Spicy Gingerbread Cakes w/ Cheesecake Frosting

gingerbread cupcake3

12 days until Christmas all you foodie lovers. Boy has time flown by this year. I hope you’ve all finished your crazy gift shopping and can relax and enjoy the next week and a half unlike myself lol. This week I have taken a break from the hunt for unique Christmas cookies and decided to bring you a post about another holiday favorite… the classic Gingerbread. Now I could have just done the typical gingerbread cookie to stick with my cookie themed posts for the holidays but what fun would that be. Gingerbread cookies are classics not unique additions to the confection table so I switched it up a bit and put a twist on both the Gingerbread cookie and cake formulas I had found, turning it into a kid-friendly holiday table-snatch recipe as much as those quaint little gingerbread men (& women) are.

gingerbread cake

Now I love the flavor of gingerbread, especially in coffee, but I have never been a huge fan of the cookies. This is usually because they are always dry and either too bland or too overwhelming spicy, as if I poured an entire jar of powdered ginger and cinnamon in my mouth. ICK!!! If the original gingerbread formulas tend to be so consistently bad, how in the world then could I expect to translate a dry, dull cookie into a moist mini cake full of bold ginger flavor? Let me tell you it is a challenge but not impossible and totally worth it!!!

gingerbread cupcake stout

To start the Gingerbread makeover, something had to be added which could compliment the flavor of ginger without overwhelming it. I wanted a bold and spicy mini cake that wasn’t dried out and dusty on the palette. Step one is, surprisingly, to find a good stout. Reason is, stout provides a malty tang that compliments the molasses already in standard gingerbread formulas. I chose to use Weyerbacher Old Heather Imperial, which is a unique brand found at Whole Foods, but I recommend Guinness as well since it’s an affordable and widely available stout.  Buy yourself a 6 pack and drink one (or a few) as a reward once you finish baking 😉 If your against using alcohol, which I know many people out there are, you can substitute coffee for the stout although I don’t recommend it as it does impart a bitter flavor as opposed to the perfect compliment of the stout. Another substitute often used is orange juice but that is far too sour in my opinion… but hey if you don’t like alcohol and love to experiment then go ahead and try it. You may fancy it.

gingerbread cupcake4

With the stout adding a complimentary flavor and much needed moisture to the cake, it was time to turn to the spicy portion of the formula. Too much powdered or ground spice will give an undesirable dusty texture I was trying to avoid at all costs. So I stuck to a reasonable amount of ground ginger for bite and a little cinnamon and allspice to support the ginger flavor. Without the abundance of ground ginger the flavor lacks. Using black pepper and blooming it with the other powdered spices helps draw out the ginger’s pleasant burn without having to increase the powdered spices further. An additional punch of ginger is added with some grated fresh ginger and viola ginger is back in gingerbread!!!

gingerbread cupcake trio

On to the frosting. I needed something simple and delicious that wouldn’t distract to heavily from the bold, spicy ginger flavor I worked so hard to achieve and was going to without a doubt make sure I maintained. Cheesecake came to mind and seemed to fit that bill with ease. Three ingredients and a bit of whipping provided me with the perfect Cheesecake frosting to pipe onto the gingerbread cupcakes. The formula produces approximately 24 cupcakes. Try them for the holidays. Even the gingerbread skeptic like myself will find them a delight!!!


Spicy Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cheesecake Frosting

Gingerbread Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups Cake Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ¾ tsp. Salt
  • 16 tbsp. Unsalted Butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 tbsp. Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper, finely ground
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups Sugar
  • 4 tsp. Fresh Ginger, grated
  • ¾ cup Molasses, Robust or Dark
  • ¾ cup Stout Beer

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg. Instant Cheesecake Flavored Pudding (small box)
  • Milk
  • 1 pkg. Cool Whip

Gingerbread Cake Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375°. Fill a cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake liners. Grease lightly with cooking spray. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Stir in ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. 
  2. Whisk eggs, sugar, and fresh ginger in a large bowl until light and frothy. Stir in the melted butter/spice mixture, molasses, and stout until incorporated. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and whisk until no lumps remain. 
  3. Pour the gingerbread batter into the prepared cupcake liners. Gently tap the pan on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean (a few clingy crumbs is perfect), about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Cheesecake Frosting Formula:

  1. Empty contents of instant Cheesecake Pudding mix into a medium bowl. Add half the amount of milk called for according to the package directions. Whip until the pudding thickens and begins to set, about two minutes. Gently fold in the container of cool whip. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and serve.










Hermit Cookies

Happy Easter week to all of the readers here at HoneyBee’s Patisserie. A few days ago I posted Carrot Cupcakes for the Easter Bunny in all of us and this week’s recipe will focus on the true meaning of Easter celebrations. I know I know it isn’t as fun as the Easter Bunny, dying eggs, or filling plastic eggs and baskets to set around the house and yard for the kids, but it is getting back to basics. At Easter we should remember what happened in the ancient days to lead us to celebrate this date year after year. In light of discussing ancients and history, I decided to find yet another forgotten recipe in history that was once extremely popular. Now I didn’t go all the way back to the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection for a pastry, but the late 1800’s deemed far enough for today.

Hermit Cookies are mysterious in origin. It is known that they began appearing in cookbooks around the New England area earliest, such as Miss Maria Parloa’s New Cook Book of 1880 or The Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer in 1896. It is said that the name ‘Hermit’ was coined for the cookies ability to be hidden away and stored for long periods of time without spoiling, much like a hermit hides. According to the Betty Crocker Cookie Book of the late 1800’s, the Hermit cookie was incredibly popular and would accompany sailors on ship voyages leaving out of Cape Cod. The cookies would be placed in canisters and tucked away into chests and kept for the sailors to enjoy on their long voyages. To ensure that the cookies don’t bake up like a dry, overly spiced, cardboard-esque hard tack I made sure to bake the cookies into logs and cut them while they are still slightly warm rather than the traditional formulas calling for a drop style panning method. Whether you take Hermit Cookies out to sea, pack them in an Easter basket, or in a packed lunch for work, these old-fashioned cookies are perfectly soft, chewy, and full of sugar and spice worthy of revival this holiday.

Hermit Cookies


  • 1 cup Raisins
  • 2 tbsp. Crystallized Ginger, finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ cup Molasses (mild or light)
  • 2 Eggs
  • Powdered Sugar (for dusting)


  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Process raisins and ginger in a food processor until mixture sticks together and only small pieces remain. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat, until butter is nutty brown in color. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice. Cook until the spices are fragrant. Stir butter mixture into the raisin mixture and stir until well combined. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir brown sugar, molasses, and eggs into the cooled butter mixture until fully incorporated. Fold in the flour mixture (dough will appear very sticky) and refrigerate, covered, until firm, at least 1 ½ hours or up to 24 hours.
  4. Divide the dough into quarters. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 10 inch log. If you prefer you can use a spoon or portion scoop and place round drops of dough on prepared baking sheets and continue as follows, however there will be a noticeable texture change in the cookie. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and bake each log (4 in total) for 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure to rotate the sheets halfway through baking time for even baking. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes then transfer parchment to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
  5. Once cooled, cut logs into 2 inch bars. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.  

Special Thanks To:

Cali Rich &

Peter Mendoros – Photography

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2012