Yield: 6 (small batch) gingerbread cupcakes // Total Time: 40 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. // Recipe updated 11/24/23.
Light and fluffy gingerbread cupcakes topped with a cream cheese frosting.
The main flavor I think of around the holiday season is definitely gingerbread and all of it’s warm spices. These cupcakes are super light and fluffy (thanks to the reverse creaming method!), and filled with gingerbread spices that pair perfectly with the tangy cream cheese frosting. You could also top these off with a gingerbread man for an extra festive cupcake!
small batch gingerbread cupcakes
I love making small batch bakes because they are the perfect size myself and others who don’t have a lot of people to bake for in their home. This recipe is a small batch and yields just 6 cupcakes. If you need some more then no worries at all! Simply double or triple the recipe as you need. I do highly recommend using grams if you are scaling up for the best results.
weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient. In a small batch recipe it is especially important to get those correct measurements because there is less room for error. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
mix the batter carefully
It is super important to not overmix the cupcake batter. Overmixing the batter leads to more gluten development which will make the cupcakes super tough and chewy. Only mix just until the last bit of flour is incorporated.
room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. Take out the egg, sour cream, and milk at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe. Here’s how to get room temperature ingredients FAST if you’re in a time crunch or forgot to take the ingredients out (like I often do):
- Egg: place the egg in a bowl and run hot water over it for 1 continuous minute, or let it sit in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes.
- Sour cream and milk: microwave in 5-second intervals until it is no longer cold, but is not warm (room temp!)
keep an eye on those cupcakes!
Cupcakes like to go from under-baked to over-baked super quickly so it is important to keep a close eye on them. Start checking at 15 minutes with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out wet, check them again in 2 minutes and so on until only a few moist crumbs stick to the toothpick.
ingredients and substitutions
For the gingerbread cupcakes:
All purpose flour: gives the cupcakes their structure.
Baking powder: for helping the cupcakes rise.
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the batter.
Ground ginger, cinnamon & cloves: for gingerbread spice.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the cupcakes and adding that nice buttery flavor to them. You can substitute in salted butter, just be sure to omit the extra salt in the batter.
Vegetable oil: for tenderizing the cupcakes. If you don’t have vegetable oil on hand, you can use another neutral oil such as canola.
Dark brown sugar: for sweetness, moisture, and that classic molasses flavor that accompanies gingerbread. I highly recommend using dark brown sugar for the best flavor and color to the cupcakes, but in a pinch you can substitute in light brown sugar.
Egg: for binding the batter together and adding moisture.
Vanilla: for flavor. I use and love this vanilla extract!
Sour cream & milk: for fat, texture, and moisture. I recommend full fat sour cream and whole milk for the best texture and results.
For the cream cheese frosting:
Cream cheese: the base of the frosting, has a slight tanginess that compliments the sweet gingerbread cupcakes. I recommend using full-fat, but neufchatel will work as well!
Unsalted butter: helps stabilize the cream cheese frosting. You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted, just be sure to omit the extra salt.
Salt: balances and brings out the sweetness and flavor of the frosting.
Powdered sugar: for sweetening and thickening up the frosting.
Vanilla: for flavor.
how to make small batch gingerbread cupcakes
- Beat together the dry ingredients and the butter.
- Then beat in the wet ingredients.
- Equally divide the cupcake batter between six parchment liners and bake.
- Make the cream cheese frosting, then frost the cupcakes once they’ve cooled to room temperature. Enjoy!
small batch gingerbread cupcakes q&a
can I double this recipe?
Of course! Obviously they will not be small batch anymore but small batch isn’t always what we need! Simply double all of the ingredients in the recipe to make 12 delicious cupcakes. I even more strongly recommend measuring by weight if you are going to double the recipe for the best results.
how to store the cupcakes
Because these cupcakes have a cream cheese frosting on top, you’ll want to store them in the fridge for the best food safety practices! They’ll keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you’re not a fan of cold cupcakes, you can take a cupcake out of the fridge 30 min – 1 hr. before you want one and let it sit to come up to room temperature.
why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale
a note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature and aren’t always at the temperature they claim to be. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
did you make these gingerbread cupcakes?
If you made these small batch gingerbread cupcakes I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Small Batch Gingerbread Cupcakes
- 90 g all purpose flour (¾ c.)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 100 g dark brown sugar (½ c.)
- 41 g unsalted butter cubed, room temperature (3 tbsp.)
- 32 g vegetable oil (2 ½ tbsp.)
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 60 g sour cream room temperature (¼ c.)
- 30 g whole milk room temperature (2 tbsp.)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 120 g cream cheese room temperature (½ c.)
- 113 g unsalted butter room temperature (½ c.)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 210 g powdered sugar (1 ¾ c.)
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a muffin tin with six parchment liners.
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, sugar, and cubed room temperature butter into a medium sized mixing bowl. Beat the mixture together with a hand or stand mixer until no large clumps of butter remain.
- Add in the oil, egg, vanilla, sour cream and milk. Whisk the mixture together just until a cohesive batter forms.
- Portion out the cupcakes into the six parchment liners. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out with only a few moist crumbs on it.
- Allow the cupcakes to completely cool down to room temperature before frosting them.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a small mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and salt until the mixture is smooth. Then, slowly beat in the powdered sugar, followed by the vanilla.
- Transfer the cream cheese frosting to a piping bag with your piping tip of choice (I used Wilton #1M) Pipe a generous amount of frosting on to each cupcake, then enjoy!