Christmas Special: Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Frosting

Ok, this is the third and final Christmas installment. This is also the second variation on the gingerbread theme: gingerbread cupcakes with orange cream cheese icing.

If you have read this blog before then you know that cupcakes have a special place in my heart. These are a tasty twist on the classic spicy carrot cake and cream cheese icing combo. The cocoa powder deepens the flavor and color of the cupcakes without actually making them taste chocolate-y. The orange also lends a wonderfully fragrant zest to the frosting. This is my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe; it's decadently creamy but not so cheesy that it tastes like piped cheesecake.

These mini cakelets are a great addition to any holiday dessert table. I dressed mine up for the occasion with a bit of sparkle in the form of pastel dragees. I love how these little pearls shine like tiny Christmas ornaments.

Gingerbread Cupcakes
Yield: about 36 mini cupcakes


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup hot milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter or line with paper liners a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. Cream 5 tablespoons of the butter with the white sugar. Add the molasses and the egg and egg yolk.
  3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the hot milk mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes or until slightly springy to the touch. Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan and remove to a rack to cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 3 cups (enough to generously ice 36 mini cupcakes)


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest


  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and zest, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.
Recipe source: allrecipes.com
Image property of beets and bites

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