Gingerbread Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I've got to be honest. I'm not really a big fan of gingerbread. At least, I wasn't until I made these gingerbread cupcakes. I like the taste and smell of gingerbread and I like gingerbread lattes at Starbucks around the holidays and things like that, but I guess I don't like the usual hard gingerbread cookies. So I thought I'd try them in cupcake form!

I originally wanted to make these cupcakes because gingerbread is such a popular flavor during the Christmas season. But before I could make them, I saw several versions throughout the baking world and Pinterest. I decided I still wanted to do something gingerbread and thought about making whoopie pies. But then I saw some of those on Pinterest, too. So I went back to my original idea and made some cupcakes. 

I was really unsure about these cupcakes after I made them. I'm not sure why I thought, I'm not a huge fan of gingerbread and I don't know anything about spices, but yeah! I'll make my own gingerbread cupcake recipe! Something tasted off about the batter at first. I think I used too much nutmeg, so I adjusted that in my recipe. Also, I've never used molasses before, and I didn't know exactly how bad that stuff smells. Seriously, though. That stuff smells something fierce. Like, it may have just thrown off my sense of smell and taste buds for a day because I got tons of complements on the cupcakes. I felt better about them when people ate multiples in one sitting.

I did all of this in two days. The first day, I made the cupcakes and the cookie dough (which stayed in the fridge over night). The second day, I baked the cookies, made the frosting, frosting the cupcakes, and put the cookies on top.

gingerbread cupcakes
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup hot water
  • Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and preheat the oven to 350.
  • In a small/medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Carefully whisk them together.
  • In another medium sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine oil, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix well. 
  • Add eggs and mix until incorporated.
  • Next, add the molasses and mix well.
  • Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the hot water to the sugar mixture and mix until incorporated. Repeat with the second half of the dry ingredients and hot water.
  • Transfer the batter to the cupcake pans and fill each liner about 2/3 full.
  • I baked mine for 15 minutes and checked them. You may need to bake them for a few more minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into a cupcake and it comes out clean.

soft gingerbread cookies
For the gingerbread cookies on top of the cupcakes, I used this recipe by Bakerella, except I cut it in half. I just cut all the ingredients right in half. 
  • I originally wanted to make ginger bread cupcakes with a gingerbread cookie dough filling, but then I decided to just put a little ball of gingerbread cookie dough in the cupcakes before I put them in the oven. When the cupcakes came out of the oven and I tried one, I couldn't tell that there was a gingerbread cookie inside the cupcake at all. The cookie part was just slightly denser than the cake. So, it's really up to you if you want to add cookie dough to your cupcakes. They'll be tasty either way.
  • When I made the cookie dough and put it in the cupcakes, I still had a bunch left over. Usually, I think most people roll out gingerbread cookie dough pretty thin and cut out shapes, but I didn't have any Christmas cookie cutters. I kept the rest of the cookie dough in the refrigerator over night. (If you're doing all this in one day, I suggest leaving it in the fridge for a couple of hours.) The next day I rolled it into 1 inch balls and baked them for about 7-9 minutes on 350. 
  • When the cookies were cool, I frosted the cupcakes and set the cookies on top!
I love the way these cookies turned out. Instead of the usual hard and stiff gingerbread cookies, these were so, so soft. Mmm. They were delicious and the perfect size to go on top of cupcakes! A day or two after I made them and they'd been sitting on top of some frosting, they were even softer and almost cake-like.

maple cream cheese frosting
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1/4 cup (half a stick) butter, room temperature
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 cups powdered sugar
  • In a medium sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on medium high speed until smooth and creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, mix until incorporated, and scrape the bowl after each addition.
  • Add the maple syrup and mix well. You can test it at this point and decide if you want more maple syrup or not. I only used two tablespoons because I didn't want it to be too sugary, but most people ended up thinking it was just plain cream cheese frosting. 
    • I also considered buying some maple extract and using that instead of syrup. I've never used maple extract before, but it might add more of a maple flavor without adding more sugar.
  • If the frosting isn't thick enough, you can add more powdered sugar. I'd start by adding 1/2 a cup and going from there. If the frosting is too thin, add milk a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. 
  • Once the cookies (and of course, the cupcakes) are cool, frost away! 

These cupcakes have given me a completely new opinion about gingerbread. So if you're like I used to be and you don't really care for gingerbread, (or even if you do!) give these cupcakes a try and I'm sure you'll change your mind. :)


  1. These were truly fantastic. The spice in the gingerbread was a great compliment to the super delicious frosting. The frosting had maple syrup in it! Too much!

  2. I've never been a big fan of gingerbread either but these were DEVINE! Just wonderful! The photos are nice too.

    1. Thank you! They really changed my mind about gingerbread. :)

  3. Beautiful! Love that cookie on the top!

    1. Thanks! I love the cookie on top too!

  4. These look amazing Elizabeth! I've never made gingerbread anything...but these make me want to start! So cute with the cookie on top too.

    1. Thanks, Rachel! I had never made gingerbread anything before this either. It was fun to make something new! :)