Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses Frosting

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses Frosting

I think one of my biggest challenges if I ever became a professional cook would be consistency. One day I’ll make something and it’ll turn out quite yummy. But to my disappointment, the next time I make the exact same thing, it’s a flop. Same conditions, no additions, no edits……just different results. Bummer, right?

Unfortunately that was the case when I made these Gingerbread Cupcakes. Last year I made them for the holidays and I was smitten! They had a wonderful flavor and were super fluffy—-I just couldn’t wait to whip some out for this winter season.

I happily volunteered to make these cupcakes for a holiday party my sister recently hosted. I was true to the cupcake recipe and didn’t change a thing. But I did however take some liberties and switched the Cardamom Frosting for my take on a Spiced Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting.

As they were baking, the cuppies emitted a spicy, rich aroma and I just knew the frosting would be a wonderful match for them. Needless to say, expectations were high. But alas, this batch just fell short. The cake did have a great flavor–just as I remembered it but the texture was quite dry and dense. Yeah….I was bummed. The good news is the saving grace was the new frosting—slightly tangy from the cream cheese and deeply fragrant from the spices and molasses.

Golden cuppies before getting their frosting swirls…

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses FrostingDid you happen to catch the cute little gingerbread men sprinkles on top?? Courtesy of Barbara of Pauline’s Cake Decorating Supplies in San Jose, CA

This rendition of Gingerbread Cupcakes is definitely worth a “Do-Over“—especially since I know that they can be deliciously moist. But if for some strange reason I get the same “dry” results, I’ll just turn them into Gingerbread Cake Pops. Shhh! It’ll be our little secret. 🙂


Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses Frosting
Makes 12 Cupcakes

Gingerbread Cupcakes (from The Spice Kitchen: Everyday Cooking with Organic Spices)
8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
½ Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
½ Cup Molasses
1 Egg
½ Teaspoon Vanilla
½ Cup Boiling Water
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Teaspoon Dried Lemon Zest
¼ Teaspoon Salt

Spiced Molasses Frosting
10 Ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
¼ Cup Molasses
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3-4 Cups Confectioner Sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with paper cups.

Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses, egg, and vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together the boiling water and baking soda until dissolved. Stir the baking soda water into the molasses mixture.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, lemon zest, and salt into a small bowl. Whisk the flour mixture into the molasses mixture until the batter is combined.

Spoon the gingerbread batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of one or two of the cupcakes comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Place the gingerbread cupcakes on a rack to cool for 30 minutes.

While cupcakes are cooling, prepare frosting. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Mix in molasses, cinnamon, and cloves. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time. Continue adding sugar to desire consistency. Fill a piping bag with the frosting and pipe large swirls on top of the cupcakes.


14 thoughts on “Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Molasses Frosting

  1. Awww…I hate it when something I expect to turn out wonderful surprises me by going the opposite way. 😉 I’m sure the next batch will be perfect though. The frosting sounds divine.

  2. I have a problem with consistency too, really bad. I’ve been wanting to have friends over to cook for them, and want to make some of the dishes i’ve had success with, but i haven’t really had anyone over yet for fear that everything will be a total disaster!
    I think your cupcakes look great too, and awesome job with the piping. Can I ask what piping tip you used?

    1. Hey Roxan! I always hear food chefs say to not try out (experiment) food on family & friends but if we didn’t—who would eat it all? 🙂 If you do have some folks over, try serving something that you can make ahead—quiches, pot roast, etc. That way if something goes wrong, you have time to fix it 🙂

      For these cupcakes, I used a Wilton 1M as I’m partial to the large open-star tips for regular sized cuppies.


  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog. You are so pretty! I also used to be a Higher Education Administrator, LOL. With the cupcakes, they look delicious. If you want to try to keep them moist, replace some or all of the butter with oil and it will make a difference. Butter is great for flavor, but it gets hard in baked goods unless it’s warm. Oil doesn’t.

    1. Hello Ninette! Thank you for your kind words *blush*

      Yay for College Administrators! Which college did you work at before?

      I had considered the oil substitute, too. Perhaps next time I will split the batch and do one with butter and one with oil. If so, I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂


  4. You had me at gingerbread! These cupcakes are so pretty and the icing sounds fabulous. The little gingerbread man sprinkles are a great touch too!

  5. Yes!! I totally know how you feel about when you make somtehing again, and it’s not quite the same. 😦 They do look beautiful though! And the cake pops idea is a great way to fix the problem. 😀

    I love my gingerbread cupcake recipe, it’s based off of the famous warm ginger cake at Park Chow in SF. It has been pretty consistent for me so far, so let me know if you’d like to switch it up!

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