Tag Archives: Frosting

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

16 Mar

This past Thursday was “the night” – a major presentation and the culmination of a project my 9th graders have been working on for the last six weeks. The school I work at uses projects and presentation as an evaluative tool instead of tests and this particular project was presented not just to me, but the whole school and larger community. We ran around like yahoos getting set up for at least the past week. And damn did they pull it off. I got to walk around all night just eavesdropping and there’s nothing sweeter than hearing that kid who never appears to be paying attention in class rocking his presentation.

Projects like this seem to take on a life of their own and overwhelm everything else the kids are supposed to be working on, so as a thank you for my colleagues who put up with it all I brought in Coffee Cupcakes. They were delicious and just the right kind of pick me up!

It being March though, and St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to Irish them up this weekend. You can’t exactly bring whiskey spiked cupcakes to school but I can certainly enjoy them from my kitchen! The first time I made them I followed “I Heart Kitchen’s” Triple Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes recipe with a buttercream frosting. The second time I modified a bit. And by modified, I mean added booze.

I started by adding the dry ingredients together. (I reduced the cocoa powder from four to three tablespoons because while chocolate is amazing, I’m not a huge fan of richly chocolate cake.)

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Next, whip up the butter and the sugar. Always butter and sugar. Then add the eggs until you have a beautifully yellow mixture.

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While the butter is a blending, combine the coffee, whiskey, and vanilla. (The original recipe was all coffee – I reduced the amount of coffee by the amount of alcohol I added.)

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Next, alternate adding the dry ingredients and liquid. Then, add some chocolate chips! I used the little ones because they’re cute and proportional to cupcakes but also doubled the amount called for.

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Distribute evenly into muffin tins – the recipe made 18 cupcakes.

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With the whiskey added the cupcakes didn’t rise quite as much as when I followed the original recipe but they were a lot moister. The whiskey flavor was very subtle, I could only taste it in a bite or two, and I was happier with the more minimal chocolate flavor.

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Of course, I can’t call this an Irish cupcake without a little Bailey’s. That’s what frosting is for!

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Topped with Bailey’s buttercream frosting and some green sprinkles, these cupcakes are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime you need a little coffee and booze break!

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The original cupcake recipe was from I Heart Kitchen and the frosting recipe was from Recipe Girl (I made it before to top my Irish Cream Cupcakes last year!)

Irish Coffee Cupcakes (makes 18 cupcakes)

Everything you’ll need

For the cupcakes

  • 1-3/4 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • About 1 cup brewed coffee, chilled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • About 50 mL whiskey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients – flour (1-3/4 c. + 1 T), baking powder (2 t.), salt (1/4 t.), and cocoa (3 T).
  3. Combine the coffee and whiskey (should be 1 cup TOTAL) with vanilla (1/2 t.) and set aside.
  4. Beat together the butter (1/2 c.) and sugar (1 c.).
  5. Add the eggs (2) one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Alternating, add the dry ingredients and the liquid to the butter-sugar-egg mixture, mixing well.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips (1/2 c.)
  8. Line muffin tins and fill with 1/4 cup of mixture.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. For the frosting: Beat the butter (1 c.) and sugar (3 c.) together, then add the Bailey’s and vanilla. Add more powdered sugar if needed or thin (if needed) with a little milk.
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Grandma’s Birthday Cake! (White Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting)

12 May

Two weeks ago my grandmother turned 87. Eighty-seven. That’s exactly three times older than I am now. And damn is this lady kickin’. She wears gold tennis shoes and plays bridge, can carry on a conversation about medical reform or the latest best seller, and always dresses with style. She raised four children (one of them my father so I know she has fortitude) and completely holds the history of our family in her head. Everyday, and particularly this Mother’s Day, I am grateful that I live close enough to visit her on a regular basis. So when we put together a celebratory BBQ in her honor I jumped at the chance to make the cake.

Now if it’s not chocolate, my family doesn’t really consider it dessert so I knew I needed at least a partially chocolate cake. Personally, I’m not a fan of chocolate cake so I decided to save the chocolate delish for the topping. Instead, I found the most excellent “Perfect White Cake” recipe at iambaker.net.

Usually I’m not a fiddlely baker. And by that I mean it annoys me if there’s more steps than just throwing things together. But the key to this awesome cake was the egg whites – so fluffy!

First you have to mix together some milk and 6 egg whites (I never know what to do with the left over yolks…), plus almond extract! The other key ingredient! It was in both the cake and the frosting and most everyone commented on it.

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Then you mix together some cake flour (I used all purpose but sifted it), sugar, baking powder, and salt.

