Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spice Cupcakes with Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

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.

Spice Cupcakes

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

4 eggs

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.


  1. The cupcakes look delicious! I have the same love/hate thing with Paula -- really all the food network chefs now a days. I'll have to make these spice cakes soon, they'd help take the chill out of this chilly spring am :)

  2. Mmmmmm...I'm all about the frosting to cupcake ratio, too :)