Jamaican ginger cupcakes with lemon swiss meringue buttercream frosting

Jamaican ginger cupcakes recipe with lemon swiss meringue buttercream frosting

Special everyday cakes and treats

These are little cakes with a kick and health benefits, upping your daily intake of ginger.  In the article Ginger is a Great Medicine it also says many consider Jamaican ginger to be the best in the world!  Did not know that.  At school my best friend’s Jamaican mum always had loads of flavour and spice to her food.  I still remember the hot chicken, rice and peas fondly, along with our burning but happy mouths.  So though Mr Kipling’s Jamaican ginger cake is my main model I imagined these cupcakes should have kick to them and threw in ground ginger, fresh ginger and some extra candied stem ginger.  You might wonder if I was overdoing it but it works!  And lemon frosting complements the moist coconut oil sponge, balancing the ginger heat with a subtle fresh citrus zing.  Tada!  Kick-ass Jamaican ginger cupcakes with lemon swiss meringue buttercream.

Jamaican ginger cupcakes

Jamaican ginger cupcakes with lemon frosting

The cupcakes were made for a climbing trip so originally had no buttercream and you might prefer this healthier dairy-free and refined sugar-free version.  The cupcakes seemed perfect:  portable, easy and fast to make.  Here they are unadorned at the rock.

Jamaican ginger cupcakes

Jamaican ginger cupcakes

And one trying to escape by rock-climbing solo.

Jamaican ginger cupcakesThe climbers loved them.  The Catalan climber said they reminded him of Christmas and he enjoyed the soft texture and spices, as did the Rumanian friend who appreciated the lingering taste of ginger.  She enthusiastically encouraged me to take the next step and add frosting to the remaining cupcakes back home.  We loved them plain but had an enjoyable moment visualising pretty dressed-up cupcakes! (while the guys looked on baffled).  But let’s take a step back in time.

20 hours earlier…

… as they say in suspense movies.  🙂

THE RECIPE – makes 16-18 cupcakes

I combined my go-to coconut oil sponge cake with a medley of online recipes for Jamaican ginger cake made with brown sugar rather than molasses.  Brushing the baked cupcakes with apricot jam added some characteristic stickiness.  These are not exactly classic Jamaican ginger cakes.  But they have some of their spirit, flavour and texture then extra lift from the zingy lemon frosting complementing but not overshadowing the main star of the show:  ginger.

Jamaican ginger cupcakes with lemon frosting

Jamaican ginger cupcakes with lemon frosting


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (static oven) or 160°C/320°F (fan oven) and line a cupcake or muffin tray with cases/liners.  Or place free-standing doubled-up cupcake cases on a baking tray.
  • Mix the milk with the lemon juice in a small bowl and allow to develop 10 minutes or more before using.
  • Have everything ready, weighed, grated and cut because when the dry and wet ingredients meet, the rising agents start reacting immediately and the batter should go into the oven as quickly as possible.

Ginger sponge

Jamaican ginger cupcakes

Jamaican ginger cupcakes

Dry ingredients

  • 160g/1 cup and 2 tablespoons cake flour (T45) or all-purpose/plain flour
  • 1 and a half teaspoons baking powder
  • half a teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons ground ginger, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a quarter teaspoon fine sea salt

Wet ingredients/sugar

  • 125g/half a cup and half a tablespoon almond milk (or any other kind) mixed with half a teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 medium-large free-range eggs (110-120g)
  • 100g/half a cup plus three tablespoons light muscovado sugar (or soft dark brown/demerara sugar)
  • 35g/1 tablespoon and a half runny honey
  • 125g/half a cup plus 1 and a half tablespoons coconut oil
  • half a teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh root ginger (32g, about 3-4 inches peeled ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger syrup from stem ginger jar (optional: you can replace with milk)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger in syrup, drained (about 2 balls) or crystallised ginger

Jamaican ginger cupcakes illustrated recipe

Jamaican ginger cupcakes recipe Part 2


Fill the cases half to three-quarters full.  The batter’s quite liquid so go carefully.ginger cupcakesBake 12 -14 minutes in the middle of the oven.  They should be golden brown and spring back when you touch them lightly with a finger.  A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.  Try to catch them while they’re nice and soft, before the tops get crusty.


When cooled warm a few tablespoons of apricot jam (I used naturally agave-sweetened).  Brush on your cupcakes then prepare the frosting.

Jamaican ginger cupcakes

Jamaican ginger cupcakes

Lemon frosting for 16-18 cupcakes with medium-sized swirls as in the photos

  • 3 egg whites (around 120g) from medium-large free-range eggs
  • 115g/half a cup and half a tablespoon caster/superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 170g/three quarters of a cup good-quality unsalted butter
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • zest of one to 2 lemons, to taste
  • a little icing sugar if you want to sweeten the frosting more at the end

Jamaican ginger cupcakes recipe - lemon frostingAfter step 4 add the lemon juice and zest and whisk on low for just a few minutes till combined.  Add a little icing sugar or extra lemon juice as necessary.  Finally, use a nozzle and disposable piping bag to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.

Storing and eating

These cupcakes keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 or 5 days.  Take them out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before eating so the frosting softens up again.  Yum!

Jamaican ginger cupcakesPerhaps cupcakes are no longer my nemeses but my new friends.  Just in time for National cupcake week!

I’ll take them to the Alphabakes challenge hosted by Ros@The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes. Also to Recipe of the Week@aMummyToo, Tasty Tuesdays@HonestMum, Simply Eggcellent@BelleauKitchen and Treat petite@Cakeyboi and Baking Explorer.  Do visit, mingle and check out the lovely recipes!  🙂

5 linky partiesAnd please help yourself to a delicious Jamaican ginger cupcake with light fluffy lemon swiss meringue buttercream frosting.

Jamaican ginger cupcakes

Have a Jamaican ginger cupcakes with lemon frosting!

I bid you farewell sweet reader.  Stay frosty and have a lovely spicy and flavoursome week!  Happy cupcake week, baking and eating! 🙂











Posted by

Baking on Sundays with my French mum was a lovely part of my childhood. Later I experimented with baking books or internet recipes and did the pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. Still trying out new recipes and inventing cakes with influences from all around the world, including some healthier ones. Yes, love cakes!!! Hope you'll love them too and have fun baking. :)

34 thoughts on “Jamaican ginger cupcakes recipe with lemon swiss meringue buttercream frosting”

    • Thank you so much! Happy you like the drawings and cakes 🙂 I know.. that meringue buttercream is just so squishy and fluffy… sigh…


    • Nice to see another ginger-cake lover! Oooh, Jamaica must have been wonderful, you’re very lucky. Thank you too for hosting Tasty Tuesdays and dropping by! 🙂


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