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Spice Cupcakes

These spice cupcakes are made with fluffy brown sugar and warm spices, and bake up so moist and tender!

As if that wasn’t enough, they’re topped with a rich cream cheese buttercream and a dusting of cinnamon. It’s truly the perfect Fall cupcake recipe!

image of a spice cake that's been bitten into to show how moist and tender the cupcake is

My Secret Ingredient(s): The Perfect Balance of Warm Spices

These cupcakes are made with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.

The ratio of spices (heavy on the cinnamon, just a pinch of cloves) gives them such a warm, balanced flavor.

image of warm spices in a bowl

Two other important ingredients in this recipe are sour cream and butter.

These ingredients create a tender, moist cupcake and let the warm spices really shine through in every bite.

Picking the Right Frosting

When I think of a spice cupcake, the first frosting that comes to mind is cream cheese buttercream. It’s such a classic combination!!

My cream cheese buttercream has the delicious tang of cream cheese but is sturdy like my classic American buttercream. This means you can easily use it to pipe onto cupcakes.

image of cream cheese frosting being mixed in a glass bowl with a hand mixer

I am obsessed with this frosting but I think that my spiced cream cheese frosting or my hybrid buttercream would taste great on these too. You can check out all my frosting recipes here.

Let’s Make These Spice Cupcakes Together!

Let’s walk through each step of this spice cupcake recipe to make sure it turns out as amazing as possible! I’ve also shared a video tutorial below.

Step 1: Make the Spice Cupcake Batter

Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F/175°C and lining a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.

Make sure you properly cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.

image of butter and brown sugar being mixed together

It should be mixed on high for a couple minutes and become lighter in color as air is whipped into it.

image of butter and brown sugar that have been properly creamed together and have become lighter in color

Next, mix in the eggs one at a time. If the batter looks broken at this stage, don’t worry! It’ll come together once we add in the dry ingredients.

image of eggs being mixed into spice cupcake batter

Then mix in the sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Mix on a medium speed until combined.

The last step is to sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

image of dry ingredients being sifted into wet ingredients to make spice cupcake batter

If you don’t have a sifter, whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add them in. The batter should be thick and fluffy! Don’t over-mix!!

image of spice cupcake batter being made from scratch

Step 2: Bake the Spice Cupcakes

Divide the batter evenly between the liners and fill them about 2/3 way full. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

image of spice cupcake batter that's been scooped into a muffin pan and is ready to go in the oven

Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

If you’re in a rush, place the entire pan in the freezer for 30 minutes to accelerate the cooling process.

Step 3: Make the Cream Cheese Buttercream

While the cupcakes bake and cool, make the cream cheese frosting.

image of powdered sugar being mixed into butter and cream cheese to make homemade cream cheese frosting

If the frosting seems too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).

Once the frosting is made, stir it by hand with a rubber spatula to get the frosting SUPER smooth.

Then place the frosting in a piping bag fitted with your favorite frosting tip. I used an Ateco 869.

Step 4: Frost the Cupcakes

The final step is to pipe large swirls onto the fully cooled cupcakes. Dust with a bit of cinnamon and enjoy!

If you don’t have any frosting tips, you can also use a Freezer ziplock bag and trim the corner to have a 2 cm opening.

image of a spice cake that's been bitten into to show how moist and tender the cupcake is

No matter how you decorate them, they’re going to be incredibly moist and delicious. I mean, just look at that crumb!!

Substitutions and Swaps – Spice Cupcakes

Now that we’ve covered how to make these cupcakes, let’s talk about the ingredients!!

This recipe uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have them all on hand.

Or if you have food allergies or restrictions, I’ve got you covered. Below are some swaps and substitutions that you can make.

  • All Purpose Flour – This recipe turns out best with AP flour, but you can use a gluten free flour blend if needed.
  • Granulated Sugar – I do not recommend reducing the amount of sugar or changing the type of sugar as it will change the texture of these cupcakes.
  • Vegetable Oil – You can use any flavorless oil in this recipe. Canola or sunflower oil would work great!
  • Large Eggs – If you have an egg allergy, try using 2 flaxseed eggs or a vegan egg replacer like this one made by Bob’s Red Mill.
image of a spice cupcake that's been frosted with cream cheese buttercream frosting

