Super moist and oh-so-delicious Small Batch Gingerbread Cupcakes! An easy-to-make and follow recipe that gives you 6 soft and flavorful cupcakes that are topped with a thick and creamy marshmallow buttercream frosting. They're absolutely perfect as-is or topped with a festive piped Christmas lights design!
Table of Contents
- Small Batch Gingerbread Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
- What's in These Gingerbread Cupcakes?
- Let's Talk Substitutions
- Helpful Cupcake Making Tips
- General Baking Tools Needed
- How to Create a Christmas Lights Design on Your Cupcakes
- More Small Batch Recipes to enjoy!
Small Batch Gingerbread Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting
To say I am in love with these small batch gingerbread cupcakes would be an understatement! They are soft, flavorful, and incredibly moist thanks to some added buttermilk!
And bonus, they will have your house smelling better than a holiday candle! If you've made my Super Soft Molasses Cookies, it's very much that same wonderful smell!
This recipe makes 6 cupcakes that are paired with a super easy marshmallow buttercream frosting that comes together in minutes! And if you're feeling in the festive spirit, you can add this Christmas lights design to the tops!
What's in These Gingerbread Cupcakes?
- All-Purpose Flour. It's an odd amount, but don't forget the 2 tablespoons!
- Baking Soda and Powder. You're usual leavening agents.
- Spices. The 3 amigos in this yummy cupcake recipe are ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves.
- Salt. Just a pinch to help balance out the molasses flavor.
- Unsalted Butter. Make sure it's room temperature.
- Dark Brown Sugar. If using measuring cups, make sure this is firmly packed.
- Vanilla Extract. Just a teaspoon to help round out the flavors.
- Full Flavored Molasses. The key ingredient in this cupcake recipe! It is your middle of the road flavored molasses that has a slight kick of bitterness to it at the end.
- Buttermilk. The ingredient that helps give these gingerbread cupcakes that moist texture! It also helps balance out the molasses flavor as well.
- An Egg. Just one large egg, but make it room temperature, please.
Let's Talk Substitutions
Browned Butter. For a little added flavor to your cupcakes, you can swap out the unsalted butter for browned butter. It needs to be cooled and solidified first before adding it to the batter.
Light Brown Sugar. It contains less molasses and won't give you that rich flavor like dark brown sugar can, but it can be used in a pinch!
Light Flavored Molasses. In place of full flavored molasses, you can go with a light flavored option that is milder. For the love of all things holy though, do not use blackstrap—it's way too strong and not really meant for baked goods.
Homemade Buttermilk. Because we're only using a small amount of buttermilk in this recipe, you can use regular milk with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
Add the lemon juice to the measuring cup first, then add the milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then add it to the batter. Homemade buttermilk substitute is meant to be used immediately.
Another alternative to the buttermilk—just use milk! I also tested this with sour cream (same amount) which made them equally as moist.
You can also use powdered buttermilk which you can find in the baking aisle usually next to the powdered milk, evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.
I did not test this recipe with any egg alternatives or other flours.
Marshmallow Creme. Used in the buttercream frosting, I did not test this recipe using a substitute like melted marshmallows.
Helpful Cupcake Making Tips
Make the buttermilk first. This only applies if you're making the homemade buttermilk substitute. The reason for making it first—it needs to sit for 5 minutes before you can add it to the cupcake batter.
Don't overmix the cupcake batter. Over mixing can cause a whole slew of issues with your cupcakes as they bake. Dense, chewy cupcakes is one of them.
Use a cookie scoop. To divide out the gingerbread cupcake batter, I used a 3 tablespoon size cookie scoop. Worked like a charm.
Use an oven thermometer. While testing some cookie recipes last week I discovered my oven wasn't preheating to the correct temperature. It was about 100 degrees cooler. So, word to the wise, get yourself an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is heating to the correct temperature!
Baking Spray. This is a tip when making the marshmallow buttercream frosting. Spray a little baking spray onto a spatula before scooping out your marshmallow creme. It will make your life a lot easier.
Storing your cupcakes. Gingerbread cupcakes without frosting can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept in a tightly sealed storage container at room temperature.
If the tops appear to be slightly sticky to the touch after storing, let them sit out uncovered for about 30 minutes before adding the frosting.
