Gingerbread Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
The cutest, sweetest holiday treat, made gluten free!
I can't tell you how often I've wanted to share a freshly baked cupcake with someone only to have them tell me they can't have gluten. My heart sinks every time! It happened recently at a holiday party, where I made gingerbread cupcakes for over 150 guests. They were delicious, adorable and positively perfect for the occasion. I was so excited to see the response. However, they were turned down by gluten free attendees. If you're a baker, you understand how it feels to spend hours on a creation only to have it pushed aside.
These gingerbread cupcakes are sooooo yummy! They need to be shared! Determined to get them into every belly this holiday season I made the recipe gluten free. So no excuses! Eat a cupcake!
Creating a gluten free recipe is simple- start by checking the existing ingredients. You may find no change is needed. For example a flourless chocolate soufflé is typically gluten free from the start. If the ingredients contain gluten, find a proper substitute. Luckily, most baking ingredients, such as butter, sugars, spices, nuts, salt, maple syrup, molasses, cream cheese, and (thank goodness) high quality chocolates are gluten free. The culprit is most often the flour.
My gluten free all-purpose flour of choice is King Arthur. The taste and texture is wonderful. The secret, however, is adding xantham gum. A bit of xantham gum is needed to replace the binding power of gluten. The ratio I use when substituting standard all-purpose flour for gluten free all-purpose flour is: 1:1, with the addition of 1/4 tsp xantham gum for every 1 cup of gluten free all-purpose flour. Easy enough, right?
Now that we have that settled, let's talk about the unbelievable flavor of these cupcakes! The spices and molasses come together to create a deep, rich, and hearty gingerbread flavor. Then that flavor is enhanced by fluffy, tangy, lightly spiced cinnamon cream cheese frosting. They're truly perfection. My husband, who's never been a fan of anything ginger, loved these cupcakes. And now that they're made gluten free, no one will be able to resist them. Trust me, you need to make these this holiday season.
To give these cupcakes some personality, I added a gingerbread man shaped spiced sugar cookie to the top. Aren't they cutest things ever? Not to mention, a delicious addition. The cookie tastes incredible with the spiced cream cheese frosting. To add a spiced sugar cookie see my Spiced Sugar Cookie recipe here, but, if staying gluten free, make sure to substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten free all-purpose flour, following the ratio above.
Gingerbread Cupcakes (Gluten Free)
* Makes 12 standard cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup molasses (I use Grandmas's Molasses)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups King Arthur gluten free all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp xantham gum
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- Preheat oven to 350°F (375°F if at high altitude). Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the gluten free all-purpose flour, xantham gum, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice together till combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. About 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the egg, and beat until combined. Scrap down the bowl as needed.
- Add the milk, molasses, and vanilla, beat on medium speed. Batter will look a bit chunky and not fully mixed. This is normal.
- Mixing on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake on center rack for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If making mini cupcakes, bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup if frosting isn't thick enough, sifted
- 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat till smooth.
- Add the vanilla and cinnamon. Beat on hight speed for 1 minute till light and fluffy.
- Frost the cupcakes with a generous swirl and top with a cookie, if desired.
Baker's Notes: If at high altitude, see my post for adjustments. Cupcakes can be made one day ahead, frosted, and chilled.