Monday, October 17, 2011

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

My blog.  It is definitely not at the top of the totem pole right now, obviously.

I have been busy:  four weddings in three weeks, my church's annual women's retreat, and then another wedding.  What is the deal with October?  I love all we are doing, but I really wish we could spread a little love onto September.  It was just plain awful!

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to New York last weekend, and it was wonderful. I didn't write about it last week, as I felt like a girl who met a really hot boy for the first time and was completely and irrationally gaga over him.  Because I was (irrationally gaga over my time there).  And I sounded pretty ridiculous in my brain.  For a lover of film, travelling to New York for the first time is like finally meeting a pen pal who you know so well and yet have never met face to face.  I was sad that it was a wee bit chilly the day of our outing into the city.  I had the perfect outfit planned which was in turn covered up with a bulky sweater. Would anyone would notice me?  Of course not. I just sensed that the eyes of one of the most fashionable cities in the world would look down on me from the heights of impossibly colossal buildings and spew my South Carolina swagger straight out.

Those Yankees can sniff out a drawl faster than you can say... well, something stereotypically southern.  And how I hate to stand out when I travel!

My two hours in the city were however trumped by my 2.5 days at West Point, preparing for the wedding of one of the most generous and kind girls in the world.  I will say more about it another time, when I can show you in pictures.

I have been back to my normal life for over a week now, baking and again knitting misshapen hats, doing a lot of hair and makeup, and loving on a family I left for 4 days and 3 whole nights.  Wow.

So as it has been awhile since I have tempted you with sweet treats, here is what has been smelling up my kitchen recently...

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting.

And they were heavenly.  And in the words of a young woman who ate one, "they taste like October."

And I would have to agree.

Spice Cake

So here you go.  A recipe:

Spice Cake with Maple Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 t baking soda
1.5 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
2 Tbsp. ground ginger
3/4 t kosher salt
3/4 c sour cream
1 stick of butter, completely softened
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350.  Prepare 2 cupcake tins with liners.
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients (including sugars).  Add the sour cream and butter and beat on medium until they are fully incorporated. Add the eggs together and beat on medium until they are incorporated, and beat another 20 seconds or so.

Spoon batter into cups until they are somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.  Pull out of tins immediately and cool on a rack.

Maple Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
2 sticks butter softened, but still cool
1 block name-brand cream cheese, softened but still cool
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 t pure maple flavoring (or 1 T real maple syrup)
1 t vanilla extract or paste
3.5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Beat the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on medium high for 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated, and then beat on medium high for another 2 minutes.  Add the extracts and mix until incorporated.

I sometimes add a bit of good ol' pancake syrup to this, as few Americans know how real maple tastes.  Just be sure you use a syrup made without high fructose corn syrup:)

Fall is here, despite our 88 degree weather.  Wedding stress aside, make some of these and bring some comforting warmth to your high-strung self.

Rachel Bee

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