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Add the butter. Oh, the butter.

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Next, you add most of the milk mixture, mix a bit, and add the rest.

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Pour batter into prepared cake pans. My cake plans are about 10-inches so I had to reduce the bake time a bit.

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But they turned out lovely!

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I followed the frosting recipe here for the Chocolate Buttercream and ended up making one and a half batches. I mean, I may not like chocolate cake, but I’m a huge fan of chocolate frosting. Plus I had a bit to play with my frosting tips.

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All packed and ready to travel! Happy Birthday, Grandma!

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The Perfect White Cake (from iambaker.net)

Everything you’ll need:

  • 2-1/4 cups flour (cake flour recommended)
  • 1 cup milk at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter (=3/4 cup)

Directions:

  1. Combine the room temperature milk (1 cup) and egg whites (6) with the almond (2 t) and vanilla (1 t) extracts in bowl and mix with a fork until blended.
  2. Mix the flour (2-1/4 c), sugar (1-3/4 c), baking powder (4 t), and salt (1 t) with an electric mixer on slow speed.
  3. Cut the butter (1-1/2 sticks = 3/4 cup) into cubes and add to the flour mixture.
  4. Add all but about 1/2 cup of milk mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 1-1/2 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining milk and beat for another minute.
  6. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake – about 20 minutes for 10-inch pans but adjust according to your pans.
  7. Allow to cool completely before assembling and frosting!

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (from savorysweetlife.com – she has super cute pictures, check them out!

Everything you’ll need:

  •  2 sticks (= 1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR 1 teaspoon almond extract (I went with almond) 
  • 4 Tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer, then add 3 cups of the powdered sugar and the cocoa powder (1/2 cup) and mix until combined (start slow and then increase speed).
  2. Add the extract, salt (1/2 t), and milk/cream (4 T) and beat for 3 minutes.
  3. Add more powdered sugar or milk as needed to get the right consistency.

Cupcakes, and Muffins, and Booze, Oh My!

25 Apr

I have been giving my muffin tins a workout lately. And my liver for that matter. But there are just so many delicious cupcake and muffin recipes out there! In the past I didn’t really like to be bothered. I mean, it’s annoying to fill each tin and frost a dozen and a half cupcakes, not to mention how obnoxious those pans are to clean, but I’ve actually started to enjoy making cupcakes.  The alcohol helps.

So let me take you on a little tour of my latest cupcake and muffin adventures.

First, the recipes almost always start with creaming the butter and sugar together. How can you go wrong with that kind of beginning?

Butter and sugar

The first in my cupcake kick were Irish Cream Cupcakes with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting. I had some Bailey’s left from when I made the Chocolate Stout Cake so I figured I should do a little more baking (and I’ll admit, a little drinking). Besides the alcohol, my favorite part were the mini chocolate chips! So cute!

Chocolate Chips

The batter for these guys was thick and the cupcakes came out dense but still oh so moist – probably because of the cream cheese. It was almost like eating a chocolate chip cookie (my favorite food ever) with a kick of Bailey’s. In the cupcake.

Baileys dough

And on top. It was not my most glamorous frosting-ing ever, but the result was still delicious.I just need more patience and to remember to let the cupcakes cool…

Frosting attempt2

Next, Champagne Cupcakes! I cheaped out and went with the Cook’s champagne…

Champagne batter

…but they turned out gorgeous!

Champagne cupcakes

(FYI – if you’re attempting to make these following the recipe linked above, it made just over a dozen cupcakes. I doubled the recipe and made a batch and a half of frosting for about 28 cupcakes)

And the frosting endeavor went much better, too.

Frosted champagne

Perhaps because Mr. Beacon was helping!

Beacon

Not my pup (thank goodness!) but not too bad to babysit after he’s been playing with his cousins for most of the weekend.

Also, I have no idea why I haven’t been making homemade frosting forever. I mean, what’s better than a recipe that calls for nothing but butter, sugar, and booze??

Frosting

And then muffins! Masquerading as a breakfast food until you realize they’re stuffed with Nutella.

Muffin batter

But look how healthy!

Muffins

Until…

Nutella muffins

But maybe since they’re Nutella-Filled Banana Muffins the banana balances things out. I’ll be telling myself that in the morning while I eat one with my coffee.

Since alcohol wasn’t an ingredient in this recipe I sipped a little wine while baking. I found a great chardonnay by Bogle that was really rich and also buttery. (Butter, again. Always.)

Wine

So do YOU have a favorite cupcake or muffin recipe? Boozey or not!

