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Easy Gingerbread Cupcakes Recipe

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Gingerbread cupcakes are the perfect treat on a cold Winter’s day! Filled with a perfect balance of spices, these rich and comforting Christmas cupcakes look the cutest when decorated with some homemade gingerbread biscuits!

A close up of a gingerbread cupcake topped with a gingerbread biscuit snowflake on a cooling rack being sprinkled with extra cinnamon. There are more cupcakes, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

After creating my gingerbread biscuit recipe last week, I had a lot left over. Wondering what the best use for them would be – I thought, wouldn’t they make the CUTEST decorations on some cupcakes?

A top down view of a hand reaching in to some iced and none iced gingerbread cupcakes in a muffin pan on a decorative white board. There's some mini gingerbread biscuits, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

And so this gingerbread cupcakes recipe was born! They’re so festive and warming, it really is quite special. Encapsulating all our favourite gingerbread flavours into a super cute and delicious cupcake form.

A top down view of a mixture of iced and none iced gingerbread cupcakes on a cooling rack. There is a mini sieve filled with cinnamon, some books, mini gingerbread biscuits, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Want to know how to make them for yourself? Be sure to check out the helpful information below first! Learn all you need to know about the ingredients, read a quick highlights recipe so you know what’s coming and there’s even a tips section that I know you’ll find invaluable!

A close up of a mixture of iced and none iced gingerbread cupcakes on a round cooling rack. There are some gold baubles, books and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

How to make gingerbread cupcakes: simplified

For the cake

  1. Beat the sugar to break up any lumps.
  2. Add butter, flour, baking powder, salt and the spices and beat until sandy.
  3. Mix milk, vanilla and eggs in a jug.
  4. Pour half the liquid into the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Repeat for the remaining half.
  5. Divide between cases and bake.

For the cream cheese frosting

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. Gradually add icing sugar.
  3. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
  4. Beat until thick and smooth.

To decorate

  1. Pipe swirls of frosting on each cake.
  2. Top with homemade gingerbread biscuits.
A top down view of a hand reaching in with a spoon to some unbaked gingerbread cupcakes in a muffin pan with some gold baubles, cupcake cases and mini gingerbread biscuits scattered around in the background with a light brown linen napkin. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Ingredients

Here’s everything you might need to know about the ingredients needed to make gingerbread cupcakes.

For the cake

  • Sugar – Dark muscovado sugar brings a lovely flavour, texture and colour to gingerbread cupcakes. Don’t substitute it if you can help it but, if you need to, try and stick to a brown sugar rather than a white sugar.
  • Butter – Always use unsalted in baking and add the salt separately. This gives you full control of the overall flavour.
  • Flour – Plain flour (all purpose in the US) is best in this case. Self raising flour might not have the right level of leavening agents in it for this recipe.
  • Baking Powder – Don’t confuse this with bicarbonate of soda as they work differently! Stick with baking powder.
  • Ginger – Ground spices work best in this cupcake recipe as they give a strong flavour while blending easily with the other ingredients.
  • Cinnamon – Use ground spices, see above.
  • Nutmeg – Use ground spices, see above.
  • Salt – Table salt is absolutely fine, no need to get fancy here! We just want flavour, not texture. Put the sea salt away.
  • Milk – I find whole (full fat) milk gives the best results in this recipe. You could use semi skimmed if you wish but it may affect the texture slightly.
  • Vanilla – Always use a good quality vanilla such as Little Pod or Nielsen Massey (affiliate links). You’ll thank me for it, trust me.
  • Eggs – Free range organic are my favourite but any medium eggs would work fine here. Just don’t use super tiny ones.

