These gingerbread cupcakes are so soft and fluffy and perfectly spiced with cinnamon and ginger. They’re frosted with the BEST toasted marshmallow cream cheese frosting and will be perfect for every holiday get together.
I’ve been testing gingerbread cupcakes for a few years now. Every year I thought they were “good enough to eat” so I always served them at my holiday parties but they were never “good enough to post”.
So this year I was on a mission to make the BEST gingerbread cupcake I’ve ever made! Here she is. I don’t like molasses so I didn’t use any but I did use dark brown sugar to give it that nostalgic hint of molasses flavor.
Why you’ll love these gingerbread cupcakes
- My gingerbread cupcakes have the perfect blend of dark brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger.
- They’re super easy to make and pretty versatile. If you want a simple cream cheese frosting, simply just skip the marshmallow steps.
- The cupcakes can be made with dairy free and gluten-free alternatives as well.
- The cupcakes and the frosting can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and just stored in the fridge or the freezer.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- Butter: I like to use salted butter for my cakes and unsalted butter for my buttercreams.
- You can also use unsalted butter for the cakes, just add an extra ¼ tsp of salt to every cup of butter used.
- Oil: any neutral oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, etc. will work.
- Sugar: I used just dark brown sugar in my cupcakes to give it that molasses flavor. I really am not a fan of using molasses in recipes so I recommend the dark brown sugar but if you only have light brown, that’ll work too. I don’t recommend reducing the amount as it will alter the texture as well as the flavor.
- Vanilla: I use extract in this recipe but vanilla bean paste would be even more elevated, especially in the frosting.
- Eggs: always use large, room temperature eggs. Place them in hot water for 5-10 minutes if they’re cold.
- I use one whole egg here but this cupcake recipe also works great with two egg whites if you have some lying around.
- Flour: I usually use all-purpose flour for cakes but cupcakes are a different story. I use cake flour for most cupcakes because it is a game changer.
- Baking Powder: can sub for baking ½ tsp baking soda if you don’t have baking powder.
- Salt: salt brings out the flavor in all baked goods.
- Sour Cream: I use sour cream in almost all my cake and cupcake recipes. It brings and holds a lot of moisture into the cake. Plain greek yogurt or unsweetened regular yogurt also works.
- Milk: any fat percentage of milk works, even plant based milk works.
- Cream Cheese: I always recommend Philadelphia full-fat cream cheese and make sure to bring it to room temperature
- Powdered sugar: For the frosting – the amount can vary. The frosting is sweet so feel free to use a little less here if you want but it will make the frosting softer so you’ll need to refrigerate it longer before using it.
- Marshmallows: I tested this with marshmallows and marshmallow fluff and both work great. I used 15 large marshmallows in this frosting. It’s kind of a lot but we need that stronger flavor – will make the frosting soft for a little but nothing the fridge can’t fix.
STEP 1: Make the gingerbread cupcakes by beating the oil with the dry ingredients.
STEP 2: Add the egg and vanilla and beat until they’re fully incorporated.
STEP 3: Add the sour cream and milk and mix until they’re combined.
STEP 4: Scoop cupcake batter into 12 lined cupcake tins – they should be ⅔-¾ full, about 50 grams of batter.
STEP 5: Bake for 18ish minutes, until they’re puffed and no longer wet on top and the center springs back when you press on it .
STEP 1: Cream the butter with an electric mixer at full speed until it’s pale and creamy.
STEP 2: Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed just until it comes together. Scrape the edge of the bowl and increase to high speed for a few minutes until the frosting is smooth.
STEP 3: Place the marshmallows in a plate and microwave for 30-60 seconds, until they’re puffed up. Remove from the microwave and use a kitchen torch to toast the top.
If you don’t have a torch, skip the microwaving and place them on a small cookie sheet and broil in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Remove and allow them to cool for just 1 minute or two. You want them to still be soft and melty inside but not piping hot.
STEP 4: Add the vanilla and slightly cooled marshmallows to the frosting. Mix until it’s completely smooth. Refrigerate the frosting for about 15-30 minutes to firm up a little.
STEP 1: Use a large round tip to pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
STEP 2: Top with a large marshmallow or several mini ones and toast the top with a torch.
Again, you can do this in the oven but let it cool a little before placing it on top of the cupcake. This way will melt the inside of the marshmallow so it may shrivel up a little.
How to decorate gingerbread cupcakes
I think this is the only gingerbread cupcake on the internet to not decorate with a gingerbread cookie. Lol, truthfully that is very cute but I was FAR too lazy to make little gingerbread men… then after I did this, I found the cutest gingerbread dehydrated marshmallows at the store.
So I topped half of them with marshmallows – 1 large or several small – and toasted them. The other half, I painted truffles with gold and silver luster dust to resemble ornaments. Not sure they really do but I like them lol.
Expert Tips On Getting Perfect Cupcakes
There’s a few things that can make it or break it with these cupcakes.
