Gingerbread Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting and Pomegranate Caramel
Delicious and fluffy gingerbread cupcakes topped with an airy sweet marshmallow frosting and drizzled with homemade pomegranate caramel.
These gingerbread cupcakes with marshmallow frosting and pomegranate caramel might be some of the best baked goods I’ve ever made. And I take that statement very seriously.
Can you believe that this is my first cupcake recipe on the blog? Total disgrace. I know. Especially since I spent almost a year baking and decorating them all day, every day, not all that long ago.
[Wait, maybe that’s why it took me so long…]
So you can imagine the amount of pressure (read: a lot) I’ve put on myself over the years. The “first blog cupcake” that I would inevitably share with you guys had to be special. And different.
Nothing too wacky, but definitely different.
These cupcakes meet both requirements. Plus, they’re festive. So festive!
Cue the carolers, light the Christmas tree, break out the Christmas mugs, quote Elf (“oh my god! Santa’s coming!? I know him! I know him!”) and listen to Carol of the Bells on repeat–that kind of festive, you know?
First of all, there are the gingerbread cupcakes, which are full of dark molasses flavor, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cloves.
They are tender, moist and incredibly simple to throw together. You could eat them as muffins, but that’s not nearly as fun.
Once the cupcakes have baked and cooled, you top them with the world’s fluffiest marshmallow frosting–made from egg whites, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
It’s about three million times better than marshmallow fluff (which in my opinion, isn’t all that fluffy). In fact, it should really be called cloud frosting! So light and fluffy, I can hardly stand it.
Then you drizzle each frosted cupcake with homemade pomegranate caramel! This part is mandatory, because this stuff is amazing and totally takes these cupcakes over the top.
You know that step when you’re making normal caramel where you carefully whisk in cream and butter? Well, for this version, you’re going to skip the cream and add in pomegranate juice. And just a teensy bit of butter.
Unlike regular caramel, this pomegranate caramel is a little sour and tart, with just the right amount of bitterness from the burnt sugar. It cuts the sweetness of the frosting perfectly and pairs so well with the gingerbread cake. It also has the prettiest red hue!
These cupcakes were practically inhaled before my eyes. And loved by all.
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting and Pomegranate Caramel
- 1¾ cups (210 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ cup (2 oz; 60 g) unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- ¼ cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ½ cup (120 mL) lukewarm water
- ⅔ cup (130 g) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) water
- ⅓ cup (80 mL) 100% pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- pinch of kosher salt
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare Cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C) with a rack in the center position. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and lightly grease with baking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk together the melted butter, oil, brown sugar, molasses, and egg until combined. Over low speed, add half of the water to the egg mixture, followed by half of the dry flour mixture. Repeat with remaining water and flour mixture until just combined.
- Remove and scrape down the bowl with a spatula, ensuring that all ingredients have been incorporated evenly. Divide the batter evenly among the lined muffin pan, so that each cup is ¾ full - it will most likely only fill 11 cups.
- Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway, or until tops of cupcakes are springy to touch and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 3 minutes. Remove cupcakes and allow them to cool completely on a rack before decorating.
- Prepare the Pomegranate Caramel: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Keep a small bowl of water with a pastry brush nearby to brush any sugar crystals that form on side of pan.
- Place over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and continue to cook until the sugar reaches a medium-amber color.
- Carefully add the pomegranate juice, lemon juice, followed by the butter, and whisk together until mixture is well incorporated. Continue to simmer over low heat, whisking occasionally, for another 3 to 4 minutes until the caramel is slightly thickened. Set aside in a heatproof bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.Note: The caramel at this point will still seem relatively loose–but don’t worry, it will thicken considerably as it cools. The caramel should be cool (but still drip freely from a spoon) for decorating–if it gets too thick, heat it in the microwave at 10 second intervals.
- Prepare Marshmallow Frosting: Combine the egg whites, sugar, and lemon juice in a very clean and dry bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over a pot of lightly simmering water to create a double boiler. Using the whisk attachment, whisk constantly with your hand until the sugar has dissolved and whites are lightly warm to touch. Use your fingertips to test that the sugar has dissolve and it is warm; this step should take roughly 4 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer the bowl to stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, beat over low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to high and continue to beat for another 5 to 6 minutes until the frosting is thick, shiny, and stiff. It should hold its peak. Add the vanilla extract and beat for another couple seconds until completely incorporated.
- Assemble Cupcakes: Frost the cooled cupcakes using your favorite tip (I used a 8PT round) and drizzle the tops with pomegranate caramel. Serve immediately.
46 Comments on “Gingerbread Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting and Pomegranate Caramel”
Hello! I am dying to make this recipe – it looks stunning. If any of the cupcakes survive past Day 1, how should they be stored? In the fridge or at room temp? With the egg whites in the frosting, I thought I should ask. Thanks for your help!
Hi Brenda – yes, these should be stored in the fridge due to the frosting. If you’re looking to make them ahead, I would recommend making the cupcakes and then waiting to frost them the day of, ideally they wouldn’t be sitting the fridge for too long!
OMG! How did I miss these?!? I need these in my lyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyfe.
The cupcakes were a big hit at the party! Everyone was impressed by how beautiful the reddish drizzle made them as well! I’m planning on giving some of the ones I left at home to my neighbors, but am really fighting the urge not to devour them all by myself!!! My neighbors better get home soon, is all I’m saying.
This makes me so, so happy. Thank you so much for making them and reporting back! Your feedback totally made my day.
Today I actually received Thank You notes for each of my daughters preschool teachers whom I took a couple in for. One of them also stopped me to tell me how delicious they were and said, “Do you know what my FAVORITE part was?!? The pomegranate drizzle! How did you make that?!?” Nothing but good reviews coming in for your cupcakes! So much so, that I am making them again today in a mini version for a party! Why not? Thanks again for sharing this recipe..looking forward to more from you in the future.