April Beer Dinner – Ambers & Reds

17 Apr

It has been forever. Basically three weeks. Probably 20 beers. OK, more like 30. I’m sorry. In my vague defense I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with work. I started full time teaching again after having spent the last year and a half splitting my time between a part-time office job and teaching just a few mornings a week. It’s like being back in my first year of teaching – feeling like I’m going to drown but also being exhilarated to get up and go to work in the morning. I guess things balance out.

IMG_8149So it was a welcome break the first weekend in April to host my third, bi-monthly beer dinner! I was a lucky girl and three of my very good friends came to spend the weekend with me. Between putting them to work hanging decorations and their own amusements playing with my train set, we managed to fit in a quick trip to the University of Beer (thanks for the gift certificate, Mom!). I tried my first white IPA there – Chainbreaker White IPA by Deschutes. It was a lot different than other beers but I really liked it! Some hops goodness without being overwhelming, plus a little something extra.

Back home Rachel, Bonnie, and Ed helped me put the finishing touches on the table setting. Ed proved himself to be surprisingly apt at flower arrangement and I do believe things looked beautiful!

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IMG_8159This month we tasted Ambers and Reds, plus some beers from Wisconsin Rachel brought. Sadly, none of them super stood out to me. I found that I favored the Reds over the Ambers, though. My two favorite was probably Knee Deep’s McCarthy’s Bane Imperial Red Ale.

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There was actually sooooo much beer that three bottles didn’t even get opened….lucky me! I don’t think Ninkasi’s Spring Reign is an Amber or Red but I do know I like it! And the Rubicon Irish Red was my other favorite. (Sorry there’s no actual descriptions of these beers….I didn’t really write anything down this time and it’s been awhile….)

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Dinner was delicious if I do say so myself. To start we had a Vegetarian Tortilla Soup that I paired with Sweetgrass American Pale Ale by Grand Teton Brewing Co. That was followed up with Black Bean Empanadas expertly constructed with the crew’s help. This was paired with Firestone Walker’s Union Jack India Pale Ale and an awesome corn-tomato-avocado salad a la Bonnie.

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Dessert was Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes paired with a Chocolate Stout by Rouge Ales. I also got to play with my pastry bag to do the frosting on the cupcakes! It was a bit of a disaster to start but in the end the cupcakes were beautiful!

Now I’m looking forward to June’s beer dinner. We’ll be tasting Summer Seasonals – the perfect way to start summer break!

Cupcake Delish with Nutella Frosting

20 Mar

I got a new job! Kind of in a rush, all of a sudden, totally overwhelming excitement!

So yesterday I was feeling completely bogged down trying to wrap up things at the old jobs and get started at the new job and I decided the solution was cupcakes. Delicious shortcake cupcakes with Nutella frosting. I mean really, what’s better than Nutella? Plus cupcakes were the perfect thing to take to work today as a “Thank you” and “Don’t hate me” ’cause I’m leaving with less than two weeks notice…

First the cupcakes. Start by beating the eggs for 4ish minutes on medium until yellow and fluffy.

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Next, add the sugar and beat for another 4 minutes.

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In the meantime you get all the dry ingredients ready. I got to use my new sifter! I’ve never had a sifter! It’s kind of fun!

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The sifter definitely made a difference in the fineness of the flour.

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You also have to work on melting the butter, adding the milk, and warming it to “lukewarm” temperature. I’m not entirely sure how to measure “lukewarm” temperature but I just stuck my pinkie in and hoped it didn’t burn me.

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Then, you add the dry ingredients to the egg/sugar mixture, followed by the butter/milk mixture.

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Divide the batter into the muffin tins. The recipe said the batter would be “fairly runny” and it really was. Then, bake!

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Let the cupcakes cool. While that happens, make the frosting. First, blend the butter and powdered sugar.

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Add the Nutella.

I always hate adding things like peanut butter to recipes because all of this stuff is left over in the measuring cup but with the Nutella I didn’t mind. I just licked the measuring cup.

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Finally, add a little vanilla and two tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Light, delicious, Nutella frosting!

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Something I’ve found now that I’m cooking and baking more is that there are about a million kitchen gadets that I just “have to have.” One of which is a pastry bag and tip. But I haven’t quite gotten around to getting one, or convincing myself that it’s really a “need”. Still, though, I want to make those beautiful and enticingly deliciously decorated cupcakes I see in other blogs. My solution? Frosting in a bag. So, I stuffed the bag into a large cup to help the transfer of the frosting from the bowl, tied it off, and then cut off just a tip of the bag. It worked pretty well.

