As much as I like to experiment, I love to fall back on the classics. I decided to break out my grandma’s 1965 Better Homes and Garden Cookbook for inspiration. I perused the pages until I found a recipe for a spice cake, decided that it would make yummy cupcakes, and started baking! Really, I needed no inspiration because these recipes are all SO good that I left them “as is.” If you’re feeling cold on a winter’s night (not that it’s winter now…) or want a taste of fall, bake these up. You’ll love them!
2 c sifted AP flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cloves
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ginger
2/3 c shortening
¾ c brown sugar
1 c buttermilk or sour milk*
Preheat oven to 350°
Sift together first 7 ingredients. Add shortening, brown sugar, and buttermilk. Mix till all the flour is moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed on electric mixer. Add eggs; beat 2 minutes more.
Fill lined cupcake tins so that each cup is about 2/3 full (recipe should make 24-36 cupcakes).
Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
* If you do not have buttermilk on hand, it’s quick and easy to make sour milk. Simply take a cup of milk (2% or richer works best) and stir in 1 tbsp of white distilled vinegar. Let stand for 15 minutes until it looks like it’s beginning to curdle. Voila! Instant buttermilk!
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
¼ c butter, softened
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 c sifted confectioners’ sugar
Combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and beat on low until light in color. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Pipe onto cupcakes and use any leftover frosting to decorate by adding coloring.
I ended up separating my leftover frosting and coloring half orange and half green. I used liquid dye, but I am inspired by Toks and want to try out gels or pastes next time. Despite only having liquid dye, the colors turned out ok. Unfortunately, my decorating skills are not up to par, and it looks like I need to practice quite a bit more to perfect my flowers and leaves!