01 March 2011

Recipe: Spice Cakes with Lemon Icing

When you move overseas, to a country where you don't speak the language, you often rely on the kindness of new friends. I've been baking lots of treats recently as thankyou's to people who have helped us get bulky baby items home (and up steep flights of stairs) and translated various important papers for us. The currency of homemade cupcakes seems to be just as appreciated here in Amsterdam as it was in Montreal. So wherever you are, if you want a sweet treat or to say thank you to a kind friend, these cupcakes are a nice alternative to my Scrumptious Chocolate Cupcakes and just as delicious.

Lemon Spice Cupcake

This spice cake recipe was often made as a birthday cake when I was growing up and was always accompanied by lemon icing. The two are inextricably linked for me. This is a no-fuss one-bowl type of cake.

Spice Cake
Makes two round 9" layer cakes or about 16 cupcakes.

In a large bowl, mix all at once:
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c soft butter
  • 1/2 tsp each: cloves, nutmeg (grate fresh!) and salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 each: tsp allspice, baking soda
  • 1/4 c molasses (fancy-grade)
  • 1/2 c milk

Grating the nutmeg fresh makes a big difference and it only takes half a minute on a microplane. (Seriously, we thought this step was going to be fiddly and annoying, but it grates up so fluffy that you don't need to do much to get your 1/2 tsp!) If you're using electric beaters, beat for just 2 minutes until it comes together. If you overmix, the cake will turn out dry.

Stir in:
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Beat in:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 c milk

Beat batter for another 2 minutes or less, until just combined, then pour into your pans. If you're making it as a cake, be sure to grease and flour the cake tins. For cupcakes, you can do the same, use paper liners, or bake in silicone muffin cups.

The original cake baking instructions are to bake at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes. For these cupcakes, I baked at 180°C (355°F) in a convection oven for 20-25 minutes. Check on them early and test with a toothpick to determine when they're done.

For the icing, I blend about 1/4 cup butter with 1 1/2 - 2 cups icing sugar, the juice of half a lemon and the zest of 2 lemons.

Lemon Spice Cupcake

You can find more of my recipes in the Food section, in the tabs along the top.

Photographs and artwork by Allison Gryski. © All rights reserved.


seeloo said... Best Blogger Tips

no eggs?

Allison said... Best Blogger Tips

The recipe includes 2 eggs if you read it through.