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Gingerbread Cupcakes

This cupcake recipe is perfect for holiday parties. It's robust spices include nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. This recipe is screaming with flavor, so hurry and bake up a batch!


Use large cupcake papers and two jumbo muffin tins to bake these cupcakes. They are glazed with either a chocolate or butter glaze and then piped with meringue buttercream.


Decorating Notes

Star tips (3, 4, 7, 8) create innumerable borders and rosettes.

Round tips (5, 9) are best used for fine lines and writing.

Leaf tips (1, 10) and petal tips (2, 6) create foliage, blooms, and borders.

Basket-weave tip (11) makes lattices and fancy edges.


  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1 pound cold unsalted butter, in small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line ten jumbo muffin tins with paper baking cups and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil.
  4. In a bowl, combine boiling water and baking soda; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground spices, salt, and baking powder; set aside.
  6. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light.
  7. Beat in the brown sugar until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Beat in the molasses, baking-soda mixture, and flour mixture. Beat in the eggs.
  9. Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly.
  10. Bake cupcakes in 350 degrees F oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  11. Let cupcakes cool a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Butter Glaze

  1. Place 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat.
  3. Remove the pan from heat; immediately pour the melted butter into the bowl with the sugar.
  4. Add 4 teaspoons milk; whisk until mixture is smooth.
  5. Working quickly, dip the top of each of 5 cupcakes into the glaze, and place cupcakes right-side up on wire rack. Repeat step; glaze remaining 5 cupcakes.
  6. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes, before decorating. (Makes 1-1/2 cups or enough for 10 large cupcakes)

Chocolate Glaze

  1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium bowl.
  2. Scald the cream and pour it over the chocolate.
  3. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.
  4. Let the glaze stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  5. For the smoothest possible surface, carefully dip the cupcakes into the prepared chocolate glaze. Let cupcakes drip, dipped-side down, for several seconds, and then turn right-side up.
  6. Allow glaze to set before decorating. (Makes 1-3/4 cups or enough for 10 large cupcakes)

Meringue Buttercream

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 1/3 cup water to a boil, and boil until syrup reaches soft-ball stage (a candy thermometer should read 238 degrees).
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until they are foamy.
  3. Add cream of tartar and beat on medium high until the mixture is stiff but not dry.
  4. With the mixer running, pour the sugar syrup into the egg-white mixture in a steady stream, and beat on high speed until steam is no longer visible, about 3 minutes.
  5. Beat in butter, piece by piece, on medium speed.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 3 to 5 minutes, until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.  If the frosting looks curdled at any point during the beating process, keep beating to smooth it out. If the frosting becomes too soft for piping, stir it over a large bowl of ice water until it stiffens. (Makes 5 cups)

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