gingerbread cupcakes.

There’s no reason to limit cupcakes to just vanilla or chocolate; put a festive spin on the traditional cupcake with gingerbread! With aromatic spices such as ginger, cinnamon and allspice, these gingerbread cupcakes are perfect for fall and holiday baking. And a generous swirl of the creamy, rich, citrus-cinnamon cream cheese frosting perfectly balances the deep and dense flavors of the gingerbread.

gingerbread cupcakes with citrus-cinnamon cream cheese frosting

mix things up a bit with gingerbread cupcakes.

Easy, quick, and deliciously unique, these gingerbread cupcakes have more complex flavors than your typical cupcake, but maintain a homey feel that will make them a favorite for the whole family.

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Cupcake Ingredients

½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup molasses
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¾ cup water

Frosting Ingredients

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
2 tsp lemon peel, grated
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
1-2 tsp milk

two gingerbread cupcakes

the fresh zing of the cream cheese frosting balances out the full, deep flavor of gingerbread.


  • For a sweeter cupcake, use light molasses; for more full-bodied flavor use the thicker, less refined (and less sweet) blackstrap unsulphured molasses.
  • This recipe makes between 15 and 18 cupcakes. If you’re using 12-cup muffin pans, you’ll have unfilled muffin cups in one pan; if you leave empty cups in your pan the heat can warp it while the cupcakes are cooking. Adding some water to the empty cups will help evenly distribute the heat from the oven and protect your pans from irreparably twisting and warping.
  • Do not refrigerate cupcakes, as this will negatively affect their texture and cause them to dry out more quickly. However, cream cheese frosting absolutely needs to be refrigerated, which means you cannot make and frost these cupcakes the night before. If you aren’t able to serve the cupcakes within a few minutes of serving them, I recommend baking the cupcakes in advance and storing them (unfrosted) tightly covered at room temperature, preparing and refrigerating the frosting, and then piping or spreading the frosting on the cupcakes just before your guests are ready to eat them.
gingerbread cupcakes unfrosted

fresh from the oven after passing the toothpick test, cooled, and now ready and waiting for a crown of dreamy cream cheese frosting.

Cupcake Directions

  1. Place standard baking cup in each of 18 regular size muffin pan cups.
  2. In large bowl, cream sugar and butter.
  3. Mix in molasses; beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and water.
  5. Blend flour mixture into wet ingredients, one cup at a time.
  6. Spoon approximately ¼ of batter into prepared muffin cups.
  7. Bake in preheated oven (375 degrees F) for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool 5 minutes in pan.
  9. Remove cupcakes from pans to cooling rack, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
decorating gingerbread cupcakes with citrus-cinnamon cream cheese frosting

for a more polished look, pipe frosting on cupcakes in a fancy swirl using a large plain or star-shaped decorating tip.

Frosting Directions

  1. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, grated lemon peel, cinnamon and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth.
  2. Gradually beat in icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth.
  3. Beat in milk, 1 tsp at a time, until spreadable.
  4. Spread or pipe a generous amount of frosting on top of each cupcake; if piping, use a large round or star decorating tip to get a nice big swirl.
  5. Serve at once. Yum!
gingerbread cupcakes in pan

never refrigerate cupcakes - it dries them out! and who wants dry cake? store cupcakes tightly covered at room temperature for up to a day, refrigerate frosting, and frost just in time for your guests to indulge.

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  1. Yummy — absolutely, beautiful and total delight! Muchisimas gracias…for the moments I spent meditating on the smoothness of the cupcake and the pleasure of biting into a morsel of such delight!

  2. I baked these today and made my own version of a lemon cream cheese frosting. They are delicious – Just the right amount of spice. I’ve already eaten two today!

  3. I tried these cupcakes, but my “dry ingredient bowl” (the flour through to the water) turned to a huge ball of dough, consequently making lumpy cupcakes. How do I avoid this?

  4. These look delicious! What would you suggest for a filled version of this cupcake?

    • sweetgirl

      Hi! My mother makes a hot lemon sauce to go over her ginger bread, so I think that a lemon curd filling would be a lovely complement to the gingerbread flavor of this cupcake. It would also pick up on the flavors in the cream cheese icing. Will give it a try…

    • I think that a cinnamon custard would be great in the middle of these!

  5. i am just baking these now so will have an update shortly…. just wanted to know why it’s listed to whisk the dry ingredients and water together first? I ended up with a gluey mess that didn’t absorb all of the water. when i mised it with my wet ingredients, as expected, i got lumps. is there a scientific reason for this? would make more sense to just keep wet with wet to avoid the hassle.

  6. Oh my, I made these tonight & the frosting for these cupcakes is positively sublime. I would never have thought of putting cinnamon and lemon together, but I think I’m going to start. Yum!

  7. What is icing sugar? Powdered sugar? Or confectioners sugar? Must be a regional term. Thanks.want to make this when I find out.

    • Icing sugar is powdered sugar / confectioner’s sugar. It’s all the same thing – just known by different names.

  8. lynn brandow

    These cupcakes are so dry. The frosting is delicious however

  9. Just made these they are ABSOLUTLY wonderful! The frosting taste just like Cinnabon icing! I can’t wait to make these for thanksgiving dinner desert these and pumpkin pie of course!

  10. Kelly Marques

    I made these cupcakes this past weekend and they were amazing! The frosting compliments the gingerbread perfectly. I made them for company and they were all gobbled up and I plan to make them again this weekend to bring to a dinner party. Thank you for the recipe, they are delicious!

    (I did combine the water with the wet ingredients since others had mentioned that it made it difficult to add the dry ingredients when the water had been added to them and it worked out well!)

  11. omg these are “slap yo momma” good! I’ve made cakes before with water in them, you want to add it to the mixer very last after you’ve incorporated all of the dry ingredients. you want to mix it until just blended. I also substituted some homemade applesauce for part of the water (1/2 c water, 1/4 c applesauce) and they turned out very moist. would look cute with a cinnamon teddy graham on top :)

  12. I just mixed these bad boys up and have them in the oven now. The batter tastes pretty awesome, but I, too, am curious as to why the recipe calls to mix water in with the flour. I got an unmanageable gluey dough ball that didn’t mix into the wet ingredients well resulting in lumpy batter. I’m hoping this doesn’t affect the cupcakes in the end, but I definitely won’t do that again if I make this recipe again. I’m a little confused as to why this problem hasn’t been addressed when other’s questions have been answered?

  13. Im making these as I type! Can’t wait for these to come out of the oven and be ready to eat! They smell delicious! A note though… I only got a dozen out of this recipe because I used bigger cupcake liners.

  14. HI!
    These cupcakes are so cute!
    I am featuring them in a cupcake roundup on my blog tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!


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