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.
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48 Responses to “Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes”

  1. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — November 28, 2011 @ 6:43 am

    These look so good. The recipe and the photography are just beautiful!

    And I have seen them on both FG and TS in the last few mins…congrats on that too :)


  2. #
    Quyen - Kitchen Runway — November 28, 2011 @ 7:09 am

    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!


  3. #
    Christopher Campbell — November 28, 2011 @ 9:42 am

    Mmm, those looks heavenly. I’ll definitely love to make some this coming weekend. Thanks for the recipe!


  4. #
    Esther — November 28, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    These sound delicious! Husband loves Sbux’s Gingerbread Latte, so I am sure he’d love these.


  5. #
    Kerry — November 28, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    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!


  6. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — November 28, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

    Absolutely darling!


  7. #
    Lauren — November 28, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

    How fun and cute are these?! Love this idea! And those cupcake liners are darling!


  8. #
    Becca — November 28, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

    I think I might like this better than the SBUX’s drink.


  9. #
    Liz @ Southern Charm — November 28, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

    I’m drooling! LOVE the creativity!!


  10. #
    Living The Sweet Life — November 28, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    I love how adorable these are!! Such a great flavour to add to a cupcake ~ these are perfect.


  11. #
    Jessica @ How Sweet — November 28, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    Could these be any more fun? I think not.


  12. #
    Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen — November 28, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    You would not want to know how much of a fetish i have with Gingerbread man! and yours are just so frickin’ cute!!!


  13. #
    Kristen — November 28, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

    Those are super cute, Naomi!


  14. #
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — November 28, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

    LOVE These! You never disappoint!


  15. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — November 28, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

    I’ll take one of those over a Starbucks latte any day, those are super cute and I LOVE ginger!


  16. #
    Jennifer — November 28, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

    OMG-These are too cute!


  17. #
    Diane {Created by Diane} — November 29, 2011 @ 1:23 am

    oh I love these, they are adorable and sound so delicious!!!


  18. #
    nicole {sweet peony} — November 29, 2011 @ 1:27 am

    do you ever stop being awesome?! these cupcakes are amazing & so darn cute!! i’ve never had a starbucks gingerbread latte but i can say for certain that i will be making these cupcakes! looooove them :)


  19. #
    Stephke — November 29, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    So cute!!!


  20. #
    Lori — November 29, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

    Gorgeous! What piping tool did you use for the frosting?


  21. #
    Lori — November 29, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

    Sorry got it didn’t read the full post, thanks.


  22. #
    Lori — November 29, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    Where did you get the mini gingerbread? Thanks.


  23. #
    Sourkraut — November 29, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    These look delicious! Absolutely perfect for the holidays. Thanks for sharing.


  24. #
    Vanessa — November 29, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    These are oh so cute! And creative. <3


  25. #
    gangybuffet — December 5, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    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!


  26. #
    Darla | Bakingdom — December 12, 2011 @ 5:16 am

    These are so beautiful!! I have a gingerbread cupcake I’m posting soon, and I only hope they’re as lovely as yours are…and now I have to try them with coffee, cause Y-U-M!!


  27. #
    Vanderbilt Wife — December 13, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

    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!


  28. #
    Jeniece — November 29, 2012 @ 6:33 am

    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!


  29. #
    Joy — November 15, 2013 @ 11:48 am

    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!


  30. #
    Maia — November 23, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

    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.


  31. #
    Beckie — December 5, 2013 @ 3:15 am

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


  32. #
    Retha — December 8, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

    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!


  33. #
    Hala — December 18, 2013 @ 12:06 am

    Theses look wonderful.. except for the coffee but I guess I can sub with hot water as i can see in the comment right?


  34. #
    Jennifer — December 23, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

    I see crystalized ginger on the ingredient list – does that go in the frosting??


  35. #
    reena — January 8, 2014 @ 1:33 pm

    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!


  36. #
    NinaBean — October 9, 2014 @ 6:29 pm

    so pretty. where did you get the cookies and cupcake papers?


  37. #
    karey — October 9, 2014 @ 6:47 pm

    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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