These cupcakes are heavenly.
I got them wrong a few times – I tried them with a low-fat cream cheese frosting, which was way too heavy for my taste and just didn’t work.
But then I tried a light, sugary sweet glaze with cinnamon and almond extract.
Wonder of wonders.
It was the perfect complement to all the rich spices (cinnamon and ginger and cloves) in the gingerbread.
They were heavenly.
I wanted to get this post up just in time for Christmas, but I plan on adding these to the year-round rotation.
They’re easy to make, and although they have a generous dose of sugar in the glaze (if I’ve learned anything from Christmas movies, it’s that you must have plenty of sugar at holiday time!), they do have lots of healthy ingredients too: whole wheat flour, low-fat buttermilk, heart-healthy canola oil, and antioxidant-rich spices.
One word of warning: these gingerbread cupcakes can be called “skinny”, technically, when you eat just one.
But my hat is off to that unshakable individual with the willpower of steel who can resist seconds and thirds of this cupcake.
I list the yield as “12 cupcakes” in the complete recipe below, but the actual Serving Size, dear reader, is To Be Determined by you and your sweet tooth.
Here is everything you’ll need to make your cupcakes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grab a large mixing bowl and whisk together all the following: some canola oil, some low-fat buttermilk, an egg, some molasses, and some granulated white sugar.
If you’re concerned buttermilk sounds very unhealthy (it has the word ‘butter’ in it, after all), some good news: low-fat buttermilk isn’t made from butter, it’s made from fermented milk and it’s actually low in calories and fat when compared to butter. Just like yogurt, buttermilk is an excellent source of calcium, protein (to keep you feeling full), and probiotics ( to keep your immune system strong and aid in digestion).
So it’s actually a healthy choice for sweet and savory dishes.
In a separate bowl, sift together all the following: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves, and salt.
Using a spatula, slowly add the flour mixture, about a third at a time, into the buttermilk mixture.
Stir and make sure the batter is completely blended, but don’t over-stir.
Add cupcake liners to a muffin pan.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the gingerbread batter into each liner.
Bake for about 15 minutes and enjoy the sugar and spice aroma of freshly baked gingerbread wafting throughout your home…
(when-Christmas-was-still-magic-childhood-memories very nearly guaranteed when you smell this delicious scent).
While the gingerbread bakes, prepare the sweet cinnamon glaze.
In a mixing bowl, combine some powdered sugar with a bit of water, almond extract, and cinnamon.
Whisk until everything is well-blended.
The cupcakes are ready when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, without any batter clinging to it.
Next, a test of your willpower: allow the cupcakes to cool completely before eating one. The glaze melts down too much over a warm cupcake (can you guess I have tried to rush this step before?)
Then drizzle the cinnamon glaze over the top of each.
The glaze is mostly sugar and very sweet, so a little glaze goes a long way.
The sweet cinnamon and sugar glaze is irresistible with the delicious spice of the freshly baked gingerbread.
Enjoy one at night when everything is dark (save for the glittering lights from the Christmas tree), after you’ve finally found a minute to sink into a comfy chair and relax.
Our own tree, by the way, is finally complete.
Until this month, the same routine had played out every year for the past several years – Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy and I had plenty of tree decorations, but nothing for the top.
On the day we decorated the tree, we’d always say “we have to remember to buy a tree topper.”
But then December would fly by as it always does, with all the planning and shopping and wrapping, and we’d always forget.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we finally happened upon this star and knew we had to buy it.
According to the old carol I love, I can finally check one more item off my holiday list: “Hang a shining star upon the highest bough”…
…For everyone reading, the same song says it best: “And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.”
Here is the complete recipe: