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Gingerbread Buttercream

I’ve made gingerbread buttercream a few times over the years for different projects, but realized I haven’t shared the recipe yet!

This frosting uses my american buttercream recipe as a base, then mixes in the perfect amount of spices and a bit of molasses to make it taste just a gingerbread cookie.

This frosting is definitely on the sweet side, but the spices help balance out its flavor. The spice mixture in this recipe can also be added to a less sweet frosting base like my Swiss meringue frosting or Russian buttercream.

image of gingerbread buttercream

What Can I Frost With This Gingerbread Buttercream?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to using this frosting. Cakes, cupcakes, cookies, macarons, you name it!!

I’ve used it to frost my gingerbread house cake, layered spice cake, vanilla cupcakes, and even my buttercream cookies!

image of a gingerbread house cake frosted with gingerbread buttercream frosting

I’ve also used a small batch version of this buttercream to make my gingerbread macarons and it was a total hit.

Gingerbread Buttercream Troubleshooting

While this recipe is pretty straight forward, sometimes people do run into issues making gingerbread buttercream. The hardest part is getting the consistency of your buttercream just right.

There are few different factors that influence the consistency of your frosting.

It’s a delicate balance between the temperature of your kitchen, the brand of butter you use, the temperature of your butter, and the amount of heavy cream you use.

The easiest way to see if your frosting is the right consistency is the spatula test! I check the consistency of every batch of frosting I make using this test.

It confirms that your frosting is stiff enough to hold its shape, but spreadable enough for you to easily frost your cake or pipe onto cupcakes. 

To test your frosting, firmly press a rubber spatula into your frosting and pull directly up. Turn the spatula right side up, and look at the frosting on the tip.

image of buttercream frosting being tested for the right consistency
Testing the consistency of a batch of my buttercream frosting using the spatula test.

The frosting should form a somewhat soft peak that has a little curl on the end. It’s stiff enough to hold up that curl, but soft enough to create that little curl.

That little curl is a great visual cue to know that your frosting is just the right consistency.

If it’s too stiff and sticks straight up, I suggest adding in more heavy cream (1 Tbsp at a time).

If it’s too thin and doesn’t form a little peak at all, try adding a bit more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time). You can also chill it in the fridge in 10-minute intervals.

After each adjustment, be sure to retest the frosting with your spatula before making any additional changes.

image of a gingerbread macaron frosted with gingerbread buttercream frosting

Paddle Attachment vs. Whisk Attachment

Now that we’ve covered troubleshooting, the last thing to discuss is our equipment.

Either a paddle or whisk attachment can be used to make this frosting with a stand mixer, or you can use a hand mixer.

I like to use my paddle attachment when making frosting for a cake, to minimize the amount of air that is incorporated into the frosting.

This makes silky smooth frosting, which is easier to smooth onto cakes.

I use my whisk attachment when making frosting for cupcakes, which I like to be light and fluffy!

I like to incorporate air into frosting for cupcakes, because I usually pipe massive swirls onto each cupcake.

These are just my personal preferences though, and you can use whatever attachment or mixer you have. They’ll all get the job done!

image of gingerbread macarons frosted with gingerbread buttercream

Make Your Gingerbread Buttercream In Advance

This gingerbread buttercream recipe can be made in advance. I highly recommend making it ahead of time if possible. Not only does it give the frosting time to develop more flavor, it also makes the decoration of a cake or cupcakes less stressful and more fun.

This frosting keeps in the fridge for several weeks, if stored in an airtight container.

When you’re ready to use the chilled buttercream, remove it from the fridge a few hours in advance (or overnight) and allow it to come to room temperature.

Give it a good stir with a rubber spatula or an electric mixer to get rid of any air bubbles that may have formed. Once the buttercream is smooth again, it’s ready to use!

Tips For Making Best Gingerbread Buttercream Frosting:

  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature before making your frosting.
  • As long as your powdered sugar contains cornstarch (most brands in the US do) there’s no need to sift you powdered sugar.
  • Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream and not normal milk! You need the higher fat percentage for the frosting to have the right consistency.
  • If you are making frosting for a cake, mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process.
  • I usually make 1 1/2 batches of frosting to fill and frost a seven or eight inch cake.

Making This Gingerbread Buttercream Recipe in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • Make your frosting ahead of time or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
  • If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try this gingerbread buttercream recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a rating below, and a comment to let me know your thoughts.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 7

Gingerbread Buttercream

image of a gingerbread macaron frosted with gingerbread buttercream frosting

This gingerbread buttercream recipe is the perfect frosting for cakes, cupcakes, & cookies! It's absolutely delicious and so easy to make!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

Gingerbread Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (434 grams; 1 lb box)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (8 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp molasses (40 grams)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon (8 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger (4 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (4 grams)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (907 grams; 2 lb bag)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or whipping cream (60 grams)

Instructions

Gingerbread Buttercream Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, beat 2 cups of room temperature butter on a low speed for 30 seconds with a paddle or whisk attachment (or hand mixer) until smooth.
  2. Add in 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp molasses, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg and beat on low.
  3. Slowly add in 7 cups of powdered sugar. Add in 1/4 cup of heavy cream half way through make the frosting easier to mix.
  4. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  5. Mix on a low speed until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached. 
  6. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
  7. Continue to mix on the lowest speed for a minute or two to help make the frosting super smooth.
  8. Stir by hand with a rubber spatula to make the frosting extra smooth at the end, then cover with plastic wrap (to prevent crusting) or place in a piping bag and set aside until you're ready to use it.

Notes

Recipe Yield

This recipe makes about 7 cups of frosting, which is enough to frost 2 dozen cupcakes or a 6" layer cake. I suggest altering the batch size for the following desserts:

  • 1 batch of macarons - 1/8 batch
  • 7 or 8 inch layer cake - 1 1/2 batches
  • 1 dozen cupcakes - 1/2 batch
  • 2 dozen cookies - 1/2 batch

Making This Gingerbread Buttercream in Advance and Storage Tips:

Make your frosting ahead of time, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!

If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

If you are making frosting for a cake, mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process.

Nutrition Information

Yield

7

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 963Total Fat 57gSaturated Fat 36gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 154mgSodium 181mgCarbohydrates 116gFiber 1gSugar 112gProtein 1g
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