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Guinness-Gingerbread Cupcakes

Maren Caruso © 2010

Yield: Yields 12 cupcakes

These cupcakes, inspired by New York City pastry chef Claudia Fleming, are an intriguing combination of gingerbread and rich, malty stout. Topped with a bright-tasting lime frosting to complement the spicy cake, these cupcakes make a perfect grown-up treat for St. Patrick’s Day.

This recipe is excerpted from Ready for Dessert. Read our review.


For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup stout beer, such as Guinness
  • 1/2 cup  mild-flavored molasses
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp.ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup finely minced candied ginger

For the frosting

  • 4 Tbs. (2 oz.) salted or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
  • 1 Tbs. whole milk
  • Strips of candied citrus peel or candied ginger, for garnish


Make the cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. To make the cupcakes, in a very large saucepan, bring the stout, molasses, and oil to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda until dissolved. (The mixture will foam up, then settle down.) Stir in the brown sugar, then let cool until tepid.
  • In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
  • Whisk the eggs into the stout mixture, then whisk in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Don’t overmix. Gently stir in the minced candied ginger.
  • Divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake until the cupcakes feel just set in the center, 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely.

Make the frosting

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth, about 10 seconds. Decrease the speed to low and, with the mixer running, gradually add half of the confectioners’ sugar. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl as needed to make sure the ingredients are being incorporated. Add the lime juice, then add the remaining confectioners’ sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated, add the milk. Beat the frosting on high speed until completely smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Taste, and add a few more drops of lime juice, if desired.
  • Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tin. Pipe rosettes of frosting in the center of each cupcake. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can spoon a mound of frosting decoratively in the center.) Garnish each with strips of candied citrus peel or a piece of candied ginger.

    ready for dessert cookbook.jpg

Make Ahead Tips

The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature.

For kids, feel free to use apple cider in place of the stout.


Reprinted with permission from Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz, copyright © 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


Rate or Review

Reviews (6 reviews)

  • LisaChasko | 01/03/2014

    I had no trouble with the icing, great mix of lime with the gingerbread. I pulsed the candied ginger in a small processor instead of using a knife.I had to break up the ginger clump before adding it in. The ginger went to the middle of the cupcake and created an interestingly great burst of flavor.Also I doubled the recipe with no problems.Everyone loved them.

  • mojo_g | 03/19/2013

    Beautiful cupcakes (I made mini cupcakes)! Interesting flavours that really worked well together for our St. Patrick's Day feast! The only reason I gave this 4 stars (and not 5) was because the consistency of the icing went a bit funny when the lime juice was added. I made try the lemon cream cheese icing that is pair with the ginger mini cupcakes and use lime juice instead.

  • catatonia | 12/10/2012

    These are really delicious- especially if you love gingerbread. They are easy to make, but the frosting has given me trouble both times. Once I get to adding the milk, it turns grainy and ruins icing. After the second time I have really scaled back and only used a dribble of milk- this seems to keep it from turning to a separated grainy mess that looks pretty unappetizing. You get the frosting right, and the lime is really a delicious contrast.

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