Chocolate Gingerbread Caramel Swiss Buttercream Cupcakes with Gingersnap Streusel

How to make chocolate gingerbread cupcake

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Chocolate Gingerbread cupcakes are baked and frosted with Caramel Swiss Buttercream Frosting, drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with Gingersnap Streusel.


Units Scale

Caramel Sauce (make in advance)

  • 11/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, slightly warmed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, tested Kerry Gold – room temperature

Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • 21/3 cups all purpose flour + 1/4 cup Baking Cocoa-tested Equal Exchange organic
  • 21/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 11/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, nutmeg & ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter-tested Kerry Gold room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Grandma’s molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 11/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 11/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup caramel or purchased caramel ice cream topping

Gingerbread Streusel:

  • 3/4 cup crushed gingersnap cookies or cinnamon graham crackers
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup butter, chilled 1/2″ cubes




Gingerbread Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pan with paper liners, set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.
  • Cream together butter until smooth in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Gradually add sugars and beat on med-high until fluffy and mixture is pale in color about 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium low speed to incorporate.  Add molasses and vanilla and mix until well blended.
  • Alternate flour/cocoa mixture with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Do not over mix.
  • With ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner with batter. Smooth the tops with an off set spatula.
  • Place in middle of oven and bake at 350 for 22-25  minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If there are a few crumbs thats good too.
  • Remove from oven and cool cupcakes on wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Caramel Sauce (Can be made ahead)

  1. Place sugar and water into a medium saucepan, stir to combine sugar and water, but do not stir from this point forward. Cook over medium high heat, washing down the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water as needed to prevent crystals from forming on side of pan.
  2. Allow sugar to boil, there will be bubbles around the edges of saucepan and then in all over. Cook until desired color of amber caramel is reached.
  3. Immediately remove from heat. Very slowly pour in warmed heavy cream while whisking quickly.(Mixture will bubble up and boil so this is normal).
  4. Add butter, return to heat, and bring back to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes whisking constantly.
  5. Caramel will become thicker once cooled. Chill caramel in refrigerator while making cupcakes and frosting.

Gingersnap Streusel Garnish for Cupcakes ( can be made ahead)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Place cookies or cinnamon graham crackers in zip lock baggie and crush.
  3. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl.  After pieces resemble small peas place on baking sheet in heated oven at 325 for 10 minutes.  Watch to make sure it does not burn.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  It should be crunchy and slightly browned.  If streusel is too large, place in zip lock bag and crush slightly until you get desired size. Set aside as a garnish for cupcakes.

Caramel Swiss Buttercream

  1. In mixing bowl of stand mixer, add room temperature egg whites and brown sugar. Whisk by hand the sugar egg mixture until sugar is well incorporated in egg whites.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with 2″ of water over medium high heat, bring water to a boil.
  3. Place mixing bowl with whites/sugar mixture over boiling water and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160-165 degrees F.  (Use a candy thermometer to check temperature).
  4. Place the mixing bowl on stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and beat on medium high until  mixture becomes like meringue, thick and shiny. About 5-8 minutes.  The bottom of the bowl should be cool enough to touch. Keep beating until it cools.
  5. Change whisk to paddle on mixer and gradually add room temperature butter slices to meringue, continue to whip meringue until all the butter is incorporated.
  6. Add caramel to the meringue and whip until blended.

Assembling the Cupcakes

Fill piping bag fitted with tip # 1 M with caramel buttercream.  Pipe large swirls on top center of each cooled cupcake.  Place 4 tablespoons of caramel in custard cup and microwave a few seconds to thin. Drizzle each cupcake with caramel sauce, sprinkle with cooled gingersnap streusel.

Serve immediately. Any leftover cupcakes should be refrigerated.


  • Make Caramel sauce and streusel one day ahead or morning of bake.
  • Use Grandmas molasses and not black strap for best tasting cupcakes.
  • Use a candy thermometer to test egg white/sugar mix for meringue.
  • Make sure you do not get any trace of egg yolk after separating for frosting. Egg yolk will destroy the meringue.
  • Use room temperature butter for frosting. I tested Kerry Gold for best flavor.
  • Cupcakes after baking can be made ahead and frozen until ready to frost. Do not freeze with frosting.
  • Frosting makes enough for 3- 6″ round cakes, or 24-30 cupcakes.
  • This recipe makes 20 standard cupcakes.