What I love about these ginger cupcakes is the delicate simplicity of a honey sweetened cake. So often, ginger is paired with dark sugars that we inevitably connect with gingerbread houses.
Here’s the thing though, fresh ginger is worth using in cake all year round, not just December. It’s delicately spicy and contrasts beautifully with cream cheese frosting.
Speaking of dream cheese frosting, I greeted my husband with a cake stand full of these ginger cupcakes for his birthday and made him guess the flavor. As he took a bite, a gob of cream cheese frosting clung to his beard. He gave me a quizzical look, and immediately said, “ginger.” I’m not sure what pleased me more, watching him lick the frosting from his lips, a smile on his face, or knowing that the ginger flavor was discernible.
Baking Cake with Honey
These are not cloyingly sweet cupcakes with white sugar and artificial coloring. What they ARE is an adult cupcake for those of us who want something to be just sweet enough and celebratory. Here’s an affiliate link for the gold cupcake liners for those of you who like the glam.
I recommend following the recipe to a T for best results. Be sure to generously slather with cream cheese frosting and enjoy as fresh as possible for the best texture. Once refrigerated, these cupcakes firm up a bit and are most delicious at room temperature.
Ginger Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour, spoon & leveled
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 6 T unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 T honey
- 1 T ginger juice, from 3-4″ piece
- 1 pinch salt
- Remove ingredients 1 hour before using to bring to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners plus a second pan with 2 liners, for 14 cupcakes total. Set aside.
Make the cupcakes
- Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and salt together and set aside.
- To emulsify the wet ingredients, it’s crucial to use room temperature ingredients. Beat the butter on high speed using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until smooth and creamy (1 minute). Add the honey and beat on high speed for an additional 2 minutes until emulsified. Scrape the sides using a spatula as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in the sour cream until smooth.
- Mix at low speed, and slowly add the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then add the milk just until combined. Be careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling no more than 2/3 of the way. Be careful not to spill–I like to use a measuring cup to pour. Bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until smooth and creamy (2 minutes). Add powdered sugar, honey, ginger juice, and salt while running mixer on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Taste and add an extra pinch of salt if you like.