Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Cream Cheese Icing

These Gingerbread Cupcakes are some of the moistest cupcakes ever, and they’re topped with my new favorite icing. The cupcake is light and fluffy and the icing is a mix of caramel, molasses and cream cheese! Yum!

If you like these cupcakes, be sure to try my yummy Gingerbread Cookies with Eggnog Icing too!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting

So I recently started reading a new book/study. It’s called “Blueprint for Life”. It’s about discovering your purpose for your life based on God’s plan for you and creating a plan to achieve it. I’m only a couple chapters in, but so far I love it.

I was talking to my mom about it (because we pretty much talk about everything) and she said this one thing that I thought was so true and relevant. Sometimes we look for God’s purpose for us to be some hugely profound thing, and sometimes we are just making too much of it.

One of the things the book talks about is that our purpose doesn’t have to be mission work, or something big and obvious in order to serve God. The connection between what we do and God’s purpose can be indirect. It can be through donations, our roles as a wife, mother, neighbor, friend, etc. Sometimes, it’s as simple as stepping out of our comfort zone and giving someone a hug when they need it.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing

That was such a great thing to read. I’ve recently been trying to figure out – in a more tangible way – what God’s plan for my life is. And given our struggle to have kids, I’m wondering what it all means. Is there another purpose for me that I’m missing? I’ve been feeling like it should be something much bigger and more obvious than what I’m already doing. What I’m realizing is that that isn’t necessarily true. God puts certain desires in our heart in order to lead us to his purpose, and that purpose can change with time.

It’s a great read and while it’s actually given me some peace with some things, it’s also made me realize that I could be better in others – particularly the things I do for others.

Between working full-time and all the work I put into this blog, I sometimes don’t follow through in my relationships and doing things I’d like to do. For example, I’ve been meaning to reach out to a neighbor I know is going through a tough time and I haven’t done it. I need to be better about those things. That feeling should not be ignored.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing

I’ve also realized (through the helpful pointing out of my mom 🙂 ) that there are some things that I need to let go of. For me, I am a total perfectionist in so many things. It ends up making me a bit of a control freak with those things – unwilling to accept help because I’m afraid it won’t be done the way I want it to be done.

So a couple nights ago, I began to hand over control of the bill paying to the hubs. I’ve just always done it, have a method down, and it’s SO hard for me to let go. So hard that even talking about it with the hubs and telling him I wanted to do that made me cry. And yet, he’s thrilled. He’s been wanting to do it. It’s great because it takes something off my plate, and also will be something that he’ll like doing. Why has it taken me so long?

Anyways, I just felt like sharing. 🙂 It’s a great book so far. But back to the cupcakes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing

How to Make The Best Gingerbread Cupcakes

The molasses and brown sugar in the cupcake add great moisture and flavor. And it’s got just the right amount of spice. I started with my vanilla cupcake recipe (which you guys are loving!) and altered from there. I just love the recipe as a base, because it’s such an easy one to throw together. One bowl, no crazy mixing, just regular ingredients. The only thing to make sure of when mixing everything together is that you don’t over mix the batter. Unlike other batters, you don’t want to mix this for very long, just enough time for everything to come together, scrape down the sides and mix again. Once it’s smooth, you’re done. Over-mixing these cupcakes can cause them to sink in the middle.

The icing is a new favorite. Instead of making caramel on the stove, I decided to try a microwave method. The brown sugar and butter are melted together in the microwave for a few minutes, until the sugar has mostly dissolved. The caramel cools for a few minutes, while you put together the other parts of the icing, and then added in. The caramel and molasses make a great combo.

One note about the icing – it may seem a little gritty at first from the brown sugar, but once the icing sits for a few hours it’ll be smooth. I’ve made it a few times now and just go ahead and ice the cupcakes and let them sit until ready to serve. The icing gets smooth and is so delicious!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing

Other Gingerbread Treats

Moist Gingerbread Layer Cake
Gingerbread Cheesecake
Gingerbread Cookies with Eggnog Icing
Nutty Gingerbread House
Gingerbread Roll Cake

Print
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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Cream Cheese Icing on burlap
Recipe

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Cream Cheese Icing

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 38 minutes
  • Yield: 14-16 cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These Gingerbread Cupcakes are some of the moistest cupcakes ever, and they’re topped with my new favorite icing. The cupcake is light and fluffy and the icing is a mix of caramel, molasses and cream cheese! Yum!


