Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramelized Mango Buttercream


Mango Cupcake

Every year for my birthday I like to make some kind of cake.  Maybe it’s a way I connect with my childhood, baking better versions of those boxed ones I made then.  Maybe it’s the perfect excuse to make a really hard recipe I wouldn’t otherwise tackle.  Regardless it’s totally fun, and my favorite way to spend my day each year.

I’ve wanted to make these cupcakes for some time now.  They are a Throwdown winning recipe from Bobby Flay and have several time consuming steps.  The good news is the steps aren’t that hard and I had the whole day to dedicate to them.  With some patience, time, and effort, as well as making sure you have all necessary ingredients on hand, these cupcakes are sure to be a huge hit.

The cupcakes themselves have the perfect moist and not too dense texture, along with the flavor of the best gingerbread.  Adding ginger syrup to the top makes sure the cakes are very moist and is worth the extra step.  Fresh ginger is one of those tough to find ingredients.  I have been buying Christopher Ranch ginger from Costco for the past couple of months and have found it to be of very high quality.  I like that these cupcakes don’t rely on a ton of butter to have a nice texture.  The frosting is equally as awesome.  I love frostings that use sugar syrup as the sweetener; those are pretty much the only kinds of frosting I make any more.  Though a whole pound of butter goes into the frosting, it is not too buttery with the addition of the mango, and it has a smooth, silky texture.  I wish the mango flavor was a little more prominent, but the hint of flavor complemented the gingerbread well.  Both the cake and the frosting are fantastic alone (there is plenty of frosting left for a few quality checks!), but together they make what I think may be the best bite of cupcake I’ve ever had.

Gingerbread Cupcakes


Gingerbread Cupcake

I did have a couple of issues with the frosting.  After mixing what I felt was an adequate amount after adding all of the butter, I found there were still some big chunks of butter in the bottom of the bowl.  This wasn’t a major problem, as I worked around them when frosting.  In addition, I didn’t pass the mango mixture through a strainer because I don’t have one, which left many strings of mango in the frosting.  This was more of a looks issue, not affecting the texture of the frosting at all.  I think some of the strings may have been pulled sugar from adding the syrup to the eggs, but my mom disagrees.  If you don’t strain the mango mixture, make sure to process it for a full minute or two to break up as many of the strings as possible.  The frosting is where I would definitely recommend seeking out Davidson’s Pasteurized Eggs, as the eggs are not really being cooked.  Since I don’t have a strainer, I left the pieces of ginger in the syrup rather large and simply pulled them out after steeping and before putting on the cupcakes.  This was not an issue at all.

I also have a problem with using made in China paper liners on my cupcakes.  For muffins, I oil the tin and put them right in, but that can result in a not super pretty end product, so I found made in Italy liners at Sur La Table.  They were a little pricey, but worth it to know my food is safe.

All in all, these are definitely worth the time and effort.  I can’t wait to pull one out of the freezer for another after-dinner treat.

Mango Cupcake

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramelized Mango Buttercream
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into large pieces
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (pasteurized if you like)
  • 6 tablespoons molasses
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 cups (4 sticks/ 1 pound) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly cold, cut into pieces
  • 3 large ripe mangos, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
  • 6 large pasteurized egg yolks
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. First, make the ginger syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, cooking until sugar is melted and mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for about 30 minutes. Remove the ginger before using.
  2. Next, make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium bowl. In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the butter, oil, brown sugar, eggs, molasses, and water. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until combined. The batter may be a little lumpy. Try to get out as many lumps as you can, and the rest will work themselves out during baking.
  3. Using a regular sized ice cream scoop, put one scoop in each paper liner. If there is any remaining batter, evenly distribute among the liners. They should be filled to about ¼ inch below the top. Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs on it, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven, spoon over or brush with ginger syrup. You will not use all of it. Let sit in pan for five minutes before cooling completely on racks.
  4. Then, make the buttercream. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the mangos and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 10 minutes. Blend in food processor until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Pass through fine mesh strainer if desired.
  5. Beat egg yolks in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed until creamy and pale yellow, 5 to 7 minutes. Remembering, pasteurized eggs take longer to whip than regular eggs.
  6. Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer clipped to the side and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring or swirling until syrup reaches 238 degrees F on the candy thermometer. Once the syrup comes to temperature, immediately remove it from the heat and with the mixer running on medium low speed, slowly drizzle the hot syrup into the egg yolks. Some of the mixture will end up on the sides of the mixing bowl; that is okay. Do not stop the mixer or the eggs may curdle. The sugar will harden on the sides and will not affect the quality of the frosting. Beat the mixture until it is almost completely cooled.
  7. When the mixture is almost cooled, add the 4 sticks of butter a few pieces at a time, until it is all incorporated. Be sure to mix well. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and make sure the frosting is a homogeneous mixture. Beat in the mango puree and vanilla.
  8. Frost the cupcakes with a generous amount of frosting and enjoy. Serve at room temperature.
  9. These may be stored in the refrigerator overnight; just be sure to bring to room temperature before serving. They may also be frozen wrapped in plastic wrap, followed by foil, and placed in a zipper bag for up to three months. Thaw for 2 hours at room temperature before serving.
Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay


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  1. Theresa Tworkowski says:

    I love the way you describe things..

    • Those are GORGEOUS. I wish my children were still young eonugh to appreciate something like that! A fun thing to try for teenagers, though, is to swirl multi colored icing on cupcakes (or cake) a la “tie dye”. They love it!


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