I love cupcakes. It could be the cuteness, or it could be there is a higher frosting to cake ratio, but I love them. It might be all the cute little cupcake liners I have – almost a lifetime supply, really.
So when I’m experiencing a culinary downturn, it’s the cupcake I turn to. Over the past week, I have done poorly with a Daring Cook challenge – I liked the concept of the recipe, but I executed it poorly. I have accidentally dropped a small chocolate cheesecake on the floor while I was trying to get it out of the oven. Those things splatter spectacularly. And, my beloved Kitchenaid is still broken. No, it’s not the worm gear. Either I put it together incorrectly, or there is something wrong with the eletricalness of it. It only has one speed – super fast…which means everything gets splashed around the kitchen.
Ah, just think about the bliss of the cupcake. It makes everything a little bit better. These cupcakes made everything better…at least for a short time.
I’m sure I’m alone on this one, but there are certain spices in foods that just make me feel warm when I eat them. I’m talking cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and sometimes cloves. They take me back to childhood, and the gorgeous smells of carrot cake baking, or the cinnamon rolls I would make my Mom, and the happy looks I would get from her for making her favorite food.
So, I went looking for a spice cupcake recipe. Actually, I went looking for a recipe I could change into my own spices. I found one – in the oddest places – on the food network site, by Paula Deen. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with Paula. I loved her when she just started her show. But, I think she has suffered the same fate that most other food network stars do – a victim of her own fame. It seems like she has become a caricature of herself – like Emeril did before her, like Guy Fieri is becoming now.
But this recipe is sound. I remember a similar one in my Fannie Farmer Baking book…boy, I wish I still had that book…I loved that book.
I decided the perfect frosting for the cupcake would be a spiced cream cheese frosting, and I was right. These cupcakes were great, and the frosting was too! A perfect little sweet on a cold and rainy day.
These cupcakes have quite a bit of rise to them, so be sure to fill your cupcake liners just a little less than you normally would, or your cupcake will be too big. I used my handy ice cream scoop, which is great for portioning things like this. You can get different sized scoops at a Restaurant supply store, so you have one for regular cupcakes, one for mini’s, and one or two for portioning cookies as well. I love mine!
If you want a printable recipe, click here.
Inspired by Paula Dean
Makes – A lot of cupcakes! About 30
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ t. vanilla
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cups sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whip butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs, one at a time, followed by all the spices, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla. Add 1 cup of the flour, followed by ½ cup of the buttermilk. Mix until just combined. Repeat adding flour, then buttermilk, ending with ¼ cup of buttermilk.
Place in lined cupcake tins, filling no more than 2/3 full. Bake 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
16 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ to ½ cup cream
8 cups powdered sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
½ t. cardamom
¼ t. salt
½ t. vanilla
In a large bowl, whip butter and cream cheese for a few minutes until lighter. Slowly add powdered sugar, spices, salt, and vanilla. Add 2 T. cream, and whip frosting until light and fluffy – 3-5 minutes. Add more cream, a little at a time, until the desired consistency.