Cranberry Gingerbread Cupcakes
A crowd-pleasing dessert that brings together fall flavor favorites, featuring a gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting and cranberries two ways.
  • Cupcakes:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 large egg
  • Icing:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Cranberry Jelly Filling:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 12 oz. (about 1 ½ cups) fresh cranberries
  • peel from 1 medium orange
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon
  • ground ginger
  • Simple Syrup Ingredients:
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • Sugared Cranberry Topping:
  • 1 cup whole fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup sanding sugar or turbinado sugar or
  • granulated sugar
  • ½ cup simple syrup
  1. To make cupcakes
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Line 16 cupcake cups with paper liners, or spray with cooking spray.
  4. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir to combine.
  5. In a large, heat-safe bowl, add butter, brown sugar, molasses and boiling water. Whisk to combine until the butter is melted.
  6. Let butter mixture cool for 2-3 minutes, then add egg and stir to combine.
  7. Add the flour and spice blend to the wet ingredients and stir until lump-free.
  8. Scoop ¼ cup of batter into each cupcake liner.
  9. Bake 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  10. Remove cakes from pan and place on cooling rack.
  11. To make icing
  12. Place icing ingredients in standing mixer with paddle attachment and turn on medium to combine. Option: place ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer.
  13. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
  14. Store in fridge until ready to use. Icing can also be made 1-2 hours in advance. If icing is made in advance, remove from fridge and let sit on counter at room temperature for 10 minutes before spreading on cupcakes.
  15. To make cranberry jelly filling
  16. Add water and sugar to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  17. Once boiling, add cranberries, orange and ginger to saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes.
  18. Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Press with a spoon to remove as much liquid as possible from the solids. Discard solids.
  19. Cool strained liquid in fridge for at least 1 hour to thicken.
  20. To make simple syrup
  21. Add ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  22. Turn off heat, remove pan from heat and let cool.
  23. Syrup can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to three weeks. Yield ½ cup.
  24. To make sugared cranberries
  25. Place sanding sugar in a small bowl.
  26. In a medium bowl, toss whole cranberries with simple syrup.
  27. Working with 3-4 cranberries at a time, remove cranberries from the syrup and add to bowl with sanding sugar.
  28. Toss to coat, then remove cranberries and place on a separate plate.
  29. Store on counter until cupcakes are ready to garnish, or make just before serving.
  30. To build cupcakes
  31. Cut a ½-inch deep round in the center top of each cupcake.
  32. Spoon in cranberry jelly filling (about 1 ½ tablespoons per cupcake) and replace the removed top.
  33. Once each cupcake is filled, top with frosting.
  34. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  35. Once ready to plate and serve, top each cupcake with 1 sugared cranberry.
  1. Carlene Thomas, RDN, LD, Healthfully Ever After