Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe

A gingerbread cupcake on a white serving platter topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting, adorned with gold and silver sprinkles and surrounded by other cupcakes.

This Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe starts with a spice cake mix and features an eggnog cream cheese frosting and has all the flavor of traditional gingerbread.

For these cupcakes, we add molasses, and a few other warm spices to the cupcake batter to achieve that undeniable gingerbread taste.

These are fantastic to make for holiday parties or Christmas time bake sales because they are so pretty. And when you bake them, your home will be filled with the signature aroma that’s distinctly spicy gingerbread.

A white, round platter of gingerbread cupcakes , placed on a pink background and surrounded by holiday ornaments and mini white lights, The cupcakes are topped with swirls of eggnog cream cheese frosting

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Box cake mix! This time of year leads to a shortage of time for many people. Using a spice cake mix makes this recipe easy and quick!
  • Tangy Cream Cheese Frosting! Who could resist this made-from-scratch eggnog cream cheese frosting? I could practically eat it out of a bowl. Spoon optional.
  • Flavor of gingerbread in cupcake form! You can have a holiday gingerbread experience this year without spending hours constructing a house or cutting out little cookies shaped like men!

Gingerbread Cupcake or Muffin?

What’s the difference between a gingerbread cupcake and a gingerbread muffin? A couple of characteristics make this a gingerbread cupcake recipe.

First, cupcakes tend to have a softer, fluffier texture – like a cake. A muffin has a denser texture. And although gingerbread is a little heavier by nature, our recipe begins with a boxed cake mix, which contributes to a softer texture.

Secondly, cupcakes are frosted, and muffins are not. Muffins are sometimes topped with some sort of crumbly mixture. As a result, they aren’t as sweet as a cupcake.

Finally, muffins are typically served for breakfast or brunch. Cupcakes are considered a dessert. Not that anyone could blame you if you ate one of these for breakfast. They are pretty hard to resist. I speak from experience.

A group of 3 cupcakes made with the Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe.

Equipment Needed

  • Standard-size cupcake or muffin pan – I love this one by USA Pan.
  • Paper cupcake liners
  • Baking spray (the one with flour)
  • Large Cookie Scoop – I used one that was slightly less than 1/4 cup
  • Electric Hand or stand mixer
  • Piping bag
  • Piping tip
  • Wire racks for cooling

Ingredient Notes

  • Spice Cake Mix – I use the Betty Crocker Super Moist Spice Mix.
  • Molasses – That dark, sweet, syrupy goodness that adds chewiness and results in super moist gingerbread cupcakes.
  • Eggnog – We use it in both the batter and the frosting. It complements the other holiday flavors present in the cupcakes.
  • Ground Ginger
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Cloves
  • Ground Nutmeg
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Cream Cheese

*Please scroll down to the recipe card for specific ingredient amounts.

All the ingredients needed to make the gingerbread cupcake recipe including: powdered sugar, cream cheese, eggnog, spice cake mix, molasses, nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, oil, eggs, and butter.

Instructions

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Prepare a standard cupcake pan with liners and spray them with cooking spray. Set aside.

Step 2. In a large bowl, whisk cake mix, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

Step 3. Add molasses, eggnog, oil, and eggs. Blend the wet ingredients with the dry on medium speed until fully combined and smooth.

Step 4. Using a large cookie scoop, fill each cupcake well, about ½ full, just under ¼ cup per cupcake.

The first steps in making the gingerbread cupcake recipe including adding the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl, adding the wet ingredients, mixing with a hand mixer and filling the cupcake tin with batter.

Step 5. Bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or the top of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed.

Step 6. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool them in the pan for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Step 7. While the cupcakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese and softened butter in a medium bowl until fluffy.

Step 8. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and eggnog, a little bit at a time, and until the frosting is desired consistency. 

Step 9. Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Dust with nutmeg, or decorate with festive sprinkles or gingerbread cookies.

The next steps of the gingerbread cupcake recipe including mixing the frosting ingredients and frosting the cupcakes with a piping bag and tip.

Pro Tip

Don’t overbake! It will result in a dry cupcake. To prevent this, begin checking for doneness at the 16-minute mark. When the cupcakes are almost done, the tops will start to crack. You will be able to see some batter peeking through that will look underdone. However, the cupcakes will finish baking when they are cooling for 5 minutes in the muffin tin.

