These adorable brown butter gingerbread cupcakes are topped with a maple cream cheese frosting and mini gingerbread cookies for the perfect Christmas dessert!
Why You'll Love These Cupcakes!
- Maple cream cheese frosting- The light, fluffy frosting is made with toasty brown butter, cream cheese, and rich maple syrup for the perfect wintery flavor!
- Spicy gingerbread cupcake base - These gingerbread cupcakes are rich, tender, and full of molasses and ginger flavor!
- Topped with gingerbread cookies - I like to use my classic gingerbread men to top these cookies! They're easy to make and the cutest little garnish!
- Super easy to decorate - All you need to make these cupcakes beautiful are some fun Christmas sprinkles and gingerbread cookies! The perfect holiday dessert!
You just need a few ingredients to make these festive gingerbread cupcakes!
Cake Flour - I always use cake flour in my cupcakes because it makes them super soft and tender, but all purpose flour also works great!
Cream Cheese - Tangy cream cheese frosting pairs beautifully with the rich gingerbread cupcakes.
Pure Maple Syrup - If you do nothing else, please use REAL maple syrup for the frosting! It can be a little pricey but the flavor is unmatched! Use dark maple syrup for the most robust flavor!
Molasses - This is one of the key ingredients for classic gingerbread! Molasses adds a distinct, rich flavor and color, and helps keep the cupcakes soft. Just be sure to use unsulphered molasses (do NOT use blackstrap molasses). The brand you're most likely to see at the grocery store is Grandma's Molasses, you can usually find it with the honey!
Gingerbread Spice - Gingerbread contains a delicious spice blend of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. I use my homemade gingerbread spice mix in these cupcakes but you can use whatever blend of spices you prefer! Pumpkin pie spice plus a little extra ginger is a great alternative.
Gingerbread Cookies - I like to top these cupcakes with mini gingerbread cookies!!
Brown Butter - My favorite ingredient of all time is brown butter!! Brown butter is just unsalted butter that has been melted and gently cooked to bring out a toasty, nutty flavor. If you've never made brown butter before, you can check out this post with all my tips for how to make brown butter!
I recommend making the brown butter the night before you make the cupcakes, so that it has time to fully cool to room temperature!
Since both the cupcakes and the frosting call for brown butter, I find it easier to just make one large batch and then weigh out the difference using a kitchen scale (½ cup of butter weighs about 113 grams).
However, if you don't have a scale you can just make two separate batches of brown butter!
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
How to Make Gingerbread Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
Whisk the cake flour, gingerbread spice, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown butter and brown sugar until smooth. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract until fully combined.
Then mix in the molasses until fully incorporated and smooth.
Stir in the milk and then gently fold in the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick.
Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the gingerbread cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
Frost the cooled cupcakes and then garnish mini gingerbread cookies and Christmas sprinkles!
Tips for the Best Baked Goods
Use room temperature ingredients! Always make sure ingredients like butter, eggs, milk, yogurt, etc. are at room temperature before baking (unless the recipe indicates otherwise)! This ensures they'll incorporate into the batter more easily and leads to overall better texture. Remove all ingredients from the fridge 30 minutes to an hour before baking for best results.
Measure your flour correctly! It's most accurate to use a kitchen scale, but if you're measuring by volume you want to spoon and level! Fluff up the flour a bit with a spoon, and then spoon flour into the measuring cup. Once it's overflowing, use the back of a knife to level it off. Don't ever pack flour into the measuring cup or you'll end up with way too much! Improperly measured flour can lead to dry, dense baked goods. [Measure cocoa powder the same way!]
Use an oven thermometer! Just because your oven says it's 350, doesn't mean it is! If you oven hasn't been calibrated recently, it can be as much as 30 degrees off, which will negatively affect all baked goods from cakes to macarons! An oven thermometer is the easiest/cheapest way to ensure your oven is always at the proper temperature.
Make sure you baking powder is fresh! Baking powder is important for helping baked goods rise properly, but it has a relatively short shelf life once opened, so it's one of the few items I never buy in bulk! To test if your baking powder is still fresh, add a small amount to boiling water. If it bubbles it's still good to use, but if not it's time to toss it!
Cupcake Decorating Tips
Make sure you let the gingerbread cupcakes cool completely before frosting!!
For these big beautiful maple cream cheese frosting swirls on these gingerbread cupcakes, I use the 9FT tip from this decorating kit. The tips are much larger than standard sizes and so fun for decorating cupcakes!
Garnish the cupcakes with mini gingerbread men and festive red and green sprinkles!
These cupcakes will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, they taste best when served at room temperature! I like to let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving. Wait to top with the gingerbread cookies until right before serving.
Of course not! You can absolutely substitute regular unsalted butter. I just love the flavor that brown butter adds to gingerbread.
Gingerbread is made with molasses, brown sugar, and warming spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It has a slightly spicy flavor that make it perfect for the winter holidays!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Christmas Recipes!
If you make this recipe, please leave a star rating at the bottom of the page! This provides helpful feedback to both me and other readers. And if you want more delicious, scratch-made recipes you can subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12 cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the cake flour, gingerbread spice, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown butter and brown sugar until smooth. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract until fully combined.
- Then mix in the molasses until fully incorporated and smooth.
- Stir in the milk and then gently fold in the dry ingredients. The batter will be thick.
- Pour about ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner (they should be about halfway full).
- Bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- Make sure both your brown butter and cream cheese are fully at room temperature or else it won't combine smoothly and you'll end up with cream cheese lumps.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar and cinnamon and beat on low speed until fully combined.
- Slowly add in the maple syrup until fully combined. Beat the buttercream for 3-4 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy.
- Frost the cooled cupcakes and then garnish mini gingerbread cookies and Christmas sprinkles!
- These cupcakes will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, they taste best when served at room temperature! I like to let them sit at room temperature for about an hour before serving. Wait to top with the gingerbread cookies until right before serving.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.