Gingerbread cupcakes are individual cup-shaped dessert cakes that have a rich flavor. Their taste is similar to that of gingerbread cookies since many of the same spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice are often used. Either cream cheese icing or butter cream frosting is typically used to top gingerbread cupcakes.
Some bakers like to add both cinnamon and molasses to the icing or frosting to give the cupcakes even more of a gingerbread taste. While butter cream frosting is typically very sweet, the cream cheese variety used on the cupcakes may feature lemon or orange juice and zest added to reduce the sweetness for a more refreshing taste. Maple syrup may be added to cream cheese icing to add richness along with sweetness. For chocolate gingerbread cupcakes, cocoa may be added to butter cream frosting as well as the cupcake batter.
While there are different recipe variations, it's common for gingerbread cupcake directions to have the various spices be blended in with the dry ingredients such as flour, baking soda and salt. Molasses as well as vanilla extract are often stirred into a fluffy beaten egg and brown sugar mixture. Portions of the dry ingredients then get stirred into the wet ingredients until everything is well blended. The completed batter is then ready to be spooned into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers for baking. Spices in the batter can make the gingerbread cupcakes create a delicious aroma in the kitchen while they bake.
After the cupcakes have thoroughly cooled, they can be frosted. Some bakers like to spread on the frosting or icing with a knife before adding candies or sprinkles to decorate the tops. Others prefer to pipe on icing from a cake decorating bag into a high peak and perhaps add candy sprinkles or chopped nuts. Especially if gingerbread cupcakes are being made for a special occasion like Christmas, they may be baked but frozen until it's closer to the occasion. Then the cupcakes may be thawed, frosted and decorated before serving.
Holiday gingerbread cupcakes are often decorated to suit the season. They may be served at Christmas parties or at a holiday dinner for dessert. The rich array of spices used in the cupcakes makes them ideal for cooler rather than warmer seasons. Gingerbread is one of the cupcake flavors that can taste especially good with coffee or another warming beverage such as hot apple cider.