 was made with oil instead of butter. Oh my gosh. The batter separated and the cupcakes were so oily, they were impossible to pick up and eat! Batch #2 was made with less oil. Dry. Dry as a bone! Batch #3 was made with melted butter and more flour. Again, oily.

(About to give up at this point, but my gingerbread perseverance pushed me through.)

Batch #4 won. Creamed butter! Brown sugar and molasses are the sweetening (and flavoring) agents in this cupcake recipe. Not only that, brown sugar brings moisture to the baked cupcake. Since you’re not using oil (which is more moisture-rich than butter), brown sugar is a simple way to not only sweeten the cupcake, but to leave a moist texture as well.

The rest of the cupcake ingredients are quite standard: flour, spices, milk, leaveners, egg. Use room temperature egg for this cupcake batter. Surely you saw what happened when I didn’t use room temperature egg in this cupcake post, right? Though not necessary for all cupcake and cake recipes, I prefer to use room temperature egg(s) when the rest of my ingredients are room temperature. This allows the egg to incorporate easier into the batter.

Cream cheese frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

I top the flavorful gingerbread cupcakes with my favorite cream cheese frosting. The frosting is quite similar to the cream cheese frosting I slather on my Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake. I simply increased the cream cheese for a thicker consistency. If you love cream cheese frosting, this is a recipe you need. Seriously, look how thick and creamy!

↑ Yes, that is a pink hand mixer. Yes, that is a pink mixing bowl. I knowww.

Frost the gingerbread cupcakes – I used my Wilton #12 tip for piping, though you could simply frost them with a knife or your favorite piping tip.

I know you’re wondering about the adorable little gingerbread men decor, right? They kind of steal the show. Found them for super cheap at Michael’s craft store. You can buy them here or even some adorable candy canes right here!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting - easy homemade recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com-13

You could also decorate the cupcakes with festive holiday sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or even flavor the cream cheese frosting with maple extract or a sprinkle of cinnamon. You could even do a simple whipped cream topping as well. I’m pretty certain gingerbread goes with everything.

If you’re a gingerbread lover, you have to try these holiday cupcakes. Crowned with tangy cream cheese frosting, each bite is super moist and high in gingery flavor. Sugar and spice at its finest!

PS: See how to make them mini size in my recipe notes below!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ok, enough reading – start baking!

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk, at room temperature1
  • 1/2 cup (156g) molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (167g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • cream cheese frosting for topping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 12-count muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the egg until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the milk, molasses, and vanilla on medium speed. Mixture will be piecey and not fully combined. That's ok.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice together until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full, no more. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Prepare cream cheese frosting. Frost cooled cupcakes immediately before serving. Unfrosted cupcakes remain fresh covered tightly at room temperature for 2 days. Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Make ahead tip: Prepare cupcakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and the frosting covered tightly in the refrigerator. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.

Recipe Notes:

Mini cupcakes: To make about 30 mini cupcakes, make the cupcake batter as directed and bake in mini muffin pans for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Want to make a cake? Here is my gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting recipe.

  1. Egg and milk should be at room temperature. I used skim milk, though any milk would be fine. Buttermilk would be great!

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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Kitchenaid Hand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Measuring Bowl | Flex Edge BeaterKitchenaid Stand Mixer | Cupcake Pan | Frosting Tip | Frosting Bag | Decorations

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pays me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com
Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com
Gingerbread Cupcakes with the BEST cream cheese frosting recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

216 comments

  1. Let me be clear… I don’t care for frosting of any kind. I find it generally lacks flavor and is just overly sweet gooey stuff in various colors. But I do love gingerbread! Spicy gingerbread is my favorite. So, when I saw this recipe, I had to try it and I have come to find that Sally’s tastes are very similar to mine. She describes things the way I do. Therefore, I decided to give the frosting a try as well. I gradually added the powdered sugar, tasting as I went so I didn’t end up with a bowl of “sweet stuff”. And guess what!? It was just right at two cups per recipe! The cupcakes are wonderful and my daughter declared them her new holiday favorite! Thank you for ANOTHER great recipe!

  2. These are great! followed the recipe exactly. Taste just like gingerbread. Might up the spices or molasses just a tad next time!

