Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

I’m trading in the Starbucks cup for a cupcake liner, more accurately, a few liners. Find your Christmas flavors in this gingerbread cupcake recipe. Throw some coffee in the batter and your all set for a perfectly baked gingerbread latte. Giving balance to the spice is a lemon cream cheese for an acidic bite of sweetness.

Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

A few weeks ago, I ordered a gingerbread latte from Starbucks to kick my holiday mood into high gear. Most days I’m a black coffee consumer with a few sugars added to it. But during the holidays I usually kick start it with a Starbucks Gingerbread Latte and then rotate it with Peppermint Mocha.

This year my holiday kick start tasted like a hot cup of potpourri. I’m not sure if Starbucks changed the formula, but it was overly sweet and artificial tasting-like a stinky bathroom candle.

Yes, I’m still a bit bitter that I spent nearly five dollars on a drink that completely disappointed.

To right that wrong, I decided to get mixing and flip my holiday kick start into a cupcake. . . .And as I have mentioned before, goodness can always be found between the pleats of a cupcake liner.

You will LOVE these.

A few notes:

  • The base recipe I used is Epicurious’ Gingerbread Cupcakes.
  • The changes I made. I subbed out the boiling water for very hot coffee to give it the latte profile. The original recipe also calls for cloves, but I subbed it for cardamom-since I’m not a fan of cloves.
  • The original recipe finishes the cupcakes with crystallized ginger, but I opted for what you see in the picture.
  • To decorate the cupcakes, I used a round tip for the the first layer and then rimmed it with crushed gingerbread cookies and then used Wilton’s 2D tip for a ruffled frosting layer and topped it with a gingerbread cookie.
  • Want to know the key to a moist cupcake? Hot liquids-or so it seems. Every cupcake that I’ve made that requires either  hot milk, hot coffee, hot water-a hot liquid of any kind always yields a moist cupcake.
  • For more Starbucks holiday drinks turned cupcake? Click here for my Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Slightly adapted from Epicurious

Makes 12 cupcakes | Preparation: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line wells of cupcake pan with paper liners.


Gingerbread Cupcake:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1/2 cup strong, very hot coffee
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced crystallized ginger


To make the cupcakes:

  1. Add flour, the ground ginger, the cinnamon, the cloves, the allspice, and the salt in a bowl and sifc.
  2. Add 1/2 stick of the butter and granulated sugar in bowl and beat until mixture is pale and fluffy. Add molasses and egg beat until the mixture is smooth. In a measuring cup combine the baking soda with 1/2 cup very hot strong coffee water and stir until baking soda is dissolved. Stir the baking soda mixture into the molasses mixture (the mixture will appear curdled) and the combined molasses and baking soda mixture into the flour mixture, stir until ingredients are well combined.
  3. Fill cupcake liners halfway. Bake the cupcakes on the middle rack of a 350 degree °F. oven for about 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Cupcakes will be flat on top.) Transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Add cream cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla into a bowl and beat until fluffy and smooth. Add in the zest and lemon juice and beat to combine. Chill frosting for 30 minutes before using.


  1. says

    How fun and festive. Yes – It’s sad how much we spend these days on a warm cup of Starbucks… glad we can recreate the flavors in your cupcake! ps – I love these ginger bread men cookies from Trader Joes! On top of that – they’re super cute!


  2. says

    Any suggestins for an alternate to the lemon frosting? I feel like it doesn’t go with the addition of the coffee in the cupcake. Can’t wait to make these!


  3. says

    Hey just wanted to let you know I did a spotlight on your deserts on my website! hope you like it! Looking foreward to getting to know you as a new food blogger friend!


  4. says

    Ooh, I love the idea of putting cardamom in it. I tried making my own gingerbread latte creamer this year, since I refuse to pay so much for one at Starbucks … but I’m still working on it!


  5. Jeniece says

    These were awesome. Did it replace a gingerbread latte for me? No, but it certainly added to my cupcake repetoire. They were so easy to make and the lemon frosting was such an unexpected pleasant topping to the rich gingerbread cupcake. My boyfriend absolutely loved these so I will certainly be making them again!


  6. Joy says

    I just made these (I tweaked it a little, added some sherry and black pepper and used fresh ginger), and they are DEEVINE!!! Highly recommend. The lemon frosting DOES work with the “spicy” gingerbread, it’s absolutely SPOT ON!


  7. Maia says

    These were awful. They tasted strongly of baking soda and nothing else, despite the fact that I upped the spice amounts. They were made better by the honey Italian meringue buttercream I made for them, but otherwise no redeeming factors.


    • Naomi Robinson replied: — November 23rd, 2013 @ 8:15 pm

      Maia-I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy them. This is an Epicurious recipe that I made a very minimal adaptation to–more specifically–subbing the 1/4 teaspoon of cloves for cardamom since I’m not a fan of cloves. And a sub of hot coffee for hot water. I’m not sure why these was these “tasted strongly of baking soda and nothing else”.

      But if anyone else experiences this, please weigh-in and maybe together we can figure out why.

      Thanks for letting us know, Maia. Good or bad, I’m always happy when people share their thoughts and experience on any recipe.


  8. Beckie says

    Can’t wait to make these – they sound lush!! Not familiar with unsulfered molasses, is there anything I can substitute it with? xx


  9. Retha says

    I have made them several times, and they are always a hit. Made them again today, the only issue I had today is my frosting wasn’t thick enough, but in this Florida heat and humidity nothing surprises me, they still tasted great!


  10. reena says

    These look amazing! Question though: if the cupcakes come out flat but the finish is high and round, isn’t that a lot of icing? What exactly did you do to make it look high and round? Thanks!


  11. karey says

    How you felt about your last Starbuck`s drink is how I have felt about all I have order for aleast the last year. I even found the secret receipe and took it in. Didn`t taste like they said it would. (4 different drinks) So I am done trying-even the hubbs is feeling there is no consistency. I have found the via mocha powders though. Now I am in heaven. Don`t know why they can`t make it in the store that way.



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