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Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemony Frosting

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Family Story

Gingerbread has been a family favorite for decades. My great-grandmother, Florence Barker Harnden, lived in Rangeley, Maine, and the silhouette artist Kaye Housel was a friend of hers. My family visited Rangeley every summer while I was growing up, and a highlight was going with my great-grandmother to Mrs. Housel’s studio and eating gingerbread warm from the oven, plain or dusted with confectioner’s sugar. This isn't her recipe; my aunt thought Mrs. Housel used a box mix. Over the years I've tried different gingerbread recipes, playing with spices and flavor notes. I like the hint of lemon in these; they're delicious with a glass of iced tea in the hot summer. I bake these cupcakes to send to friends and family for the holidays, and the warm spicy taste of gingerbread takes me back to those cool Maine summers so long ago.


1 Step

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two mini-muffin pans with foil or paper liners (Note: you might not use all 48 liners).

2 Step

Heat butter and molasses in a small saucepan on medium heat until butter melts and molasses just boils. Pour into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and let cool for 5 minutes.

3 Step

Sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, milk powder if using, ground spices, and salt), and use a fork or whisk to combine.

4 Step

After butter/molasses mixture has cooled, add sour cream, lemon curd, and orange zest and mix on low to combine.

5 Step

Keep mixer on low speed and gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients; mix until just combined.

6 Step

Using a small scoop, put batter into lined muffin pans; fill about 2/3 full. Bake 12-13 minutes until a tester or toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing from pan and placing on a cooling rack.

7 Step

Let gingerbread cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Option 1: Leave gingerbread cupcakes without frosting. Option 2: Dust with confectioner's/powdered sugar if you don't want to make frosting.

8 Step

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, butter, lemon curd (if using), and vanilla extract in mixing bowl and mix until combined and smooth. With mixer on low speed, gradually add confectioner's/powdered sugar until it's smooth and the desired consistency. If it seems thin, add more sugar. If it seems stiff, add a few drops of milk to thin.

9 Step

Frost gingerbread cupcakes after they are completely cooled.

10 Step

This recipe makes 12 full-size cupcakes (bake for 25-30 minutes) or two 8"x8" cakes (bake for 35 minutes, rotating pans halfway through). A toothpick should have only fine, dry crumbs; if it comes out wet, bake for another few minutes.


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