These Gingerbread cupcakes are so fluffy, moist and easy to make. They are spiced with warm seasonal spices like ginger and cinnamon and topped with a sweet caramel buttercream. They are the perfect festive holiday cupcakes to make for any party or get together, everyone will love them!
As far as holiday dessert recipes go, gingerbread is my all time favorite flavor to bake. The way it makes the house smell all cozy and delicious, it gets me every time! As a trained pastry chef who has made a ton of cupcake recipes in the past, I figured it was time to make gingerbread cupcakes!
These gingerbread cupcakes are spiced with ground ginger, cinnamon, and un-sulfured molasses. You could also put in allspice and nutmeg but I prefer to leave them out. The cupcake is super fluffy and moist and is topped with a sweet homemade caramel buttercream frosting. These cupcakes would also go really well frosted with a cream cheese frosting. To take these over the top you can then drizzle a maple glaze over the frosting.
Why you should make this recipe
- They are super easy to make and take only 18 minutes to bake.
- Gingerbread is one of the best holiday cake flavors.
- The cupcake is super fluffy and moist.
- This recipe makes 12 perfect gingerbread cupcakes.
- Unsalted butter- unsalted butter is used to control the amount of salt. It also has to be at room temperature. Learn how to soften butter quickly if you forgot to leave it out beforehand.
- Brown Sugar– Brown sugar adds sweetness and more moisture than white sugar does because of its added molasses.
- Vegetable Oil– This helps with the structure.
- Eggs– Eggs bind and help with the structure of the cupcake
- Vanilla Extract- Just a tiny bit of vanilla is used to add more flavor.
- All Purpose Flour– Flour is the bulk of the cupcake.
- Ground Cinnamon– Cinnamon adds a warm fall flavor.
- Ground Ginger– Ginger adds to the gingerbread flavor.
- Baking Powder– Baking powder helps the cupcakes rise.
- Baking Soda– Baking soda also helps the cupcakes rise when there is an acidic ingredient like brown sugar and buttermilk.
- Kosher Salt– Salt brings out the flavor.
- Molasses– You want to use un-sulfured molasses. This is the kind you will find in the baking aisle. Do not use or buy blackstrap molasses- it’s too thick and bitter.
- Buttermilk– Buttermilk adds moisture to the cupcakes.
- Caramel Buttercream – I top these with caramel buttercream but you can use any kind of buttercream you like!
Type of Molasses
There are two kinds of molasses out there- un-sulfured and black strap. You want to buy the un-sulfured kind, I usually buy the brand Grandma’s.
Un-sulfured molasses is the kind you will find in the baking aisle of every grocery store. It is usually harder to find blackstrap so don’t get worried that you accidentally bought the wrong thing. Blackstrap usually has a huge text on it that says BLACKSTRAP so it’s hard to miss!
Blackstrap is not used for baking because it’s too bitter and more commonly used in barbecue recipes.
How to make gingerbread cupcakes
Cream- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using an electric mixer, add the softened butter and brown sugar to the bowl and mix on medium speed for about two minutes until creamy. Add in the vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix again for 1 minute.
Dry Ingredients- In a small bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Lightly mix to combine.
Wet Ingredients- In a liquid measuring cup add the buttermilk and molasses and give it a stir.
Alternate- Alternate adding 1/3 of dry ingredients with half of the wet ingredients starting and ending with the dry ingredients mixing in between each addition. This gives the batter time to absorb all the flour without weighing it down.
Frost– Frost the cupcakes with caramel buttercream.
I like to use a piping bag and a large star tip to pipe the frosting on top of the cupcake. You can then either top it with a cute gingerbread man or even cookie crumbles like I did here. Another thing you can do is add a cinnamon stick for pretty factor.
Storage and freezing Instructions
Storage– The cupcakes don’t need to be kept in the refrigerator. They will keep best at room temperature in a cake dome or airtight container for 3-5 days.
Freezing– Freeze the cupcakes unfrosted. Lay them in a freezer safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Frost them the day you are serving them.
- Measure the flour correctly using a kitchen scale. Otherwise you can spoon flour into a measuring cup and level it off. Don’t scoop your flour with your measuring cup or it will pack too much flour and you will end up with dense cupcakes.
- You can add 1/4-1/2 tsp of allspice or cloves to the dry ingredients. I just prefer leaving them out.
- Fill the liners up to 3/4 of the way full. Any more than that and they will overflow in the oven.
What makes these cupcakes so moist?
Using brown sugar instead of white and buttermilk instead of regular milk make these gingerbread cupcakes super moist. Brown sugar has molasses added in so it naturally has more moisture than white sugar, and buttermilk has more acid than regular milk which reacts with the baking soda to make it super moist!
What makes cupcakes so fluffy?
A few things contribute to how fluffy a cupcake is. First it’s the way you mix the ingredients. By creaming the butter and sugar together first, you add a lot of air to the butter so that it bakes up light and fluffy. When you alternate the dry and wet ingredients it gives the batter time to absorb the ingredients instead of dumping it all in. Making sure to not over mix and bake on the right temperature also helps with fluffy cupcakes!
Can I use regular milk?
You can but then they wont be as moist. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tsp lemon juice to the buttermilk and let it sit for a minute.
Easy and Fluffy Gingerbread Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (113g)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (105g)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour (165g)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup molasses un-sulfured
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar and cream on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 egg, 2 egg whites, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Mix again for 1 minute on medium speed.
- In a small bowl combine the 1 1/3rd cup flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Whisk lightly to combine.
- In a liquid measuring cup add the 1/4 cup molasses and 1/3 cup buttermilk and give it a stir. Set aside.
- Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix on low-medium until combined. Next add in 1/2 of the wet ingredients and mix again. Alternate the rest of the dry and wet ingredients mixing in between each addition ending with the flour. Mix for 30 seconds more to combine.
- Fill the cupcake liners up to 3/4 of the way full but no more than that otherwise they will overflow. Bake for 18 mins.
- Cool on a wire rack and frost with caramel buttercream.