Ingredients

GINGERBREAD CUPCAKES

  • 1 2/3 cups (240g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200g) packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup salted butter (170g), room temperature
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) molasses
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) milk

CARAMEL MOLASSES CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • 1 cup butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 oz cup cream cheese
  • 45 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 12 tbsp milk or water, if needed

Instructions

CUPCAKES:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together all dry ingredients (everything before the butter) in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix on medium speed just until smooth. Do not over mix.
4. Fill cupcake liners about half way.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes.
6. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.

ICING:

1. Place 1/2 cup of butter and brown sugar into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval, until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 3 minutes. It’ll boil and bubble up. Set caramel aside to cool.
2. Cream remaining 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese until smooth.
3. Add 3 cups powdered sugar and 1 tbsp milk or water to butter mixture and beat until smooth.
4. Pour caramel into icing and mix until smooth.
5. Add another 1-2 cups of powdered sugar.
6. Add molasses and milk or water, if needed, to reach desired icing consistency.

Notes

Icing might seem a little gritty at first, from the brown sugar, if it didn’t dissolve all the way. After the icing sits for a few hours, it’ll absorb into the icing and become smooth. Also, you may notice little bits of butter in the batter, but that’s ok. They will melt into the cupcake as they bake.

Keywords: gingerbread cupcakes, gingerbread icing, caramel icing recipe, cream cheese icing, cream cheese icing recipe, gingerbread recipe, how to make gingerbread

Enjoy!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Icing collage

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Recipe rating

66 Comments
  1. Julie

    I just want you to know I love all of your recipes.  I think they are awesome and you seem like a very sweet person. I’m amazed at how critical and cranky people can be.  I just so appreciate you sharing all of your wonderful recipes.  It’s a ton of work and I can’t imagine how you have to check and recheck. Thanks for posting. 
    Honestly they are tasty and you totally rock. Woot. 

  2. Lisa

    Just made these cupcakes. The house smells wonderful. Of course I hade to try one and they are moist and flavorful. I’m going to freeze these for a luncheon next week, have you frozen any and do they fair well? Are they still as moist? Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Joanne

    Hi, the mini gingerbread man cookies are too cute. Assuming you bought them, please share where 😀 Thanks in advance!

  4. Alice

    I have one question just for clarification:
    When do I add the butter? Is the butter to be incorporated into the dry ingredients and then mixed with the wet ingredients?

    I’m going to make these soon and I am making sure I’m all clear on the instructions 

  5. Lauren

    Hi Lindsay! I’ve made these cupcakes three years in a row now and they’re always a huge hit! I’ve also frozen them in the past and I’m happy to report that they freeze and defrost beautifully. Now I have a new question: If I were to make these into mini cupcakes, how long would you suggest baking them for?

    Thank you!

      1. Lauren

        Thanks so much! Your blog is my absolute favorite – everything I’ve made from you turns out wonderfully! Merry Christmas!

    1. Alice

      Hi Lauren can you assist me by telling me if the butter is added to the dry ingredients and then the dry is added to the wet? I just want to be clear and sure and since u have made these and loved them I want to be sure mines comes out perfect… thank u

  6. Princess

    Hey Lindsay I am making these cupcakes next weekend can you tell me the brand of the cookies or where you purchase them from, as always I really enjoy your recipes, and blog….

    1. Lindsay

      Gosh, it’s been so long since I made these, I’m not sure. There are some Pepperidge Farms cookies that are similar. Thanks Princess!