For the cream cheese frosting

  • Butter – I use a good quality unsalted butter like Lurpak (affiliate link) in this frosting. Both the stability and flavour shines through. Cheaper alternatives will probably work but if you can afford it, go for a better brand.
  • Cream Cheese – This ingredient matters. You need the stability and ‘rigidness’ of good cream cheese in this or it won’t hold it’s shape when you’re finished. Full fat Philadelphia original cream cheese (affiliate link) is the only one I will use!
  • Icing Sugar – Also known as confectioners sugar or powdered sugar, any brand will work fine here. I do recommend that you sieve it first to remove any lumps.
  • Vanilla – As said above, a good quality vanilla is always best.
  • Cinnamon – Ground cinnamon works best as it blends easily with the other ingredients.
A close up of a gingerbread cupcake with a bite out of ot set on a cooling rack. There are gold baubles, mini gingerbread biscuits and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Recipe tips

Here are helpful tips to aid you when using this gingerbread cupcakes recipe.

  • Bring your butter, eggs and cream cheese to room temperature before you begin. Ingredients blend together so much better when they are at the same temperature.
  • Remember that all ovens vary and the cooking times are approximate. I recommend you keep an eye on your cakes a few minutes before the timer beeps, just in case.
  • Use foil cupcake cases instead of paper. They tend to withstand any grease seepage far better.
  • Let your cakes cool completely before attempting to decorate. Cream cheese frosting is delicate already, without throwing warm cakes into the mix.
  • Allow time to chill your cream cheese frosting before you decorate. This helps with with stability and it will be more likely to hold it’s shape.
  • Cupcakes domed in the middle? Don’t worry! Simply slice off the tops to create a flat surface for decorating. (I like to eat these in a bowl with any spare frosting hehehehe!)
A flat lay view of a mixture of iced and non iced gingerbread cupcakes on a decorative white board. There are mini gingerbread biscuits, gold baubles, more cupcakes and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Gingerbread Cupcakes – Step by Step Picture Recipe

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

Please note the chilling time in this recipe before you begin!

Ingredients

Here is what you will need to make 14-16 cupcakes.

For the cake

  • 280g (1 + 1/3 Cups + 1 tbsp) Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 80g (1/3 Cup) Unsalted Butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 240g (2 Cups) Plain/All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 240ml (1 Cup) Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract or Paste
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature

For the cream cheese frosting

Needs chilling for 1 hour

  • 100g (1/2 Cup) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 220g (1 + 3/4 Cup) Full Fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 550g (4 + 1/2 Cups) Icing/Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract or Paste
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Essential equipment

  • Cupcake/Muffin Pan
  • 14-16 Foil Cupcake Cases
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl and Electric Hand Whisk
  • Jug
  • Cooling Rack
  • Piping Bag
  • 3M Open Star Piping Nozzle (affiliate link)

Cake instructions

Preheat your oven to 170ºC/Fan 160ºC/338ºF and line your cupcake pan with foil cases. Then add the dark muscovado sugar (280g | 1 + 1/3 Cups + 1 tbsp) into the bowl of your electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – and beat to break up any large lumps.

Dark muscovado sugar in a large silver bowl on a kitchen worktop.

Next, add in the cubed unsalted butter (80g | 1/3 Cup), flour (240g | 2 Cups), baking powder (1 tbsp), ground ginger (2 tsp), ground cinnamon (1 tsp), ground nutmeg (1/2 tsp) and salt (1/4 tsp). Beat slowly to start with, then gradually increase the speed to medium. Mix until it becomes sandy in consistency.

Dark muscovado sugar, cubed butter, flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large silver bowl on a kitchen worktop.
The dry ingredients of gingerbread cupcakes mixed together in a large silver bowl on a kitchen worktop.

Then mix together the milk (240ml | 1 Cup), vanilla (1 tsp) and eggs (x 2) in a jug until blended.

Milk, egg and vanilla mixed together in a jug with a fork in it. Set on a kitchen worktop.

Pour half the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. You may need to scrape down the bowl once or twice.

Gingerbread cupcake batter (with half the wet ingredients added) in a large silver bowl on a kitchen worktop.