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But then my cupcakes looked like they had little turds on top. (Haha, poos – clearly its time to move on from the 6th graders I have been teaching…)

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To try and negate that image I added chocolate chips. I think it worked. Plus, the cupcake I had was amazing!! A perfect distraction from a little stress.

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Shortcake Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream Frosting

The original frosting recipe was found at Kitchen Treaty here, which also links to the original cupcake recipe.

Everything you’ll need:

For the cupcakes-

  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used 3/4 cup regular milk + 1/4 cup whipping cream)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the frosting-

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

For the cupcakes-

  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs (4) on medium speed for four minutes until fluffy and pale yellow.
  2. Add the vanilla (1 tsp) and beat for a few more seconds.
  3. Add the sugar (1-1/2 cups) and beat for another four minutes until light and fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together the flour (2 cups), baking powder (2 tsp), and salt (1/4 tsp) and set aside.
  5. In a saucepan, melt the butter (1/4 cup), then add the milk (1 cup total) and warm until lukewarm.
  6. While mixing on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the egg/butter mixture, followed by the milk/butter mixture and beat until combined.
  7. Divide the batter (it will be pretty runny) between muffin tins (mine made ~20).
  8. Bake 15-18 minutes at 325 degrees.

For the frosting-

  1. In a mixer, beat together the butter (1 cup, 2 sticks) and powdered sugar (2 cups) on low until well blended.
  2. Add the Nutella (2/3 cup) and beat for two more minutes on medium.
  3. Add the vanilla (1 tsp.) and whip for 30 seconds.
  4. Finally, add the whipping cream (2 T) and beat for about one minute until the frosting is light and fluffy!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

21 Feb

Now I’m a girl who loves chocolate. And a girl who loves cake. But oddly, I don’t really like chocolate cake. The idea of throwing chili powder into a baked good, though, was enough to get me to try a Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcake recipe.

I originally stumbled upon a recipe at The Little Kitchen which called for baking the cupcakes in ramekins (of which I have a ton!) but I decided if I was going to make this recipe for my April beer dinner I wanted to go with a more traditional cupcake. A little Google searching later and I found an easy to follow recipe at The Dough Will Rise Again.

First, like all good recipes, you cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar.

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I’m always a little tempted to stop baking at this point in a recipe and just eat the sugar and butter but I don’t think even I can justify that.

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So press on and add the egg and vanilla.

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In a separate bowl you’re going to mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, salt, cayenne, cinnamon and chili powder! This part was weird because as I was adding the spices all I could think about was how I’m pretty sure I used these exact same spices in my chili recipe a few weeks ago.

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Next you have to add the dry mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, alternating with buttermilk. My buttermilk was semi-frozen (I had leftovers from another recipe and decided to freeze portioned out containers) but it worked fine. The mix was pretty stiff before adding the buttermilk.

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Finally, plop that batter in a muffin tin! Here is where I always make a mess and one of the reasons I generally avoid cupcakes.

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Bake!

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Next comes the frosting. The recipe calls for a cream cheese-cinnamon frosting. I was a little uneasy about this combination but it was pretty intriguing. You start by whipping the cream cheese and butter, then add the powdered sugar and cinnamon.

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Now in the recipe I was following they used a fancy piping bag to make cool swirls but I just spread mine on (and halved the frosting recipe, by the way). Despite my lack of frosting refinement, I think I ended with a pretty beautiful final product!

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I took most of my creations over to a friend’s house for dessert and we ate them paired with Bison Brewing Co. Chocolate Stout. It was a most excellent pairing.

I also think I’ll try this recipe again with some experimenting by replacing the buttermilk with beer! I’m not sure what it will do for the moistness of the cupcakes but I’m willing to find out.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (Makes ~18)

Everything you’ll need:

For the cupcakes-

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder

For the frosting (this is half the original recipe; double if you’re fancy frosting-ing)-

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

For the cupcakes-

  1. Cream together the butter (1/2 cup), brown sugar (1 cup), and white sugar (1/2 cup) until well combined.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla (1 tsp).
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder (3/4 cup), flour (1-1/2 cups), baking soda (1/2 tsp), salt (1/4 tsp), cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp), cinnamon (1 tsp), and chili powder (1-1/2 tsp).
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and combine, then add half the buttermilk. Continue alternating adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk, mixing until combined after each addition.
  5. Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 of the way and bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes (may need a little longer).

For the frosting-

  1. Cream together the butter (1/2 cup) and cream cheese (8 ounces).
  2. Add the powdered sugar (~3-1/2 cups) and cinnamon (1/2 tsp). Adjust to taste.
  3. Frost the cupcakes once they are completely cooled.