- Don’t swap ingredients unless I mentioned them in the ingredient section above.
- Don’t reduce the sugar. I know a lot of people do that for some recipes but it alters the texture not just the flavor.
- Weigh your ingredients with a digital scale
- Weigh the batter for each cupcake with a digital scale. I just place the cupcake pan on the scale with the liners and measure out 50-55 grams for each cupcake (or 45 grams if you’re using a truffle in the center).
- Use a light colored stainless steel muffin tin for a more even bake.
- If you pipe a large dollop of frosting on top (more than I did) you may need to make a little more, read the FAQ section for adjusting frosting quantity!
Frequently Asked Questions
My secret to perfect cupcakes is my digital scale! If you overfill or underfill the muffin pans you may get a cupcake with a muffin top or a shriveled sunken cupcake but if you weigh them, you’ll get it right each time.
Each cupcake should hold 50-55 grams of batter. There might be just a little leftover batter (not enough for another cupcake), DO NOT be tempted to squeeze it all in. Just lick the spatula and call it a day!
You can use dairy free butter, dairy free milk/cream cheese to make these cupcakes.
I have not tested my cupcake recipes but all my cake recipes work well with a 1:1 gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur Flour.
These cupcakes shrivel when they’re overfilled or when the ingredients aren’t all at room temperature or not mixed properly. I highly recommend a digital scale for measuring out your ingredients and measuring out the batter in each tin.
The cupcakes are done baking when they no longer look wet. Browning won’t help because the cupcakes are already dark to start with so make sure to test it by gently pressing on the tallest area of the cupcake and if it springs back, it’s done. If it feels wet and stays pressed in, give it another few minutes before testing again.
How to serve and store gingerbread cupcakes
Serve the cupcakes fresh or refrigerate them. Make sure to cover the cupcakes with a cake dome or store them in an airtight container for up to a week.
To freeze, place them in an airtight container and then place the container in an airtight bag. Thaw at room temperature or in the fridge before serving.
If you make these gingerbread cupcakes, I would love it if you left me a review or a star rating!
As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!
Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe
- 1-2 Muffin Pan
- 1 1/4 cup (143g) cake flour spooned and leveled (All-purpose also works)
- 1 cup (200g) dark brown sugar lightly packed
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- tiny pinch ground black pepper *optional
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup (120mL) canola oil
- 1 large egg 60g, room temperature (or 2 large egg whites if you want whiter cupcakes)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (56g) sour cream
- 1/4 cup (56mL) whole milk room temperature
Toasted Marshmallow Frosting
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese room temperature
- 4 cups (480g) powdered sugar spooned and leveled
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 15 large marshmallows or about 3 oz of fluff
- Preheat the oven to 325F (163C)and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, salt and sugar until they're evenly distributed (whisk well).1 1/4 cup (143g) cake flour, 1 cup (200g) dark brown sugar, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp fine sea salt, tiny pinch ground black pepper
- Add the oil to the dry ingredients and beat together until they're combined.1/2 cup (120mL) canola oil
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until they're fully combined.1 large egg, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Add the sour cream and turn the mixer to low speed, while streaming the milk in. Scrape the edge of the bowl and mix just until the cupcake batter is smooth.1/4 cup (56g) sour cream, 1/4 cup (56mL) whole milk
- Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3-3/4 full, about 50 grams of batter per cupcake.
- Bake for 20 minutes. They are done when you press on the center of the cupcake and it springs back or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove them from the oven and let them cool in the cupcake pan for 10 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Toasted Marshmallow Frosting
- Place the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to beat at full speed for 1-2 minutes, just until they're fully combined. Make sure to scrape the edge of the bowl every so often.1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, 8 oz (1 brick) cream cheese
- Add the powdered sugar, salt and vanilla and turn the mixer on to low speed, just until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Then turn the speed up to high for 2-3 minutes.4 cups (480g) powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- Place the marshmallows on a plate and microwave for 30-60 seconds, or until they're puffy and melted. Use a kitchen torch to toast the top and then let them cool for 1-2 minutes. This can also be done in the oven, just place the marshmallows on a small baking tray and broil for 3-5 minutes until they're puffed and a little charred.15 large marshmallows
- Add half of the marshmallows and mix just until they're combined. Add the other half of the marshmallows, mixing just until the marshmallows are combined into the buttercream. The buttercream will be too soft to frost with, so refrigerate it for 15-30 minutes before frosting.
- Pipe a large round layer of frosting onto each cupcake and decorate with toasted marshmallows.
- *I weigh 50g of batter for each cupcake. If it’s less, they’ll be short and if it’s too much, they may sink.
- I recommend a light colored metal cupcake pan if you want the the vanilla cupcakes more uniform in color.
- Store in an airtight container, at room temperature for 2-3 days or refrigerated for 7-10 days or frozen for a few weeks.
- You may have some leftover frosting from this recipe.