These Gingerbread Cupcakes are a semi-homemade recipe that turn an ordinary box of spice cake mix into extraordinary moist cupcakes with homemade cream cheese frosting!
CUPCAKES THAT TASTE LIKE THE HOLIDAYS
During the holidays, we mostly see gingerbread flavors in cookie form. But the flavor is so good, I like to put it into other baked goods this time of year. These cupcakes combine classic gingerbread flavor into some fluffy and moist cupcakes with a super creamy cream cheese frosting. These dreamy cupcakes are the perfect dessert to add to your holiday dessert spread!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Since we are already using a spice cake, you may be questioning why you need the extra spices. Well, adding those spices really give these cupcake that unmistakable “gingerbread spice” flavor that you expect. In my opinion, the added ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are a must!
However, if you want cupcakes with less flavor or less spices, you can use less or omit them altogether.
This is why I like to use a cake mix as a base. Unlike homemade cakes, it’s very rare that they will ever turn out tough. It’s hard to mess them up. However, tough cupcakes typically happen when you mix the batter for way too long. Be sure you mix just until combined and smooth, which usually takes just about a minute.
With this specific recipe, I suggest spraying the liners so it makes removing the wrappers easier.
I like to use a spring loaded cookie scoop to easily move batter from the mixing bowl to the cupcake tin wells. If you need to, using a measuring cup can be helpful. I suggest only using just under 1/4 cup for each one.
If you need to stiffen up your frosting so it’s easier to pipe, you can pop it in the fridge until it’s stiff enough, or you can add some powdered sugar to stiffen it up.
If you don’t want to use the eggnog, you can omit it but you’ll have to alter the rest of the frosting ingredients. Because of the eggnog, the recipe has a little more powdered sugar than a traditional cream cheese frosting recipe. So if you want to ditch the eggnog, reduce the powdered sugar to 4 cups.
If you don’t want to reduce the sugar, but instead want to swap out the eggnog, swap it out for heavy cream (the same amount). Heavy cream and eggnog are similar in consistency so this should work nicely.
While I haven’t tested this, I imagine you can make this is a 9×13-inch baking dish. You’ll want to use the instructions on the back of the cake mix box to see how long to bake it.
You can use any tip you want, but I used a Wilton 1A piping tip (paid affiliate link) to get the look of the frosted cupcakes you see below. You don’t even have to pipe the frosting on, just spread it on the cupcakes.
You can make the cupcakes without frosting them and store them in a container up to a day ahead of time.
Additionally, you can make the frosting up to a day in advance. You need to store it in the fridge in a container until ready to pipe the cupcakes.
Frosted cupcakes should be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
You can freeze unfrosted cupcakes for up to 2 months in a freezer safe container. Then you can thaw them overnight in the refrigerator before bringing them to room temperature before frosting.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- spice cake mix – my personal favorite is Duncan Hines brand. You are NOT following the directions on the back of the box for this recipe.
- ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg – these spices along with the molasses are going to help give the cupcakes that distinctive gingerbread flavor.
- molasses – molasses is sticky like honey. So my advice for measuring is to spray your measuring cup with a little nonstick cooking spray before measuring. The molasses will slide right out!
- eggnog – add this in small amounts until it’s the right consistency If you don’t want to use eggnog, you can substitute with heavy cream.
- oil – I use vegetable oil but you could use canola or corn oil.
- eggs – If you have time, let the eggs come to room temperature. They incorporate into the batter far better and help to create a lighter, fluffier cupcake.
- cream cheese – softened to room temperature so it’s easier to cream together.
- unsalted butter – if all you have is salted butter, just go with that. It will still turn out great.
- powdered sugar – spoon and level this so you don’t accidentally measure out too much which is really easy to do with powdered sugar.
HOW TO MAKE GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES
Preheat oven to 350℉. Place cupcake liners into two standard cupcake tins and spray them with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the spice cake mix, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
To the bowl add molasses, eggnog, oil, and eggs. This will be easiest if you use a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer. Using a medium cookie scoop, fill each cupcake well about ½ full. You’re using just under ¼ cup of batter per cupcake.
Bake for about 16-18 minutes on the center rack of your oven until a toothpick comes out clean or the top of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed. Note: Bake only one muffin tin at a time for even baking. Remove the cupcakes cooling rack so they can cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: in a large bowl beat the cream cheese and softened butter until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and eggnog. Note: only add a little egg nog at a time, until the frosting is to your desired consistency. Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Optional: dust with nutmeg, crushed gingerbread cookies or decorative sprinkles.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
- Preheat oven to 350℉. Place cupcake liners into two standard cupcake tins and spray them with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the spice cake mix, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
- To the bowl add molasses, eggnog, oil, and eggs. This will be easiest if you use a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, fill each cupcake well about ½ full. You’re using just under ¼ cup of batter per cupcake.
- Bake for about 16-18 minutes on the center rack of your oven until a toothpick comes out clean or the top of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed. Note: Bake only one muffin tin at a time for even baking.
- Remove the cupcakes cooling rack so they can cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting: in a large bowl beat the cream cheese and softened butter until fluffy.
- Slowly add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and eggnog. Note: only add a little egg nog at a time, until the frosting is to your desired consistency.
- Frost or pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
- Top with optional garnishes. Enjoy!
- Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.