If high heat or humidity is an issue where you live, you can keep them stored in the refrigerator. They do tend to dry out more this way, so make sure they are in a well-sealed container!
Storing the frosting. The marshmallow buttercream frosting can be made a day ahead. Bring it out to room temperature 1-2 hours prior to frosting the cupcakes. You will need to give it a quick turn or two in the mixer to bring it back to life.
General Baking Tools Needed
How to Create a Christmas Lights Design on Your Cupcakes
This is a fun and easy design that doesn't require a lot effort or experience! Just mix up the green color frosting, pipe on a curvy string, and add the candy. That's it!
Items You'll Need:
- No. 2 Decorating Tip. I used my Wilton tip from their Master Decorating Tip Set. I highly recommend!
- Decorating Coupler. This is what is used to help attach the decorating tip with the piping bag. They can be purchased in the tip set I mention above or separately.
- Small Piping Bag. Reusable bags are my favorite, but use what you have or are able to find.
- Food Coloring Gel. I use the Wilton Color Right System, but there is also Chefmaster and McCormick.
- Small Mixing Bowl. Either glass mixing bowls or metal mixing bowls will be fine. This is for mixing the frosting and food coloring gel.
- Spatula. Also for mixing the food coloring gel with the frosting. A spoon can be used, but a spatula will do a better job at getting the sides of the bowl.
- Rainbow Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds. This was the first time I've ever had chocolate covered sunflower seeds! Though very good, they are also somewhat of a challenge to find where I live. So I ended up ordering them online from the Kimmie Candy Company.
Green Color Formula
To achieve the green color I used as my Christmas lights string, I used about ⅓ cup of the marshmallow buttercream frosting and:
- Brown (BR) - 2 drops
- Blue (B) - 3 drops
- Yellow (Y) - 4 drops
This formula is using the Wilton Color Right System. If you use another brand, you will want to check with what they recommend for a medium color green.
If chocolate covered sunflower seeds are also hard to come by in your area and/or you don't want to order a 1 pound bag like I did, here are some easier-to-find alternatives!
- Gumdrops (cut in half)
More Small Batch Recipes to enjoy!
- Small Batch Chocolate Cupcakes
- Cookies and Cream Fudge
- Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes
- Single Layer Chocolate Cake
- Single Layer Carrot Cake
Small Batch Gingerbread CupcakesAuthor:
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup Full Flavored Molasses
- ¼ cup Buttermilk
- 1 Large Egg, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup Powdered Sugar
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 3 ½ oz Marshmallow Creme
- Rainbow Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds
- Food Coloring Gel
small batch gingerbread cupcakes
- Adjust your oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line the middle rows of a cupcake tin with 6 cupcake liners. Set to the side.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt. Set to the side.
- Using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the unsalted butter and dark brown sugar together until well combined. Add in the egg then the molasses, buttermilk, and vanilla extract beating until mixture is blended together. The mixture will look a little lumpy from adding in the buttermilk. This is okay.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually adding in the whisked dry ingredients until just combined. The gingerbread cupcake batter will be on the thinner side.
- Evenly divide the gingerbread cake batter into the 6 lined cupcake cavities and bake for 18-20 minutes at 350ºF or until an inserted toothpick into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes from the tin and place on a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Frost the cupcakes with the marshmallow frosting once the cupcakes have cooled completely.
marshmallow buttercream frosting
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the unsalted butter and marshmallow creme on medium-high speed until well blended.
- With the mixer stopped, add in the powdered sugar. Mix together on low speed until the frosting is fully incorporated. For an even thicker frosting, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, then mix once more on medium-high speed.
- Spread the frosting onto each cupcake using an offset spatula.
- If decorating the tops with the Christmas light theme, reserve about ¼ to ⅓ cup of the frosting to color green (or color of your choice).
- Recipe times noted are for both the gingerbread cupcakes and the marshmallow buttercream frosting.
- Allow roughly 25-30 minutes for your cupcakes to cool before frosting.
- Place your cupcake liners in the 2 middle sections of your cupcake tin.
- Be careful not to over mix your cupcake batter.
- Use either a cookie scoop, large measuring glass, or large and small spoon to add the cupcake batter.
- Fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full.