Easy Spice Cupcakes

The aroma of these easy spice cupcakes with caramel buttercream will take you back to Grandma’s kitchen.

Cupcakes are one of our favorite things! Not only are they hand held, but you can literally make hundreds of different combinations of cake flavors and frosting flavors.

You’ll fall in love with these homemade spice cake cupcakes with a caramel buttercream frosting. They’ll make your home smell amazing while they bake!

Easy Spice Cupcakes with caramel buttercream on a wire rack

Why are cupcakes so popular?

How did cupcakes come to be and why are they so popular? People started making cupcakes in the early 1900’s because they didn’t take as long to bake and were less likely to burn in the oven. This was also the time when muffin pans (which you bake cupcakes in) became popular. (source)

Around 2011, cupcakes became all the rage. Cupcake recipes galore, cupcake bakers, and even cupcake ATMs (Have you tried this??? They are fun!).

It’s fun to make a handheld food, they are easy to decorate, and much more portable than an entire cake. It’s also a great way to watch portion control….as long as you don’t eat more than one. (Guilty!)

What does spice cake taste like?

Spice cake is traditionally made with comforting spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. It is similar to a gingerbread flavor and is very common around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.

The flavor is deeper, earthier and spicier than traditional white or chocolate cakes.

How to Make Easy Spice Cupcakes

These spiced cupcakes are 100% from scratch. It may seem intimidating to venture away from a box cake mix, but I’m going to show you just how easy it is. You can do it!

  • Stir together flour and baking soda and salt, then set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter, sugars and eggs. Mix well.
mixing bowl with beaters and egg mixture
  • Add in the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
  • Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Mix just until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
mixing cake batter in a bowl with a hand mixer
  • Scoop batter into into a cupcake tin filled with liners. *Fill NO HIGHER than ½ full!* This will make about 18 cupcakes.
unbaked spice cupcakes in muffin tin
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
unfrosted spice cupcakes on a wire rack

You can allow the cupcakes to cool about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove them to a wire rack to cool more quickly.

caramel frosting in mixing bowl

How to Make Caramel Frosting

This caramel buttercream is super easy.

To make buttercream, beat butter (butter should be room temperature. Not cold, but not softened too much), powdered sugar, and caramel syrup until smooth and fluffy.

The exact texture of the frosting could change with the type of caramel you choose to use. If you find the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time. If you find it too stiff, add a touch more caramel.

**Pro Tip: If the frosting is too sweet, add a dash of salt to cut back the sweetness. Be careful not to add too much!**

caramel frosting piled on a cupcake

How do you swirl frosting on cupcakes?

Frosting swirls on cupcakes may look complicated, but it is actually fairly easy!

You’ll need:

  • Frosting Bags. We like disposable. No cleanup. (Unless you want to wash it and reuse it.)
  • Large Frosting Tip. We like either Wilton 1M or 2D. With these large tips, there is no need to use a coupler to hold the tip in. They’ll slip right into the frosting bag.

Cut off about an inch of the tip of the frosting bag. Place the frosting tip into the bag and push down so it is nice and tight.

Fill the frosting bag with frosting, then squeeze out any air.

Place the tip perpendicular to the top of the cupcake, then push and swirl in circles, piling up the frosting as high as you’d like it to go. When you are done, stop squeezing the bag and pull quickly up.

This frosting is very soft so it is best if you refrigerate the frosting for 20 minutes or so before piping. Your hands will warm the frosting even more so if you find that is happening, firm it back up in the fridge.

cupcakes with caramel frosting

How to Store Cupcakes

Normally cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. These cupcakes will be ok at room temperature for several hours as long as it is not hot.

The frosting on the spice cupcakes is very soft, so if it is too warm, it will melt. For that reason, we recommend storing the cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Allow them to come to room temperature in the sealed container before opening it.

Other Spice Cake Recipes

caramel frosting piled on a cupcake
caramel frosting piled on a cupcake

Easy Spice Cupcakes

4.80 from 5 votes
The aroma of these easy spice cupcakes with caramel buttercream will take you back to Grandma's kitchen.
Servings 18
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes

Ingredients
 

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (we use salted)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

Caramel buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar (may need more if you want it stiffer, but add the extra ¼ cup at a time while mixing)
  • ⅓-½ cup caramel syrup (I use Hershey’s or Smuckers ice cream topping)

Instructions
 

  • Stir together flour, baking soda and salt, then set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter, sugars, and eggs until well combined.
  • Add in the vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Mix until smooth.
  • Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix just until smooth.
  • Scoop batter into into a cupcake tin filled with liners. *Fill NO HIGHER than ½ full!* This will make about 18 cupcakes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
  • To make buttercream, beat butter, powdered sugar, and caramel syrup until smooth and fluffy.
  • Place Wilton Tip 2D or 1M inside a disposable piping bag. Scoop the batter into the bag. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up the frosting.
  • Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes in swirls.
  • Store the cupcakes in an airtight container. If it is very warm in the room, refrigerate the cupcakes because the frosting will melt quickly.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

The calories shown are based on the recipe making 15 cupcakes, with 1 serving being 1 frosted cupcake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 177mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 368IU | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 252
Keyword buttermilk spice cake, easy cupcake recipe, homemade cupcakes
title image for spice cupcakes with caramel frosting

About Julie Clark

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