Sometimes I bake something that transcends what I believe about my own baking abilities. My friend Carla, who is also a baker, understands what I mean by this. We know we can bake, and other people clearly enjoy our treats. If we each had a nickel for every time we’ve been told we should really be baking for a living, we could…well, open our own bakery.
Perhaps it’s the recipe, which I adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook spice cake recipe to have an even distribution of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Perhaps it’s the maple cream cheese frosting, which I invented based on a few other recipes to my own taste preference. Perhaps it’s the combination of the two. I don’t know what makes these cupcakes so delicious, but they truly are. I mean, dee-lish-us. So if Carla and I do finally get to open our own bakery someday, you can bet they’ll be on the menu.
Note: this recipe yields 24 regular-sized cupcakes and 16 miniature cupcakes. And seriously, folks, use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup or maple flavoring, for the frosting. You’ll thank me later.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- heaping 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. You’ll note that the measurements for the spices are heaping, so seriously, don’t hold back.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add sugar and vanilla and cream together until well-combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until just combined after each addition.
Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into regular-sized cupcake pans, filling about halfway full; use a 1-inch cookie scoop to fill miniature cupcake pan.
Bake regular-sized cupcakes for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Bake miniature cupcakes for 8-10 minutes, also until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool in pans for a few minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese for 2-3 minutes, until very smooth and well-blended.
Add one cup powdered sugar, beating until combined, followed by 2 tablespoons maple syrup, again beating until well-combined. Add additional cups powdered sugar and remaining tablespoons of maple syrup alternatively, beating until frosting is very smooth.
Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.