  7. Anna

    This looks really great! I would like to try them out, but I live in Sweden and can’t find any molasses. Do you think I can use cane syrup instead? I have no idea what molasses tastes like so I’m a little bit lost…

    1. Lindsay

      Hmmm, that’s a tough one to answer. I’m not sure that the syrup would bake as well. It’d definitely have a different flavor.

    2. Charity

      Hi! I grew up in the UK and the substitute there for molasses is treacle, not sure if you have that in Sweden, though…

    1. Lindsay

      I tend to add it when it’s a little warm. It should cool a bit, but it doesn’t have to be cold or completely room temp.

  8. Ginger

    I’ve made these cupcakes before and they are amazing! Yummy!! Curious, I’d like to make this in to a bundt cake, will this work? Will this be enough batter?

  9. Steph

    Made this frosting to go with a different gingerbread cake recipe and it was perfect! Love the combination of caramel, molasses and cream cheese. Thanks for a new favorite frosting!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      The caramel is actually made from the first two ingredients listed for the icing (the butter and brown sugar). It’s sort of a microwave caramel. It’s the first step in the instructions for the icing.

  10. Andrea

    Hi, I live in Perú and I don’t know where can I find molasses. So can I use some type of syrup, like maple syrup to replace it?
    Thank you!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      I’m really not sure of a good substitute. Maple syrup would give the cupcake a very different texture and flavor.

  11. Amanda

    Made these tonight for a Christmas party tomorrow, and just tried one of the 6 that wouldn’t fit into my cake carrier. And omg, that cupcake was the best thing I have ever put in my mouth! I ended up with 18 cupcakes, using a cupcake measurer. Like the commenter above, I also noticed the bits of butter, but I made your vanilla cupcakes recently and remembered you had mentioned that the bits of butter were fine, and they would melt. So I wasn’t concerned. I even added the little gingerbread men. Head over heels for this recipe, and I’m slowly making my way through the rest on your website. 🙂 thank you!!!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      That’s wonderful! I’m so, so glad you are happy with them and the other recipes you’ve tried! 🙂

  12. Lee

    I’m not familiar with blogging etiquette, but I think it’s very rude to have changed your recipe based on my comment, delete my comment, and not respond to my question. Also, FYI a 1/2 tbsp (of ground ginger) and 1.5 tsp (of ground cinnamon) are the same amount. Why not use either 1/2 tbsp OR 1.5 tsp? You just confuse your readers by using different measurements. Finally, I tried your method of dry ingredients first, then mix in wet ingredients and the butter did not incorporate and the batter was not smooth. I tried again by creaming the butter with the brown sugar first, then added wet ingredients, then mix in dry ingredients. That resulted in a smooth batter and the cupcakes were fantastic. But you’ve lost my respect.

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Hi Lee, I did not in fact delete your comment. You’ll now see that it is there. This blog is not my full time job. I have another job that I do during the day. I saw your comment and did want to respond, but didn’t have time at that moment. I didn’t, however, want you or others to be confused so I went ahead and clarified the instructions. Since I’m not working my full time job on my Saturday, I’m here responding to comments now, which is why you’ll now see both of your comments are visible. You are correct that 1/2 tbsp and 1 1/2 tsp are the same. Again, this is not my full time job and some things do get missed. I appreciate you pointing that out, as I don’t want to be confusing and I will fix that. No need to be rude. Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes. Thanks.

      1. Mhenson

        Can you tell me if you use dark or light brown sugar? Also I was planning to use cream cheese icing with cinnamon do you thinking that would be a good pairing? These look wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

      2. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

        You could use either, but I use light brown sugar. I think the cinnamon cream cheese icing sounds great!

  13. 25 Fun and Festive Christmas Recipes - On Sugar Mountain

    […] Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Molasses Cream Cheese Icing from Life, Love and Sugar […]

  14. Lee

    I’m looking forward to making these for a party tonight. Question-The icing instructions refer to ‘creamer’ which doesn’t appear on the ingredient list. Does the recipe call for creamer? Can I use milk instead?

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      My guess is they’d freeze fine. I always wrap frozen cake in two layers – a layer of saran wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil.