Then add the remaining wet ingredients into the bowl and beat again until smooth. You may need to scrape down the bowl once or twice again.

Gingerbread cupcake batter in a large silver bowl with a spatula inside. Set on a kitchen worktop.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases to about two thirds full.

12 unbaked gingerbread cupcakes in a muffin tin set on a kitchen worktop.

Then bake in your preheated oven for approximately 15-17 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

12 gingerbread cupcakes in a muffin tin set on a kitchen worktop.

As soon as you can handle the heat, transfer your cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely while you make the frosting.

12 gingerbread cupcakes cooling on a wire rack on a kitchen worktop.

Cream cheese frosting layer instructions

In a (clean) bowl of an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – beat together the butter (100g | 1/2 Cup) and cream cheese (220g | 1 + 3/4 Cup) until smooth.

Butter and cream cheese creamed together in a large silver bowl. Set on a kitchen worktop.

Next, add the icing sugar (550g | 4 + 1/2 Cups) to the mixture in thirds and, after each addition, beat until smooth.

Cream cheese frosting without flavourings in a large silver bowl. Set on a kitchen worktop.

Then add in the vanilla (1 tsp) and cinnamon (1 tsp) and beat on a medium speed for a few minutes until it’s thick and smooth.

Cream cheese frosting and vanilla/cinnamon in a large silver bowl with a spatula. Set on a kitchen worktop.
Cinnamon cream cheese frosting in a large silver bowl with a spatula. Set on a kitchen worktop.

Chill your cream cheese frosting for at least 1 hour before using to decorate your gingerbread cupcakes.

Decorating instructions

Load a piping bag with a 3M open star nozzle (or similar) then fill with your chilled cream cheese frosting.

Moving from the outside in, pipe swirls on top of each cupcake. Finish with a mini gingerbread biscuit if you wish.

A round cooling rack topped with gingerbread cupcakes, one is being iced with cream cheese frosting. There are mini gingerbread biscuits, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

How to store gingerbread cupcakes

Usually I say a HUGE no to storing cake in the fridge as it will dry out faster. However, I recommend storing these gingerbread cupcakes in the fridge.

Cream cheese frosting has a delicate nature and these cupcakes are fairly moist. To sum up? These beauties can handle being in the fridge for a while.

Do note that any gingerbread biscuit decorations will go soft over time, as they are in direct contact with a ‘wet’ ingredient. Due to this, it’s best to top your cakes with them just before eating.

Consume your gingerbread cupcakes within 3-4 days.

A close up top down view of a mixture of iced and none iced gingerbread cupcakes on a cooling rack. There is a mini sieve filled with cinnamon, some books, mini gingerbread biscuits, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Does cream cheese frosting get hard?

It doesn’t go hard like royal icing but, if you place your cream cheese frosting into the fridge for a while, it should firm up. If it doesn’t, there may be something wrong with the mixture itself.

Once piped onto your cakes, if you store them in the fridge, the outer layer will form a sort of crust which also helps to keep it in shape.

A mixture of iced and none iced gingerbread cupcakes on a round cooling rack. There are some mini gingerbread biscuits, gold baubles, books and a light brown linen napkin in the backlground. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Why is my cream cheese frosting so loose?

Cream cheese frosting can be quite loose compared to buttercream frosting. This could be for a few reasons. You may not have chilled it for long enough (this helps to firm it up) or you may have got the balance of ingredients wrong.

You could also have softened your butter a little too much. It shouldn’t be so soft it appears oily – around 30-45 mins on the kitchen side should do.

A top down view of iced and none iced gingerbread cupcakes in a muffin pan on a decorative white board. There's some mini gingerbread biscuits, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

How do you stiffen cream cheese frosting?

Cream cheese frosting is a delicate creature. It can often seem quite loose or runny. Try chilling it for an hour first, this should work.

