Today I baked these cupcakes to give away to some of my parents’ neighbors, and because filling the house with the fragrant scent of gingerbread seemed like a great way to get more into the holiday spirit – I only finished my work for the semester yesterday, and it’s always difficult for me to be fully in holiday mode while I’m still writing papers and such.
Aaannd since I apparently still haven’t yet sated my cranberry obsession*, I decided to top these cupcakes with cranberry streusel rather than the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting I was first considering, which ended up being a great decision because it was then super easy to make these cupcakes dairy-free (using non-dairy margarine)!
Gingerbread is an extremely old recipe, dating back over a millennium, and with its name coming from the neo-classical Latin word for ginger, zingiber. Many different variants exist within different cultures today, including Peperkoek (‘pepper cake’) in the Netherlands and Belgium, which is often served at breakfast. So go ahead: call these coffee cake cupcakes or muffins rather than cupcakes and eat them for breakfast – what’s the difference, really?
*I promise, I’ll stop with the cranberry recipes soon, or else I’ll change the blog name to “Put on Your Cranberry Pants.”
Here’s Phoebe, making a brief appearance to wish you all a Merry Christmas!
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup honey
- zest from one medium orange
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 4 tablespoons butter or dairy-free margarine, melted
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup fresh cranberries, halved
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cups of 1-2 muffin pans and set aside.
- Cut cranberries in half and stir together with 1/3 cup sugar. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together oil, applesauce, and sugar. Add in molasses, honey, and orange zest and mix until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and mix until smooth. Add water and stir until well mixed.
- For streusel topping: in a separate bowl, combine melted butter (or margarine), flour, brown sugar, and salt. Mix until crumbly. Stir in cranberries (along with their sugar) and chopped walnuts.
- Portion out cake batter into greased muffin pans, filling cups no more than 3/4 full. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove muffin pans from oven and top each cup with a spoonful of streusel mixture. Return to oven and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Makes 20-24 cupcakes.
- You may have a bit of extra streusel; if you do, try using it in pancakes! Sprinkle the streusel over the pancake batter before flipping the pancakes.
- Gingerbread recipe adapted from Joy the Baker.
Tip: If you have extra streusel like I did, try using it in pancakes. Sprinkle the streusel over the pancake batter before flipping the pancakes.