  3. Hi, Sally.

    I’ve made several recipes from your totally amazing fantastic website, even bought your cook book for my daughter for Christmas. Recently my handheld mixer died. I replaced it with a Kitchen Aid standing mixture. Do the ingredients still get mixed according to your instructions? I found the cupcakes were kind of dense compared to your other recipes, like the pumpkin chocolate chip bread which is such a big hit. I’ll take any suggestions you offer. I plan on baking this upcoming weekend for Christmas and would still like the great results I’ve always had before the new mixer. Thank you in advance. Mary Grasek

    • Yes, using a stand mixer instead of handheld for these cupcakes is just fine. Either are great. These cupcakes are a little heavier than my pumpkin bread, for sure. They are on the dense side- kind of like gingerbread. Using cake flour instead of all-purpose (same amount) may help make them a little fluffier.

  4. Hi Sally!

    So I recently made these wonderful cupcakes and they tasted absolutely amazing. Perfect way to get yourself into the mood for christmas.
    However, I was really sad about how the frosting turned out. I was ready to pipe it onto the cupcakes but it was so runny that i could barely keep it on top of them! It just ran off the sides. I then tried to add more confectioners’ sugar, but that didn’t help either.
    What could have caused that difference in texture? Please help!

    I wish you and your husband a wonderful christmas time and a very happy new year!

    Best, Sophie

    • Hi Sophie! Do you live in another country? I often hear that cream cheese can have a much different texture in other countries. Did you use full fat cream cheese too? That’s important.

      • Yes, I am from Germany. I did use full fat, but that doesn’t seem to have been enough… Do you have any idea, how I can make it work with the cream cheese here that seems to be much more watery?

  5. I made these cupcakes last night for a party… The cakes almost didn’t make it to the frosting stage! My husband inhaled two right out of the oven. (I think he burned his tongue, but he won’t admit it). The cakes themselves are amazing. Spicy, fragrant… Almost carmelly (is that a word??). I made an adults-only version, brushed the tops with spiced rum and made a rummy egg nog buttercream. They were amazing!!!!
    I want to make a loaf version…. Do I just need to bake it longer?

    • Love the addition of spiced rum Cindy! Yum. This could definitely work as a loaf. I’m unsure of the bake time though– sorry! It will be longer, yes.

  6. Thank you so so so much for these!! They turned out absolutely amazing Sally!

  7. OH MY GOSH. These cupcakes are awesome. It is the first time I have made cupcakes from scratch, My mother-in-law used to make gingerbread but this puts it to shame. I am going to ice them with a lemon glaze. I am giving them as gifts to my doctors office and pharmacy and they don’t have a place to refrigerate the cream cheese iced cupcakes. Thank you Sally for a successful cupcake. I am kinda proud of myself.

  8. Hi! I just made these for Christmas, and I wanted to say they’re insanely good! I coloured the frosting green and made Christmas wreaths on top, then decorated with silver balls and marzipan bows.
    Thank you so much for a brilliant recipe!

  9. Hi Sally! I love your recipes and this is one of my favorite blogs! But I was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, so I can not have anything with gluten. I needed a recipe for gingerbread cupcakes, and these looked AMAZING. I made them, but did a few changes to make it gluten-free. I used gluten free flour instead of regular flour, and I added a touch more baking soda and baking powder than was required. They turned out delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  10. hiii!!! i tried this recipe and it came out fantastic…!!!!!! i frosted them with cinnamon swirl icing …it was soooooooo delicious !!!!!! i hardly remained one for me to taste 😛 my family loved it! perfectly balanced sweetness and flavors !!! this recipe is really a hit!!!!!!!! thanks a lottttt

  11. Sally I am finding it hard to get hold of molasses in the UK, please can you advise what this can be substituted for?

    Thank you!

  12. Hi there. Thank you for this recipe, I have made it a couple of times and the cakes went down a treat.
    I am also from the UK and a little confused about the molasses. Is it liquid molasses that you use in this recipe? I have seen 2 types in the shops, the dark liquid, and then also a dry version that looks like brown sugar.
    I used the liquid version, but the cakes were a lot darker than yours, so now I’m wondering if it was the wrong sort?

    Thanks!

  13. Hi. 
    I made this yesterday and they are gorgeous. I live in Ireland and could not get hold of molasses so I used Maple syrup instead. Gorgeous. Thanks.

  14. I made these today and they smell great, but don’t look that good. I think i filled the muffin cups to much, but they also taste almost like candy, like the brown sugar never dissolved or something. Not sure what went wrong or is that how they re supposed to taste?

  15. Hi Sally,

    these look gorgeous however where I am at the moment I cannot get molasses. How I replace that AND the all spice?

    Thanks for the help!!