Failing that, you can try adding more icing sugar (although be aware this could make it too sweet) or add a little meringue powder (affiliate link) to stiffen it up.

A close up of a gingerbread cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting and a gingerbread star. Set on a cooling rack with more cupcakes, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

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A close up of a gingerbread cupcake topped with a gingerbread biscuit snowflake on a cooling rack being sprinkled with extra cinnamon. There are more cupcakes, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop. A text overlay says "how to make gingerbread cupcakes"

Have you made this recipe?

Have you made these gorgeous gingerbread cupakes? I’d love to know if you have! Send me your pics, comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email me at emma@kitchenmason.com.

A top down view of some unbaked gingerbread cupcakes in a muffin pan with some gold baubles, cupcake cases and mini gingerbread biscuits scattered around in the background with a light brown linen napkin. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Like baking to be as simple as possible?

You need the right equipment! Check out my favourite Products That Make Baking Easier! (Affiliate link)

A flat lay view of a hand reaching into a mixture of iced and non iced gingerbread cupcakes on a decorative white board. There are mini gingerbread biscuits, gold baubles, more cupcakes, a muffin pan and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.
A close up of a gingerbread cupcake topped with a gingerbread biscuit snowflake on a cooling rack being sprinkled with extra cinnamon. There are more cupcakes, gold baubles and a light brown linen napkin in the background. Set on a cool grey wood effect backdrop.

Easy Gingerbread Cupcakes - Printable Recipe

Yield: 14-16
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These easy gingerbread cupcakes are the perfect Christmas treat on a cold Winter's day! Filled with comforting, warming festive spices.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 280g (1 + 1/3 Cups + 1 tbsp) Dark Muscovado Sugar
  • 80g (1/3 Cup) Unsalted Butter, cubed and room temperature
  • 240g (2 Cups) Plain/All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 240ml (1 Cup) Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract or Paste
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 100g (1/2 Cup) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 220g (1 + 3/4 Cup) Full Fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 550g (4 + 1/2 Cups) Icing/Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract or Paste
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Essential equipment

  • Cupcake/Muffin Pan
  • 14-16 Foil Cupcake Cases
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl and Electric Hand Whisk
  • Jug
  • Cooling Rack
  • Piping Bag
  • 3M Open Star Piping Nozzle

Instructions

For the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/Fan 160ºC/338ºF and line your cupcake pan with cases. Beat the muscovado sugar in a stand mixer (or large bowl with an electric hand whisk) until no large lumps remain.
  1. Add the butter, flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Beat until sandy in consistency.
  2. In a jug, mix together the milk, vanilla and eggs.
  3. Pour half the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix until smooth again. You may need to scrape down the bowl.
  5. Add the batter into the cases to two thirds full. Bake for 15-17 mins until a skewer/knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the cream cheese frosting

  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese in an electric stand mixer (or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk) until smooth.
  2. Add the icing sugar in thirds, beating until smooth after each addition.
  3. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and beat on medium speed for a few minutes until thick and smooth. Chill for 1 hour before using.

To decorate

  1. Load a piping bag with a 3M open star nozzle and fill with the cream cheese frosting. Pipe swirls on each cupcake and top with a homemade mini gingerbread biscuit.

Notes

PLEASE NOTE - the cream cheese frosting will need chilling for 1 hour before using.

Store your cupcakes in the fridge and consume within 3-4 days.

See the main post for a more detailed, step by step picture recipe.

Be sure to read the recipe tips section for lots of helpful information before you begin making this recipe.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 407Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 189mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 1gSugar: 53gProtein: 4g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment on the blog or tag me on Instagram.

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Abigail

Sunday 19th of December 2021

I made these for my staff Christmas party and they disappeared so quickly!! Such a yummy treat - thanks for the great recipe

Emma

Sunday 19th of December 2021

I’m so happy you enjoyed my recipe Abigail!! Thank you for sharing this with me, you’ve made my day :) Emma x

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