Gingerbread Cupcakes Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
Satisfy your sweet tooth with our homemade gingerbread cupcakes with maple frosting, featuring the perfect blend of spices and sweetness.

Updated: Jun. 24, 2024

Looking for a delicious dessert recipe for the festive season? Try our homemade gingerbread cupcakes with maple frosting. Between the spicy aroma of ginger and cinnamon, the rich sweetness of maple syrup frosting and the moist, molasses-packed cupcake mix, there’s no topping this decadent treat.

Whether you’re gearing up for a holiday gathering or simply craving a taste of seasonal cheer, these cupcakes are sure to hit the spot. For an extra-special presentation, add candied ginger as a garnish.

Ingredients for Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • Butter: Proper cupcakes start by creaming together butter and sugar. This step also helps the dry ingredients mix into the batter better. You’ll want softened butter so it creams easier.
  • Packed brown sugar: The other essential ingredient for creaming.
  • Egg: An egg acts as a binder for this mix and helps give the cupcakes a fluffy, light-as-air texture.
  • Water: It is the main activator for baking soda here and adds volume to the cupcakes as they bake.
  • Molasses: Molasses and gingerbread go hand in hand taste-wise and give these cupcakes a sweet spiced flavor.
  • Dry ingredients: For the dry ingredients, you’ll also need all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda for this batter.
  • Spices: Warming spices like ground ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice are the secret to the best-ever gingerbread cupcakes, plus they’ll make your kitchen smell heavenly while they’re baking away.

Maple Frosting

  • Butter: The base of a sinfully sweet frosting recipe begins with butter. You’ll want softened butter for this recipe, not cold, so it creams together easily with the sugar.
  • Cream cheese: We also employed cream cheese for a tangy, creamy frosting with the most delicious flavor.
  • Sugar: You can’t have frosting without sugar. We like brown sugar here for its deep, caramel-like taste.
  • Maple syrup: Maple syrup is the showstopping star of this frosting recipe that pairs so well with gingerbread cupcakes.
  • Vanilla extract: For complexity and umami, a dash of vanilla extra goes a long way.

Directions

Step 1: Make the creamed mixture 

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then, beat in the egg, followed by water and molasses. Keep beating until well combined.

Step 2: Add the dry ingredients 

Next, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and allspice and add them to the creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until combined, then beat on medium for two more minutes.

Step 3: Bake the cupcakes 

Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 4: Make the frosting 

Cream the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. 

Step 5: Frost the cupcakes 

Frost each cupcake with a piping bag (or a plastic bag with a corner snipped off to create a tip). Transfer them to the refrigerator to cool and let the icing set.

Gingerbread Cupcake Variations

  • Switch up the frosting: Instead of maple frosting, try our easy recipes for cream cheese frosting, orange buttercream frosting or caramel frosting.
  • Add a filling: The only thing better than gingerbread cupcakes are cupcakes filled with a sweet surprise inside! Eggnog filling, molasses ganache filling or a molten chocolate filling would all be delicious ideas.
  • Make them mini: Adults and kids alike love bite-sized desserts! So fill miniature liners and cupcake cups instead of the regular size to create tiny treats for little hands. 
  • Garnish with candy: Candied ginger or citrus peels that is, which are the perfect flavor pairing for warm, spiced gingerbread cupcakes.

How to Store Gingerbread Cupcakes

To prevent your cupcakes from drying out, place toothpicks inside the remaining cupcakes, tent the tray with tin foil or plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. The picks will keep the frosting from smudging and sticking to the cover. 

Alternatively, there are many individual cupcake holders you can transfer leftovers to, for school lunches, afternoon snacks and on-the-go treats. 

How long do gingerbread cupcakes last?

Unfrosted gingerbread cupcakes can last up to seven days on your kitchen counter and stored in sealed, airtight containers. If they have an icing or frosting with dairy, you’re looking at two to three days tops.

Can you freeze gingerbread cupcakes?

Yes! Just like gingerbread cake, these cupcakes will hold up well if unfrosted and placed in the freezer for up to three months.

Gingerbread Cupcake Tips

What is the best cupcake liner to use?

Foil, silicone and paper liners all work for this recipe. Use what you have, unless you’re looking for decorative cupcake liners to fit a certain theme.

How do I keep my cupcakes from sinking?

Baking is the opposite of cooking in that you must carefully measure each ingredient and follow the instructions to a T, instead of winging it. One minor mistake and your cupcakes could fall flat. 

It’s also important to fully whip the butter and sugar to get enough air into the mixture before moving on to the next step. This will give you fluffy light cupcakes instead of deflated ones. 

Lastly, don’t overfill your cups, stop right before the top of the liner or the cupcakes can lose their lift halfway through the baking process. 

Gingerbread Cupcakes

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 1 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • MAPLE FROSTING:
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Beat in water and molasses. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and allspice; add to the creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until combined. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
  2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. For frosting, in a small bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Frost cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts

1 each: 325 calories, 14g fat (9g saturated fat), 54mg cholesterol, 293mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate (34g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.

The robust ginger flavor of these cupcakes is mellowed by the maple frosting's sweetness. The combination is pure heaven! For an extra-special presentation, add candied ginger as a garnish. —Nancy Beckman, Helena, Montana
Recipe Creator