  16. Hi Sally,

    wanted to know if I can use the Gingerbread Cupcake recipe to make a Cake and if so do I only use one 8″ pan since it only makes 12 Cupcakes? Can I double the recipe if I can make the Cake ? Thank you 🙂

  17. Hi Sally
    , I’ve just made these and they look and smell delicious (not tasted yet but I’m hopeful!) However, my frosting is really thin- I didn’t even add the cream/milk because it is already so thin and runny, I’ve put it in the fridge but it doesn’t appear to be working so far. There’s no way it is pipe-able or even spreadable to be honest. Any ideas at all? Thank you for sharing the recipe. x

  18. Hi Sally! 
    I love these! They’re always a huge hit around the holidays!

    I was wondering if you have any tips for making these gluten free. I’ve been using gluten free flour with xathum gum but they’re still slightly drier than regular cupcakes. And I’ve tried adding an extra egg for the moisture, but I wasn’t a fan of how eggy the texture was (though everyone else loved them)

    Not sure if you can help, but I figured it was worth asking! Thanks!

    • I’m not the one to ask about GF baking, Lauren. Little experience. What about a cup-for-cup GF flour instead? And an extra splash of milk?

  19. I haven’t seen the brick style cream cheese here in the UK. Anyone have any success with what is available here?

  20. I am struggling to get molasses – what is the closest replacement? Also what is all-purpose flour? We have plain flour and self raising flour.  Thank you very much

  21. Hi Sally, sorry no personal URL. I hope you still post from this, or rewrite the info.
    Hi all!  bit of a difference, I live in France! That has it’s baking challenges as here they are not so into cakes! Normally tarts but they love my bakes! We can’t get thick double cream here. The highest fat content is 35%, double cream normally above 40%. Surprising as this is the land of Creme Chantilly! See chantifix below.
    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Amazon as a source of Molasses, they sent me Grandma Molasses to France. Postage not too bad if sourced and dispatched by Amazon. Just add in other bits and postage doesn’t increase.
    I have recipes for ginger cake using half golden syrup, half black treacle as substitute for Molasses too as find Black treacle too bitter. Or half maple syrup half black treacle. I lower to 1/4 black treacle,3/4 golden syrup etc so not so bitter. Beware bitterness.
    In France & UK we only have cream cheese spread but still makes yummy frosting although not as thick but swirling consistency, does the job.
    For France, use Chantifix in your frosting. Made by Vahine (little yellow box)Whisk for few minutes and it makes your frosting a little stiffer. I will try this cupcake recipe in a loaf tine using my Grandma molasses as haven’t tried it yet as had black treacle I drove over from the UK to use up!

  22. Heyy! These look amazing! <3  Instead of cupcakes, I was wondering if I could turn them into gingerbread cake pops…. using your gingerbread cupcake recipe and the cream cheese frosting to hold it together! It would be so much easier to give away 🙂 Anyone tried it? 

  23. I made two batches of these to take to separate holiday parties this holiday season. They were a big hit and I have shared the recipe a number of times with friends.  They are moist, flavorful and delicious!  Thanks for sharing your recipes!  (I even found the little gingerbread men!)  Merry Christmas!!!

  24. Oh my goodness! I made these and got fantastic reviews!!! People loved them-just the perfect combination of spices. I made them with caramel molasses cream cheese frosting which paired well with the cake. Thanks for another great recipe! 

  25. What technique did you use to pipe the frosting on top. They are gorgeous!

    Thanks!

  26. Made these for Christmas gifts and they turned out great! Mine didn’t rise as much as yours- they were kind of flat on top- but they also turned out a little crunchy on top too, like a gingerbread cookie- score! Two treats in one! And yes, the wet ingredients looked all kinds of wrong- but once you add the dry it looks like normal batter. Thanks for the great recipe again!

  27. I would like to make a double batch.  Would just doubling the recipe be ok to do?

  28. Just made these for christmas and they were absolutely delicious. Sadly the frosting didn’t work out so well as it was all runny, therefore I just made a basic buttercream. But all in all, absolutely lovely! 😀

    • Meena, do you live in the US? Readers outside of the US experience that problem with the frosting because (as I understand it) cream cheese here is super super thick.

  29. WHOA! Just made these last night and they are perfection in cupcake form! They turned out sooo moist and spicy, and the icing was super thick and creamy–delicious! The tops of mine also turned just a little bit chewy, which I quite liked. Made it like a moist cupcake topped with a ginger cookie topped with icing 🙂

  30. These were delicious! The cupcake was very moist and I also got a slightly chewy top, which I love. The cream cheese frosting is perfection, I’m trying not to eat the leftovers by the spoonful. One issue I had was that after cooling, the cupcakes seemed pretty oily (or buttery, I suppose) on the bottoms of the liner. The cupcake itself was fine, but I set them all on some paper towels overnight before I took them to a potluck and they seemed fine in the morning.

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