Substitutions and Swaps – Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted Butter – If you only have salted butter on hand, you can use it in place of the unsalted butter. Just be sure to omit the salt that this frosting recipe calls for.
  • Cream Cheese – The frosting turns out best with full fat cream cheese. I use the type that comes in a block.
  • Heavy Cream – Whipping cream, coconut cream, or alternative milk (soy, almond, oat, coconut) will work fine in this frosting recipe if that’s what you have on hand.
image of a spice cupcake being held at an angle to show it's delicious cream cheese frosting

Tips for Making the Best Spice Cupcakes

  • Ingredients at room temp mix together better. Set out any cold ingredients ahead of time.
  • Properly measure the flour (spoon into the cup measure, then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients.
  • Mix the cupcake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated once you’ve added in the flour. This will ensure your cupcakes are tender and fluffy.
  • Use a large cookie scoop to easily fill your cupcake liners. It also makes sure your cupcakes end up being the same height and bake evenly.
  • Seal off the top the piping bag with a rubber band to prevent any frosting from coming out the top of the bag and make the piping bags easier to use.

Making This Spice Cupcake Recipe in Advance

You can make these cupcakes in advance! Frosted cupcakes can sit at room temperature for a few hours or be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

They can also last up to a month in the freezer. If you plan to freeze them, I suggest waiting to frost them until they’re thawed.

You can also make the cream cheese frosting ahead of time or save any leftovers. This buttercream frosting will last in the fridge for up to a month.

Be sure to give the frosting a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

You can also store buttercream in piping bags in the fridge. I find buttercream keeps its consistency well in piping bags and doesn’t require any mixing after it’s thawed.

image of a spice cupcake that's been frosted with cream cheese buttercream frosting and unwrapped

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make this spice cupcake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Please leave a rating below.

Don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets so that I can see your amazing creations on social media.

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 12

Spice Cupcakes

image of a spice cake that's been bitten into to show how moist and tender the cupcake is

These spice cupcakes are made with brown sugar and warm spices! They bake up moist and tender and are topped with delicious cream cheese frosting!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 19 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 59 minutes

Ingredients

Spice Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (150g)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (112g)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (125g)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil (14g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (160g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (4g)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
  • 1/4 cup full fat cream cheese, room temperature (56g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (6g)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (1g)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (312g)
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream or milk (15g)

Instructions

Spice Cupcakes

  1. Begin by preheating oven to 350°F / 175°C and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Use a hand mixer to beat 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar on a high speed for 2 minutes. The mixture should become lighter in a color as air is whipped into it.
  3. Mix in 2 large eggs, one at a time on a medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. If the batter looks broken at this stage, don't worry! It'll come together once we add in the dry ingredients.
  4. Add in 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 Tbsp oil, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix on a medium speed until combined.
  5. Next, sift in 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp fine salt, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground cloves. If you don't have a sifter, whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add them in.
  6. Mix on low until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula. The batter should be thick and fluffy!
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the liners and fill them about 2/3 way full. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  8. Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, pop the pans into your freezer for about 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

  1. Beat 1/2 cup of room-temperature butter and 1/4 cup of cream cheese on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a hand mixer or stand mixer and paddle attachment until smooth.
  2. Mix in 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt on a low speed.
  3. Gradually mix in 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar on a low speed. Halfway through add 1 Tbsp of heavy cream to make the frosting easier to mix. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
  4. Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached
  5. If the frosting seems too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tablespoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time).
  6. Once the frosting is made, stir it by hand with a rubber spatula for a couple minutes to make the frosting SUPER smooth.
  7. Place the frosting in a large piping bag fit with your favorite frosting tip (I used an Ateco 869).

Decorating These Spice Cupcakes

  1. Pipe large swirls onto the fully cooled cupcakes. Dust with a bit of cinnamon and enjoy!

Notes

This recipe can also be used to make mini spice cupcakes! It makes about 40 mini cupcakes, which only need to bake for 9-10 minutes.

Making This Spice Cupcake Recipe in Advance

Frosted cupcakes can sit out at room temperature for a few hours. If you frost these cupcakes further in advance, I recommend storing them in the fridge in an airtight container. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

If stored unfrosted in an airtight container, they can last for:

  • A day at room temperature
  • Up to 5 days in the fridge
  • Up to a month in the freezer

Make your frosting ahead of time too or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 409Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 85mgSodium 232mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 1gSugar 39gProtein 4g

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