Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

spice cupcakesSometimes 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.

Spice Cupcakes


  • 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.




5 thoughts on “Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Every year since I gave up on pumpkin pie for my birthday cake, I’ve had spice cake with maple frosting! It’s a simple box mix with my mom’s maple butter-cream frosting and nothing in this world is nearly as good. Interesting twist with the cream cheese, I might have to try it!

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