When I think of gingerbread, I think chewy, dense, dark, spicy and mildly sweet. Gingerbread has a very distinct taste from the ground ginger. It has a warm spiciness with a dark sweetness. These cupcakes feature all of that and more!!
What makes these cupcakes the best?!
To make for a flavourful cupcake, I use ground ginger and ground all spice. These paired together give that perfect, warm gingerbread taste.
I use self raising flour, along with baking power and some bicarbonate of soda to make these cupcakes rise which makes them extra fluffy.
To bring out flavour even more, I add a splash of high quality maple syrup, which compliments the ginger extremely well, making for a really scrumptious cake!
For the cookies, I use dairy-free butter, dark brown soft sugar, maple syrup, and black treacle melted together in a pan. This is important as it makes sure that everything is fully incorporated. I use dark brown soft sugar and black treacle as I want the deep caramelly flavour, but these can be switched to soft light brown sugar and just maple syrup if needed.
These cookies are simply divine! They’re chewy, rich, have a slight crunch on the outside and bake evenly.
They are great to eat by themselves, iced with some vegan royal icing, or to help create these incredible gingerbread cupcakes.
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Speaking of the maple syrup, I used my all time favourite maple syrup, Pure Maple.
This maple syrup is delicious! I used their Dark Robust Maple Syrup, which tastes exactly how you would imagine. It’s rich, dark and has a treacle like flavour to it!
It’s vegan friendly and gluten-free. This is one of their most popular products…for good reason! It’s delicious!
I love adding maple syrup into gingerbread. It gives the gingerbread an extra level of flavour along with a tasty sweetness!
Maple syrup is a staple in my kitchen. I use it in my homemade iced coffee, pastry and of course, festive cookies.
I use black treacle in my gingerbread men, but the addition of the maple syrup really makes the flavour POP! It adds a much needed sweetness and another level of that classic, rich gingerbread flavour!
1 tablespoon of black strap molasses / black treacle
1/2 tablespoon of ground ginger
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c fan and line a cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
In a small bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, maple syrup, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Mix well to combine.
Add the oil to the ‘buttermilk’ and whisk to combine.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.
Fill the cases 3/4 full with the batter. Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.
Pop the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes. You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer down the center of the cakes and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.
Place the cupcakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully before frosting and decorating.
Method (gingerbread cookies)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees c fan. Place the butter/margarine, light brown sugar, molasses / treacle and maple syrup into a medium-sized saucepan and place onto the hob over low / medium heat and allow to melt together. Stir to combine. Do not burn!
In a separate bowl, add in the bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground all spice and plain flour. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
Pour in the melted mixture and stir to combine. It will be very sticky so roll it up in some greaseproof paper and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes. This makes it easier for cutting out the shapes and handling the dough.
Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Roll out the dough in between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper until 1/4 inch thick. You can roll the dough on a floured work surface, but I find rolling it between greaseproof paper much easier and less likely to stick.
Using a small / medium sized gingerbread cookie cutter, cut out the gingerbread men and place onto the lined baking trays. Space them out as the cookies will spread slightly.
Place into the middle of the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Once baked, remove from the oven and allow the gingerbread to cool on the baking trays. The gingerbread will be very delicate when first out of the oven but it will harden off at room temperature.
Continue baking the gingerbread men until you have used up all of the dough. Allow the biscuits to cool before decorating the cupcakes.
In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.
Sift in the icing sugar and ground ginger. Whip to combine. The buttercream will be very thick.
Pour in the aquafaba and whip for 5 – 10 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Don’t over whip it or it can become too soft. If it does, just add in more icing sugar until it’s thick and creamy. Your Swiss meringue buttercream should be thick, very creamy and silky smooth. If it feels too heavy, add chunks more butter / splashes of aquafaba until its very light.
Remove a few tablespoons of white buttercream and transfer into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip nozzle / snip off the tip.
To the remaining buttercream, add in the blackstrap molasses / treacle. Whip until fully combined. If you want a darker colour which will match the gingerbread man cookies, add in a dash of cocoa powder / more black strap molasses, until the correct shade. Don’t add too much as it could affect the buttercream consistency!
Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip nozzle.
Pipe a swirl of buttercream on top of each cupcake.
Break up the gingerbread men at the head and arms (watch the tutorial here), and press into the buttercream. Press the head on top of the buttercream, the arms on either side, and same with the legs at the bottom of the buttercream (see photos for reference).
Using the white buttercream, pipe on the gingerbread man details.
Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of chickpeas. The chickpea water or brine as it’s called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, cupcakes and delicious meringue buttercream. You can also get aquafaba in a carton for easy use. Check it out here.
What vegan block butter to use?
My favourite vegan / dairy-free block butters are ‘Naturli Vegan Block’ or Flora Plant Based Block Butter Alternative (salted or unsalted).
Store these cupcakes in a sealed container in the fridge. If possibly, store the cupcakes and gingerbread men separately and decorate day of making. This will prevent the cookies going soft. Best eaten within 2 days of making.