Wow. I made the cupcakes yesterday and I don’t think I’ve ever made such a tender cupcake in all my life. Today they are even better. This morning I set about making the rest of the recipe. The syrup is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. and I will be eating the whole bowlful myself (maybe a drizzle on the cupcakes). I’m thinking it will also make a gorgeous topping for Greek yogurt (after Christmas when we’ll all be “cutting down”). The marshmallow frosting unfortunately did not stiffen. What I think happened is that the egg whites were maybe larger than what you suggested. I got lazy and didn’t weigh them, and it was silly of me. Greek eggs tend to be bigger than US eggs I think. Anyhow, this is not a bad thing. I made a different frosting for the cupcakes and now I have another bowl full of thick marshmallow creme. It is going to be consumed with a spoon, while I watch tv later. I think it all worked out for the best 😉 Thank you for a beautiful recipe, and sorry for the lengthy comment!
Yes!!!!! So thrilled to hear that you loved them as much as I did. Isn’t that syrup the best?! Totally want it on top of everything now.
I would definitely try weighing the egg whites next time, if you think that your eggs are bigger than standard US ones. Or maybe add a touch of cream of tartar to help them stiffen. Also, the older the egg whites the better 🙂 Thank you again Eleni!
Making these now. Can’t wait to try them!!! Did I overlook it, or is the brown sugar missing from the direction steps? I’m assuming it mixes in w/ the molasses, etc.
Yikes!! You’re right, I missed it. Yes–you mix it in with the molasses, oil, butter, and egg in the first step. I am going to fix the recipe now. Thanks for catching that and definitely report back on the final result 🙂 Are you making the caramel too?!
I’m making cupcakes for my niece right this moment, and how I wish I could use this recipe! I bet they’re one of the best things you ever baked, no doubt. And I’ll make it a point to have that pomegranate syrup in the fridge! Maybe eat it with a spoon?!
Gingerbread is my fav flavor right now… these are perfect
MINE TOO!!! 🙂
Oh this is just beautiful and illegal!!! They are gorgeous, delicious and have a killer drizzle. I love your pomegranate caramel very much. Pinning!!
Thank you so, so much Zainab! I had a lot of fun with these 😉
Wow, your gingerbread cupcakes look delicious. Could you please bottle up some of that pomegranate caramel and send me a huge shipment. I just have to try it out!
Thank you so much Rochelle! And I wish I could ship the caramel–unfortunately, I don’t think it would meet TSA requirements 😉
These look gorgeous, and so festive! Yum!!
Thank you Kristi! Your toffee looks amazing as well 🙂
You had me at marshmallow frosting. And as if that wasn’t enough to go with my gingerbread addiction, the caramel drizzling on top knocked me! Definitely pinning :D.
You’re so sweet Jessica! Thank you so much. My gingerbread obsession this winter is out of control.
Gorgeous cupcakes and so creative. I see many more fabulous cupcakes in your future 🙂
Aww, thanks so much Kathi! Can’t wait to do more of them–you know, now that I’ve gotten over the first “blog cupcake” hurdle.
These are the most festive dang cupcakes of all time! One of these and a hot chocolate and a little snowfall please!
YES, please!! I could use a couple flakes of snow around here 😉
Gingerbread cupcakes and marshmallow frosting are always hits, but this pomegranate caramel really caught my attention. So clever!
It definitely takes these cupcakes to the next level! Thank you so much Laura!
Who was the taste tester for this recipe?!
I took one for the team and served as the taste tester on this one. I take my job seriously and to be sure they were delicious I ate 6 (maybe more) within the first 24 hours 🙂
Oh goodness, these are gorgeous! And pomegranate caramel???? Genius!
Thank you, thank you! 🙂 Loved your tart yesterday–still drooling over that one.
That pomegranate caramel sounds absolutely heavenly!
I need to do more things with pomegranate caramel! 🙂
These cupcakes are just stunning. I can’t even imagine what pomegranate caramel tastes like, but I totally put it on my “to make” list!
It’s not nearly as sweet as normal caramel. Definitely is a little bit sour and tart–but it’s great for this application. Cuts the sweetness a bit 🙂 Thank you so much Aimee! (And for pinning!)
These cupcakes look perfect! Love that tall frosting. That is the perfect cupcake-to-frosting ratio. And pomegranate caramel? Sounds delicious : )
I love a tall frosting!! Thank you so much Natalie!
As a recovering cupcake fanatic — both baking and eating — I just know I’d adore these, but couldn’t be left alone with them. 🙂 I’m transitioning to gingerbread from my beloved pumpkin, and I think these would be a wonderful way to kick off the season! Excellent work!
Haha! I’m a recovering cupcake baker–so I feel you on that. They are totally dangerous to have around–but when you think about it, the frosting is almost healthy (no butter!). Thank god I have a fiance that eats baked goods faster than me. He literally ate two within five minutes. Thanks so much Meg!
These look and sound so delicious and so Christmassy – such a gorgeous recipe!
Christmas-y should be added to the dictionary as an adjective. I have a feeling I’ll be using a lot more of it over the next few weeks. Thank you!!
when you say one of the best things ever, that’s a serious statement and my ears perked way up! gorgeous & pinned!
I know! Very intimidating words to say, haha. Thank you so much Averie!
Wow! These look incredible! I’ve never heard of pom caramel before, and it’s definitely intriguing. Oh, and that FROSTING! OMG. I could faceplant into a bowl of that and be completely content.
It’s so tart!! I just loved it. And yes, I totally agree Molly. I sort of wanted to use the frosting as a face mask. Or you know, sleep on mattress made of it. Normal things like that.