Skinny Gingerbread Cupcakes with Sweet Cinnamon Glaze


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.

elf buddy

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:

Skinny Gingerbread Cupcakes with Sweet Cinnamon Glaze
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 12 cupcakes 
For the Gingerbread Cupcakes:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk


For the Sweet Cinnamon Glaze:
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, canola oil, egg, molasses, and buttermilk.  Using a spatula, slowly fold the flour mixture, by thirds, into the buttermilk mixture. Mix only until completely blended.


Place cupcake liners in a muffin or cupcake pan and spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter into each liner. Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Allow cupcakes to cool completely before glazing.


For the Sweet Cinnamon Glaze:
In a large mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar, water, almond extract, and cinnamon. Whisk until ingredients are well blended. If the glaze is too thick, while whisking, add more water very slowly, about 1/4 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.


Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cupcakes immediately before serving.

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  1. December 21, 2012 / 3:57 pm

    Spiced cupcakes – such a good idea for the holidays! I may have to include this recipe at the Secret Santa brunch I’m hosting…cupcakes are appropriate for breakfast/brunch if they have WW flour and buttermilk in them, right…? 😉

  2. December 21, 2012 / 4:08 pm

    Jen, this … is all the whole Christmas smells and tastes into one lovely cupcake.
    I hope you take your time to check out my post tomorrow .. because that is my Christmas greeting to all of you.

    I wish you a wonderful Christmas … with a little too much of everything.

  3. December 21, 2012 / 4:38 pm

    Beautiful photos and so Christmas-y! The cinnamon glaze looks delicious. Merry Christmas!

  4. December 21, 2012 / 5:00 pm

    Don’t think a diabetic would be too happy with these, but for the rest of us Jen, absolute heaven. Brilliant recipe.

  5. December 21, 2012 / 5:38 pm

    These look absolutely delicious – definitely going to give these a try!

  6. December 21, 2012 / 6:26 pm

    These look wonderful! What a perfect “light” Christmas treat! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  7. December 21, 2012 / 7:31 pm

    What a lovely Christmas treat to your readers! This is a must-try for my family, we’ll definitely be whipping up a batch. Merry Christmas!

  8. December 21, 2012 / 8:24 pm

    These sound delicious and so simple too! Can’t wait to try them.

  9. December 22, 2012 / 3:12 am

    Very festive. Stopping at one would be a problem.
    Happy Christmas,

  10. December 22, 2012 / 11:24 am

    Gingerbread is one of my favorites and skinny gingerbread cupcakes sound fabulous! I love the look of the glaze on them too. There’s something about a sweet glaze soaking into a cupcake that just sounds amazing.

  11. Ivana
    December 23, 2012 / 4:55 am

    Totally easy to make, fluffy, and delicious! And oh so christmas-y! 😉
    Thanks for sharing! Mine didn’t taste sweet enough, I have no idea why, although I didn’t put the glaze, so that might be it. I did add chopped dates and Porto to the mix, and it turned out great, in a case you want to give it a try. 😉 Thanks again! 🙂

  12. December 23, 2012 / 9:36 am

    Yum! These look wonderful and I can’t wait to try them. Merry Christmas!

  13. December 24, 2012 / 3:16 pm

    Jen, your cupcakes are amazing!
    Wish you a merry christmas!

  14. December 24, 2012 / 8:48 pm

    Love the beautiful star on your tree and your gingerbread cupcakes. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  15. December 26, 2012 / 2:27 pm

    These look spectacular! Gingerbread is my favorite – I make Guinness gingerbread at Christmas and almost always some sort of new ginger/spice cookie. These cupcakes look delicious – right up my alley! Merry Christmas!

  16. December 27, 2012 / 12:13 am

    awesome recipe. love that you used oil instead of butter. definitely is skinny… nice job and merry christmas!

  17. December 28, 2012 / 5:06 am

    Wow ! These look delicious !! Love gingerbread as well cinnamon !! Thanks for sharing !!

  18. December 28, 2012 / 3:44 pm

    Gorgeous little cupcakes! 🙂

  19. December 28, 2012 / 6:13 pm

    These look so lovely, I made a gingerbread cupcake with lemon icing before the holidays and am definitely going to try them with cinnamon glaze now 🙂

  20. December 29, 2012 / 2:55 pm

    Sounds like you had an incredibly delicious Christmas…happy belated! Love these, too!! =)

  21. Jono
    December 31, 2012 / 3:50 pm

    I used 2 egg whites, substituted applesauce for the oil, added a dash of ground black pepper and vanilla, and used my trusty Stevia+erythritol blend instead of sugar, though I did increase the molasses to 1/2 a cup. Oh, and I used whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour.

    These babies came out AMAZING. Not saving these for Christmas – they’re on the menu all year round now! They’re moist, spicy, and dense, all in a convenient and portion controlled form. We eat these naked, and LOVE the recipe!

  22. December 31, 2012 / 5:21 pm

    These cupcakes look delicious and I love the idea of a cinnamon glaze! I enjoy light glazes on desserts (as opposed to mounds of frosting) and have never tried cinnamon before. Looks festive and tasty!

  23. January 8, 2013 / 3:31 pm

    Happy New Year Scrumptious Pumpkin! These look amazing (and not just for Christmas!). Thanks for being one of my fav bloggers in 2011 – your beautiful photos and gorgeous food always make me drool 🙂

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