Storage & Freezing

  • Unfrosted cupcakes can be prepared one day in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
  • Store cupcakes in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
  • Frosting can also be prepared one day in advance and stored, covered tightly, in the refrigerator. 
  • Freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and then frost for best results.
A cupcake with a bit taken out of it showing the spongey and cake-like texture of the inside of the cupcake.

Notes/FAQs

  • The spices we added can be adjusted depending on your taste. However, if they are greatly reduced, the cupcake will taste more like a spice cake mix and less like a traditional gingerbread flavor.
  • Don’t overmix the cupcake batter. It will make the cupcakes tough. Mix until the batter is smooth and the ingredients are combined – about one minute.
  • For best results, cupcake liners are highly recommended. Because of molasses, the batter will be sticky. Spraying the liners will result in the best release of the cupcake.
  • This cupcake batter is thick! Use a cookie scoop or a measuring cup to fill the liners for easy filling.
  • When filling the cupcake liners, don’t overfill them. Each cupcake should be slightly less than a ¼ cup of batter or just about ½ full.
  • Bake only 1 batch at a time in the center of the oven. Baking will be more even.
  • Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting them. Even a slightly warm cupcake can cause the frosting to lose shape and become a melty mess.
  • Soften the cream cheese and butter to make blending easy. 
  • Spoon and level the powdered sugar when measuring it for the frosting.
  • Due to added eggnog, this frosting has a little more icing sugar than a traditional cream cheese frosting recipe. Add the eggnog to the frosting in small amounts until desired consistency. Adding the whole Tablespoon may require more powdered sugar.
  • If the frosting is not stiff enough to pipe, refrigerate it briefly or add more powdered sugar to firm it up.
A cupcake sitting in front of a large white platter of cupcakes.

Variations

Cinnamon cream cheese frosting or your favorite cream cheese frosting would be delicious for this cupcake recipe.

Festive sprinkles or gingerbread men cookies can be placed on the top of each cupcake. My favorite cookies are made by Archway.

Substitutions

Not a fan of eggnog? Use heavy cream in the frosting instead!

More Holiday Recipes You May Enjoy

A group of cupcakes with holiday decorations sitting in the background.

Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe

This Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe starts with a spice cake mix and features an eggnog cream cheese frosting but has all the flavor of traditional gingerbread. This delicious baked good is wonderful to make for holiday parties or Christmas time bake sales. It will fill your home with the signature aroma that's distinctly spicy gingerbread.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 18 mins
Cooling Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 28 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 cupcakes
Calories 275 kcal

Equipment

  • Standard-size cupcake or muffin pan
  • Paper cupcake liners
  • Baking spray (the one with flour)
  • Large Cookie Scoop – I used one that was slightly less than 1/4 cup
  • Electric Hand or stand mixer
  • Piping bag
  • Piping tip
  • Wire racks for cooling

Ingredients
  

Cupcakes

  • 1 15.25- ounce boxed spice cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¾ cup eggnog
  • cup oil
  • 3 large eggs

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon eggnog
  • Nutmeg for garnish, optional
  • Cupcake sprinkles optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Prepare a standard cupcake pan with liners and spray them with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk cake mix, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  • Add molasses, eggnog, oil, and eggs. Blend the wet ingredients with the dry on medium speed until fully combined and smooth.
  • Using a large cookie scoop, fill each cupcake well, about ½ full, just under ¼ cup per cupcake.
  • Bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean or the top of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the oven and cool them in the pan for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  • While the cupcakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese and softened butter in a large bowl until fluffy.
  • Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and eggnog, a little bit at a time, and until the frosting is desired consistency.
  • Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes. Dust with nutmeg, or decorate with festive sprinkles or gingerbread cookies.

Notes

Storage and Freezing
Unfrosted cupcakes can be prepared one day in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Store cupcakes in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
Frosting can also be prepared one day in advance and stored, covered tightly, in the refrigerator.
Freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months. Thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and then frost for best results.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcakeCalories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 3gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 170mgPotassium: 154mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 233IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Easy Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe, Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe, Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cake Mix, GIngerbread Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
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