Soft Gingerbread Cupcakes (with spiced cream cheese frosting)

These deliciously soft gingerbread cupcakes are made with buttermilk and have the flavors of molasses, warm spices and a smooth, spiced cream cheese frosting. To make these cupcakes extra cute, top them with little gingerbread men using the recipe from Love and Lemons for Gingerbread Cookies. You can also top the cupcakes with store bought gingerbread men cookies or other holiday cookie cutouts. These cupcakes are a lot of fun for kids with the little gingerbread men “swimming in the frosting” as my four year old put it. If you love holiday baking, you may also enjoy Molasses cookies, Holiday themed Amish sugar cookie whoopie pies or Amish chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting.

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Soft Gingerbread cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting

Soft Gingerbread Cupcakes (with spiced cream cheese frosting)

marilynpeight
These cupcakes bring the delicious flavors of molasses, warm spices and spiced cream cheese frosting together into one melt-in-your mouth treat! These cupcakes are perfect for the holidays, but also lots of fun to make with kids anytime of the year.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 2.5 dozen

Equipment

  • Regular sized muffin tins (linked below)
  • Cupcake liners (linked below)
  • Mixing bowls (linked below)
  • Whisk (linked below)

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups all purpose flour, leveled. unbleached
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk *see note
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses I use "Grandma's Molasses"
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water

For the Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 6 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg remove any clumps or sift
  • 5-6 cups confectioner's sugar sifted

For the gingerbread men toppers:

  • 1/2 batch of Gingerbread Cookies or 30-32 store bought gingerbread cookies. Cut with small gingerbread man cookie cutters (around 2 inches tall) and decorated with white cookie icing.

Instructions
 

Preheat oven to 350:

  • Whisk the flour and spices together in a medium sized mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then whisk in the eggs, buttermilk and molasses (some separation of the butter may occur if the eggs and buttermilk are cold, but don't worry, this comes together again when mixed into the flour and spices).
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients just until mixed, then dissolve baking soda into 1/4 cup of boiling water. Mix the soda water into the cupcake batter last (be careful not to overmix the cupcake batter for softer cupcakes). Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with cupcake batter.
  • Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out dry. Allow the cupcakes to cool.

For the Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Using a hand mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and spices until smooth. Add confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time, until the cream cheese frosting is smooth and thick enough to pipe onto cupcakes (stiff peaks should form when the hand mixer attachment is lifted from the frosting). If the frosting is too thick, you can add a teaspoon or two of milk to loosen it back up.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the gingerbread cupcakes and then garnish with small gingerbread men and a dusting of cinnamon (optional). Enjoy! Storage notes below.

Notes

The cupcake batter should feel smooth and silky. If the batter feels too stiff, another tablespoon or two of buttermilk can be added. 
For best and fluffiest cupcakes, be sure to use fresh ingredients, especially fresh buttermilk and baking soda.
Additional notes and step by step photos below. 
Keyword Gingerbread cupcakes, spiced cream cheese frosing, soft, holiday cupcakes, with gingerbread men
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Equipment needed for these gingerbread cupcakes:

  • Regular sized muffin tins You will need 2, one dozen capacity muffin tins and 1, 1/2 dozen capacity muffin tin. The cupcakes can also be baked in batches if needed.
  • Cupcake liners Cupcake liners are needed for easier removal of the cupcakes from the muffin tins once they have baked.
  • Mixing bowls Several mixing bowls are needed for these gingerbread cupcakes. I like to use a medium sized mixing bowl for combining the dry ingredients and smaller mixing bowls for combining the wet ingredients and for mixing the cream cheese frosting.
  • Whisk A whisk is needed to combine the wet and dry ingredients to get the cupcake batter to a smooth, lump free consistency.

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Ingredients needed for these gingerbread cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting: buttermilk, molasses, sugar, all purpose flour, butter, cream cheese, eggs, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, ginger, cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar.

Buttermilk substitution:

My favorite buttermilk substitution (so far) is a combination of whole milk and plain Greek yogurt. To make this buttermilk substitute, combine 2/3 cup of whole milk with 1/3 cup of plain yogurt. This method takes no extra time for fermentation and still gives you the fluffy results that buttermilk gives in baked goods.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350, then whisk the flour and spices together in a medium sized mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then whisk in the eggs, buttermilk and molasses (some separation of the butter may occur if the eggs and buttermilk are cold. But don’t worry, this comes together again when mixed into the flour and spices).

Step 2: Combine the wet and dry ingredients just until mixed, then dissolve baking soda into 1/4 cup of boiling water. Mix the soda water into the cupcake batter last (be careful not to overmix the cupcake batter for softer cupcakes). Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full of cupcake batter.

Why should the baking soda be dissolved in water before being added to this cupcake batter?

Dissolving the baking soda into hot water helps to kick start the carbonation and also helps to more evenly disperse the baking soda into the cupcake batter. Be sure to add the baking soda and hot water solution at the very end, then bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven as soon as possible to get the best rise on the cupcakes.

Step 3: Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out dry. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

For the cream cheese frosting: Using a hand mixer, combine the softened cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and spices until smooth. Add confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, until the cream cheese frosting is smooth and thick enough to pipe onto cupcakes (stiff peaks should form when the hand mixer attachment is lifted from the frosting). If the frosting is too thick, you can add a teaspoon or two of milk to loosen it back up.

Pipe the frosting onto the gingerbread cupcakes and then garnish with small gingerbread men and a dusting of cinnamon (optional). Enjoy!

Storage for these gingerbread cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting:

Because these cupcakes are made with cream cheese frosting, it is best to keep them refrigerated for longer term storage (5-7 days). I prefer to allow mine to come back to room temperature for 30-60 minutes before enjoying, simply because the cupcakes will stiffen in the refrigerator. You can also freeze these cupcakes in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Feel free to pin this recipe for later and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram to show off a photo of your own creation of these gingerbread cupcakes. Thank you for your support!

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