Spice cupcakes hold a special place in my heart - it's the first real cake I made successfully and, for the longest time, the only type I could make at all. Spice cake also happens to be my Daddy's favorite cake flavor (which is probably why I learned to make it to begin with).
Though I have to say when I made these yesterday, that first bite of spice cake during the middle of the summer threw me for a minute - I mean how often do you eat cinnamon-y, nutmeg-y things in June? Basically never. Unless you're my Dad. I usually focus on lighter, fruitier flavors during the summer because that's the thing to do, but what can I say - I'm a rebel at heart. Bring on the fall flavors. Woo! I mean honestly, comfort food is comfort food - amirite?
Spice Cupcakes with Creamy White Chocolate Crunch Topping
For the Spice Cupcakes:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream or vanilla pudding
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (I used skim milk)
1) Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
2) In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until no longer crumbly - about 2 minutes. Add oil, sour cream (or pudding), and vanilla and continue to mix until mixture is homogenous. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing just until combined in between each addition.
3) Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and flour. Add to butter mixture alternately with the milk in about 2-3 additions each (so add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the milk, another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, etc.).
4) Divide batter amongst the 12 cupcake cups. Bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool before topping.
For the White Chocolate Crunch Topping:
adapted from Milk: Momofuku Milk Bar
1/2 cup dry milk powder (not prepared)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1) Preheat oven to 250F. Line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silpat mat.
2) Stir together the milk powder, flour, sugar, and cornstarch. Add the butter and mix until all ingredients are moistened - mixture will be crumbly. Spread out on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes then pour mixture back into mixing bowl. Add melted white chocolate and stir until all crumbs are coated. Spread out on baking sheet again and refrigerate until chocolate is set.
3) Once set, break up pieces into small crumbs (I had to chop them on a cutting board).
For the White Chocolate Ganache:
1 cup white chocolate chips
2-3 tablespoons evaporated milk (or cream)
1) Place chocolate chips and evaporated milk in a small bowl. Microwave in two 30 second increments, stirring in between and then after until smooth.
1) Spread about a tablespoon of white chocolate ganache on top of each cupcake and then dip into the white chocolate crunch topping, making sure to evenly coat the top. Will keep in an air tight container for 2-3 days.