We had our department holiday party last week and I decided to use the occasion as an excuse to bake some cupcakes. Gingerbread cupcakes have been on my mind for a while but I definitely wasn’t expecting to struggle so much with finding the right recipe. It wasn’t until the third batch that I finally got a recipe tweaked to my satisfaction- moist and flavorful with just the right balance of spices. If you’re still looking for a treat to serve over the holidays I think these would be a great addition to any meal.
The cupcakes themselves are delicious, but it’s the orange cream cheese frosting that really puts them over the top. Be sure to use an organic orange for the zest, an organic orange will be so much more flavorful than its conventional counterpart and you want that citrus flavor to shine.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cupcake tin with 12 paper liners.
Combine the melted butter, brown sugar and molasses and set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
Add the egg to the melted butter mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup of the water followed by half the dry mixture. Add the remaining water and dry ingredients, stir until smooth and well combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out cleanly. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and add the powdered sugar. Once combined, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and orange zest. Frost the cooled cupcakes and garnish with additional orange zest, coarse sugar, or candied ginger. Store the cupcakes in the fridge; bring to room temperature before serving.
A former member of CROPP’s Sustainability Department, Annie has relocated to Indiana but remains a CROPPie at heart. Annie has a M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and continues to work in the field of environmental sustainability. When she and her yellow lab Boomer aren't outside exploring local hiking trails, Annie can usually be found in the kitchen. While she cooks for subsistence, Annie’s real passion lies in creating indulgent baked goods for friends and family.