Cream cheese frosting is the perfect tangy-sweet foil for moist gingerbread cupcakes, especially ones made with dark, rich-tasting Guinness stout. The batter calls for both fresh and crystallized ginger, with a hint of white pepper for a touch of extra heat. If you’d prefer to bake without beer, substitute the same amount of brewed espresso or very strong coffee for the Guinness.

  • Yields: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Total: 45 mins, plus cooling time 
  • Active: 30 mins 

Ingredients (22)

For the gingerbread

  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 1 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) chopped crystallized ginger

For the frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (also known as confectioners’ sugar), sifted
  • Pinch of fine sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two 12-cup muffin pans with liners.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the Guinness, molasses, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and fresh ginger. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Add the wet ingredients along with the crystallized ginger to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  3. Divide the batter among the muffin wells, filling them nearly full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes and let them cool on a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and salt and continue to mix until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Scoop the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake, dividing it evenly. Serve.