Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

Next time your kids mention gingerbread, surprise them with these gingerbread cupcakes with a delightful cardamom cream cheese frosting. Better yet, let them help you make them.

Gingerbread cupcakes with cardamom cream cheese frosting on a white plate.

The frosting is simple to make and easy to love. It’s sensational on the gingerbread cupcakes, but you’ll find plenty of other ways to use this recipe. Feel free to adjust the spice to your own preference. Orange zest would be a nice substitute for the lemon. We’re always partial to cardamom, the queen of spices, but allspice or cinnamon would work well, too.–Sara Engram | Katie Luber

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread cupcakes with cardamom cream cheese frosting on a white plate.
Molasses and brown sugar form a rich flavor stage for some of our favorite spices to dance on. You'll be tempted to eat these cupcakes right out of the oven, but take our word for it—the cardamom cream cheese frosting is worth the wait.

Prep 30 mins
Cook 45 mins
Total 1 hr 15 mins
12 cupcakes
332 kcal
5 from 1 vote
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For the gingerbread cupcakes

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (or substitute golden syrup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

For the cardamom cream cheese frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom


Make the gingerbread cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and butter 12 standard-size muffin cups or line them with paper cups.
  • Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large 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.

Make the cardamom cream cheese frosting

  • Cream together the cream cheese and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and cardamom and beat until fluffy and smooth. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Spread the cream cheese frosting generously over the cooled cupcakes.
Print RecipeBuy the The Spice Kitchen cookbook

Want it? Click it.


How To Measure Molasses Without Making A Mess

Love molasses, but hate the mess it makes when you measure it? We have just the tip you’re looking for. Before you pour the molasses into the measuring cup, spray or brush the cup with a light oil or some melted butter. Instead of clinging to the sides of your cup, the molasses will slide right out into the mixing bowl, neat as you please. You’re welcome.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcakeCalories: 332kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 48g (16%)Protein: 3g (6%)Fat: 15g (23%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 56mg (19%)Sodium: 217mg (9%)Potassium: 279mg (8%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 35g (39%)Vitamin A: 511IU (10%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 68mg (7%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Originally published October 20, 2009



    1. Hi Renee—golden syrup is a bit of a staple in Australian kitchens. I use it quite a bit in lots of baking—slices, puddings, dumplings, and of course the quintessential ANZAC biscuit. And I’m happy to say that it proved to be a very successful substitute for molasses in the cupcake recipe. 🙂

      1. I’ve intended to dedicate some kitchen time to golden syrup for quite a while, having long read several mags and columns from Australia (Vogue Entertaining + Travel, Donna Hay, and a handful of other authors) that oft rely on it. But I haven’t yet. You’ve nudged me to learn the ins and outs of its lovelinesses and quirks. Off to the store I go…many thanks to you.

  1. 5 stars
    First let me say that I love this blog—and most of my foodie bookmarks bring me back to it. I made these cupcakes today and they were delicious. I didn’t have molasses so I used golden syrup instead. I was a bit wary about the cardamom in the cream cheese frosting but it’s perfect for these cupcakes. I’ll definitely be making these again. Thanks!

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