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. 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.
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
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.
How To Measure Molasses Without Making A MessLove 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.
Originally published October 20, 2009