Gingerbread Cupcakes are the perfect tasty treat for Christmas time. They are so easy to make, moist, light and fluffy. You can still enjoy holiday treats when made with real food ingredients. These cupcakes can be made weeks ahead and frozen. Thaw and frost the day before they are required, and store them in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve. I have frosting suggestions below in the method.
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Preheat oven to 170c (fan-forced). Place cupcake cases into a large 12-hole muffin pan or use two medium-sized pans for smaller cupcakes (I've used smaller Christmas-decorated cupcake cases).
Add the almond meal, arrowroot, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cacao, baking powder and salt to a food processor. Process for approximately 10 seconds to combine the dry ingredients.
Add the eggs, olive oil, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla to the dry ingredients and process for 12 seconds to combine well.
Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, ensuring the surface is smooth.
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch (adjust baking time a few minutes less or more depending on the cupcake size you are baking). Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely (don't frost until cooled).
Frost and decorate with your choice of toppings. You might like to use my Vanilla Cashew Frosting (recipe link) or Marshmallow Frosting (recipe link). A Buttercream Icing will also work (swap the butter with half ghee & half coconut oil and use organic icing sugar), then decorate with Christmas sprinkles or chopped pecans with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days before frosting. The cupcakes are suitable to freeze. Once frosted, serve within 2 days and keep sealed in the fridge. If you choose to use the Marshmallow frosting, prepare the frosting on the day of serving.
The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. Almond meal/flour is rich in manganese which helps the body heal after injuries and also helps the body break down carbohydrates. Almond flour is also rich in magnesium, which can help control your blood sugar levels. It's rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Almonds are also a good source of calcium.
All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.
Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).
Ginger root is widely used as a spice but also for medicinal purposes. It is a hot spice which you will find in many commercial curry powders. It's often used to prevent motion sickness and nausea. Some studies have shown joint swelling in people suffering with arthritis experience less pain and swelling when taken daily. I like to use fresh minced ginger in my meals and dry ground ginger in baked goods.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Allspice is a dried fruit and gets its name from its flavour, which seems to be a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The fruit is picked when green and ripped in the sun, when dried they are brown and look similar to a peppercorn, it is then ground for use in cooking.
Raw cacao powder and cocoa are made from the same source but are so different. Cacao powder is raw, unsweetened and in it's natural state, it has a stronger flavour and you would use less than cocoa powder. It is so good for you; high in dietary fibre, iron and is a good source of magnesium and antioxidants. Cocoa has been heated and processed, the high heat when processing kills all the minerals and vitamins.
Baking Powder is a rising agent for baked goods. If substituting for baking soda you will need 4 times the quantity. Ensure you purchase a gluten free, no aluminum brand. Alternatively, you can make your own baking powder; 1 teaspoon of baking powder is equal to 1⁄4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1⁄2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Note, that they should only be combined when preparing your recipe.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
The olive fruit of the olive tree is pressed and crushed to released the oil. Healthy fats like olive oil are essential for brain function and to transport vitamins and minerals throughout our bodies. This is a delicious oil to drizzled over salads and vegetables.
Maple syrup is an earthy, sweet tasting amber liquid that is produced by boiling down the sap of maple trees. Use organic 100% maple syrup which is a natural food sweetener, not a flavoured maple syrup. Pure maple syrup contains a decent amount of some minerals, especially manganese and zinc, some traces of potassium and calcium but it does contain a whole bunch of sugar. I try to reduced the amount of sweetness in each recipe to the lowest possible without compromising taste. Feel free to adjust to your liking. I use maple syrup in place of raw honey when I don't want the strong honey flavour coming through in a recipe. I have paleo cookies and desserts in my cookbook made from whole food ingredients with natural sugars but please don’t overindulge. Use as a treat only for special occasions.
Blackstrap organic molasses is a nourishing sweetener which contains a considerable amount of nutrients that are essential for the body. Molasses contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, phosphorous, chromium and cobalt. It also has various vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B6, thiamine and riboflavin. Choose an organic unsulphured brand when purchasing.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.