Spice it up with Spice Cake and Brown Sugar Frosting

Last weekend, I had the urge to bake AND use these adorable fall baking accessories Amazon so kindly delivered to me. Luckily my future nephews were coming with their parents to close up their seasonal house for the winter so it was the perfect opportunity.

Spice Cake decorations
Cute Fall baking accessories!

Later, after delivering said cupcakes, my future sister-in-law texted to say that the boys told her that “Ashley is so good at cooking! I definitely want HER for an auntie!” Which, as said future auntie, was such an amazing thing to hear.

Spice Cake Mixer
Creaming together the sugar, brown sugar, and butter.

I too felt like these cupcakes and the frosting turned out really well. The cake is the perfect light and fluffy consistency with the warm Fall spices from the nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and the brown sugar frosting couldn’t pair any better (or be more simple to make) than it does.


1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with baking liners.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir together and set aside.

Add butter, brown sugar, and sugar to an electric mixer to mix together until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla extract and stir until combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the electric mixer until incorporated. Last, add the sour cream and mix until just folded in.

Scoop batter into the cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, mix together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar on a low until combined, then continue at a higher speed until creamy. Add the milk one teaspoon at a time until you have the desired consistency for piping or slathering.

Yield: 12 frosted cupcakes

Turn that Frown Upside-Down Apple Cake

My fiancé and I were headed to have dinner with some friends of his from college (I won’t say what years that may have been) and their two boys. I was extra excited because my Food and Wine Baking Bucket Bucket List Challenge Apple Upside-Down Cake (month 8, whooo) was going to be the perfect, caramel-apply dessert to bring — and it’s easy to make!

Apple Cake Sugar
Bringing the sugar to 360 degrees or until amber colored

My favorite thing about the whole night (besides the cake) was when our friends’ two-year-old son told the same knock-knock joke to us over literally thirty times. It went something like this:

Ben: knock-knock
Me: Who’s there?
Me: Ghost who?

Over and over again until I was actually crying because I was laughing so hard – it was pizza, apple cake, lobster tail pastries, and adorable Ben’s leftover Halloween joke that ended up making the night great.

Apple Cake with Sugar

Back to the cake though, I have to admit: I was not a fan of the Food and Wine recipe I linked to above. It seemed too complicated and cumbersome for my taste so after looking looking over about a dozen similar recipes, I came up with the below that I hope you’ll enjoy. If you’re familiar with an apple tatin, it’s similar, except instead of puff pastry, it’s made with cake. And it’s best served warm so the touch of spice cake acts like a warm pillow while the apples and caramel melt together in your mouth.

Apple Cake Close Up

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
1 1/2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners’ sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the apples in concentric circles, packing them tightly.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until 360 degrees on a candy thermometer or until it turns a warm amber color swirling the pan but not stirring. Pour evenly over the apple slices.

Meanwhile, combine the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add it to the electric mixer, just until everything is wet.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the dish and then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple slice sticks, just peel it off and replace it on the cake. When completely cooled, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: 6 decently sized slices

Breaking Bread (Pumpkin Bread)

As I’ve been very candid about saying: I have a strong dislike of pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cereal, pumpkin pop-tarts, pumpkin popcorn, pumpkin anything you can imagine really doesn’t ring my bell.

Pumpkin Bread Mixer
After adding the pumpkin, the mixture will look a little grainy but that’s ok!

HOWEVER, the one thing I will admit about pumpkin is that is is a crowd pleaser. Therefore, when my fiancé and I were going to a town meeting and I wanted to make something that was festively Fall, I decided to make pumpkin bread (now if you haven’t noticed, bread IS something I can get behind, but more on that in another post). So I did some googling and found this recipe that I adapted to make the one below.

Pumpkin Bread Slice

This recipe is great because it makes two, so it really can feed a crowd. I will also admit that I did try a small bite of it and I found it to be incredibly moist and all the wonderful Fall spices were shining through.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Prepare two loaf pans by greasing with butter and dusting with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until combined.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until light and fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin until well-mixed and then add the flour until combined.

Evenly divide the batter into the loaf pans and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans.

Yield: 2 loaves