      1. Lauren

        Thanks for the reply! I made these tonight for a Christmas Eve party and will freeze them until then – I’ll let you know how it goes! Of course I sampled one (or two…) right out of the oven and I could not believe how delicious they are! So moist! I can’t wait to make the frosting 🙂

  15. Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking

    Oh Lindsay, I’m SO proud of you for letting go of the bills! I’m a perfectionist (and basically control-freak) too, so I understand how hard it is to relinquish the reigns. It almost feels like defeat and giving up, when it actuality, we’re just asking for help. Even though it seems like a tiny step to most people, letting your hubby take care of the bills in a huge leap for you — you’re incredible for doing that! 🙂 And these cupcakes… I really want to reach through my computer and grab one right now. Pinned!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Thanks Amy! Glad someone understands how hard it is. 🙂 I have to say though, it felt so great and has worked out well so far that I let him take care of a couple other things this week and we’re both loving it, haha. Kind of a breakthrough. 🙂

  16. Lindsey+@+American+Heritage+Cooking

    These look amazing! I had a similar idea (with a different frosting) but now I just want to forget testing my recipes and make yours! Molasses in the frosting is just the best idea ever! Pinned!

  17. Michelle { A Latte Food }

    I completely know what you mean! It’s often so easy to think that God’s purpose for us should be something so profound that we forget about how big of an impact a small act of kindness can bring. Serving God can be in the smallest of ways. I’m also incredibly guilty of not trusting the Lord with my future. I can easily give some areas of my life, but I also find some areas to be difficult to let go of. I am so sorry about you and your husband’s struggles to have children. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but, even though we have never met, know that my prayers are with you. I apologize for this novel, but, your cupcakes look beautiful! Pinned 🙂

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Thank you so much Michelle! You are spot on. Letting go is the hardest thing, but if definitely brings some peace.

  18. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures

    That sounds like a fantastic book, especially during the holiday season! Yummy cupcakes too!

  19. Julianne+@+Beyond+FRosting

    These are super cute! I would love to try that icing! I do know how hard it can be to give things up, and Dell is constantly telling me I need to do less. I just can’t stop.

  20. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking

    These are BEYOND adorable. I share the same issues w/r/t finding God’s purpose AND control — so this post was especially timely for me! Just like you’ve been meaning to chat with your neighbor, I’ve been meaning to do this act of kindness/generosity and acquired all the materials I needed to do it — but life has been getting in the way. Thanks for the reminder <3

  21. Beth

    These are the most adorable cupcakes I’ve ever seen. Those gingerbread men are so cute! I should check that book out from the library 🙂

  22. tanya

    About a month or so ago, we had this same sort of discussion at church. I think we naturally assume that we when say “Gods plan for us” we assume it’s something earth shattering-that we were meant to move mountains, but you are right. Often it’s the little things we are meant to do and we should do them well and with all our hearts because that’s what God wants. I am rambling. Sorry. I should just read the book! I love gingerbread and that frosting is incredible!

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      No, you’re not rambling – that’s exactly what I was talking about! You hit the nail on the head Tanya. 🙂

  23. Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    That icing sounds smooth and delicious. Oh how cute these are! If only I could find the time to make them for the kiddos.
    Pinned.

    Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving Lindsay!

  24. Shakira

    I want to make these for a holiday party. Do we use unsalted butter? Im a novice. Love love love your blog

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Thanks Shakira! 🙂 I use salted butter, but you could use unsalted. If you use unsalted, you’ll want to add about 1/4 tsp of salt to the recipe.

  25. Mir

    I think your blog pretty much gives away that fact that you’re a perfectionist, Lindsay. I mean, everything you bake is perfect.
    I hear what you’re saying, but also take the time to give yourself credit for all the good you do. I’m sure you do a lot more than you think. We can always get better, but we also tend to be our own biggest critics.

    1. lifeloveandsugar@gmail.com

      Thank you Mir. 🙂 I’m definitely my own biggest critic and I know that. I’m just trying to focus more on not letting busy-ness get in the way of some other things, you know? I easily get caught up in what needs to get done. 🙂

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12