Gingerbread Cupcakes are topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and Maple Candied Cranberries! Moist, fluffy, and so flavorful, these are a holiday classic! And the perfect crowd-pleasing holiday dessert recipe for your next party!
The Best Gingerbread Cupcakes
It’s the holiday season, and that means holiday flavors rule the world! Do you have a favorite? Is it eggnog… peppermint mocha… cranberry orange… gingerbread???
Me? I have deep affection for them all. But I LOVE gingerbread! I’m a total sucker for its intense flavor: the rich molasses, the perky spices, the deep and dark brown sugar flavor.
But my current FAVORITE way to consume gingerbread is in cupcake form! These delightfully moist gingerbread cupcakes are rich in flavor, perfectly moist, and topped with a not-too-sweet but oh-so-creamy cream cheese frosting!
And let’s not forget the maple candied cranberries! Which are equally stunning and delicious! And so darn easy. You literally just boil them in maple syrup, then toss them in a large bowl of sugar. But if you’re not a cranberry fan, you can totally just skip this step!
And if you want to be extra, you can even sprinkle the mascarpone frosting with cinnamon sugar! It adds a delightful crunch and makes the cupcakes themselves look almost too pretty to eat! Key emphasis on the word ALMOST! Because trust me, you will want to eat these!
I also added a mini gingerbread cookie star on top of each cupcake. I told you, I’m extra! But full disclosure: I didn’t bake these! I found them at the grocery store and they were just too cute to pass up! But if you can’t find them, just use your favorite gingerbread men recipe, but cut out stars instead!
Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success:
- As always, bring your eggs to room temperature! This takes about 30 minutes. This is also a great time to line a muffin tin with cupcakes liners and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. That way you’re ready to go when your batter is!
- While you won’t need an electric mixer or stand mixer to make the cupcake batter, you will need one to make the frosting. So be sure you have one handy before you begin this baking project!
- Don’t over mix your batter once you’ve added the flour mixture! This will cause dry cupcakes, and can even cause them to sink.
- To ensure your frosting is silky smooth, I suggest sorting your powdered sugar before adding it to the buttercream!
- No unsalted butter? You can use salted and just skip the salt called for in the recipe!
- If you want your cupcakes to look exactly like mine, scrape the frosting into a large piping bag fitted with an open star piping tip. Then simply swirl it on top of each cooled cupcake!
Want to make this into a gingerbread cake? While I haven’t tested this, it should work. I would suggest making it into a sheet cake, and baking for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. You’ll have plenty of frosting to cover the entire thing!
More Gingerbread Recipes:
- Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes
- Eggnog Frosted Gingerbread Cookies
- Gingerbread Oatmeal Cream Pies
- Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon (5 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 2 Tablespoons (10 grams) fresh ginger peeled and finely grated
- 3/4 cup (160 grams) dark brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs at room temperature 1
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsulphured molasses
- 1 Tablespoon (14 grams) canola oil
- 1/2 cup hot water freshly boiled
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 and 1/2 cups (397 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons orange juice
For the Maple Sugared Cranberries:
- 1/2 cup (227 grams) maple syrup
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) water
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, ground ginger, baking powder, ground cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and baking soda. Set aside until needed.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, fresh grated ginger, dark brown sugar, eggs, and molasses, and oil, whisking until very well combined, about 2 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
Finally, pour in the hot water and whisk until combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared paper liners, filling each one about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean.
Cool in the pan, place on top of a wire cooling rack, for 15 minutes before carefully transferring the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating well after each addition. Add in the salt and orange juice and beat smooth.
Once all of the ingredients have been incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes.
If the frosting appears too thick, add a little more orange juice; and if the frosting appears too thin, add a little more confectioners’ sugar.
Scrape the frosting into a large piping bag fitted with an open star tip and pipe on top of cooled cupcakes.
For the Maple Sugared Cranberries:
In a medium-saucepan, combine the maple syrup and the water. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
Add in the cranberries and bring mixture back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cranberries and transfer them to a wire cooling rack.
Allow cranberries to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, OR until still slightly tacky to the touch. This could happen sooner, so check at 15 minutes.
Add the granulated sugar to a wide, shallow bowl. Add a few cranberries at a time, and roll them in the sugar until they’re completely coated on all sides.
Transfer the cranberries back to the wire rack. Repeat with all the cranberries. Leave to dry at room temperature for 2 hours before using.